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Jessica Pikal, SMART EXPORT: JESSIE 2020, 2020. Photo: By courtesy of Jessica Pikal.


Media Theory is a theoretically oriented department within the Institute of Fine and Media Arts whose courses are open to all students. Its courses are offered by the two departments of Film and Media Theory and Media Theory and History. On the one hand, it includes the theoretical examination of older, partly analog media such as photography, film and video as well as the multiple variants of the moving image (ie., moving image-based art), and on the other hand, the study of the history of digital, often data-based systems, with an interest in how they have produced social transformations. Critical reflection on the ‘digital’ thus requires a depth of focus that is not exhausted by a critique of digitization, but seeks to uncover its historical intersections with the analog – for example, how the typewriter can be thought of as a digital medium.

Film and Media Theory deals with the cinematic and other contemporary fields of study, such as sound studies and experimental animation techniques. The focus of Media Theory and History is on the historical and philosophical foundations of digital thought. Thus, both departments critically examine contemporary questions of artificial intelligence, machine aesthetics or other areas of hybrid application. The courses offered include subject-specific lectures as well as practical, method-oriented seminars. Last but not least, the department is a place for students who want to pursue an academic career, as PhD projects and research proposals are supported and supervised here. It is a place for reflection and knowledge production by artists and scientists.

In addition to the international networking and the organization of lectures, exhibitions and symposia emanating from the department, its new location in the Alte Postsparkasse promotes the possibility for cooperation with other applied arts facilities located in the building: the Coding Lab, the Performance Lab or the Angewandte Interdisciplinary Lab (AIL).