Uppsala Informatics and Media Hub for Digital Existence

~ A humanities nucleus for the study of digital media, automation and existential possibilities and challenges of our time ~

The Uppsala Informatics and Media Hub for Digital Existence at Uppsala University offers a humanities approach to digitalisation and automation. The Hub entails a unique research initiative based in existential media studies, and explores what it means to be human in an age of anticipatory systems and AI, through a holistic approach that tackles both the values, the vulnerabilities and the ethical imperatives of the massive transformations at hand. The Hub enables scholars to connect and new research to take shape, also in close collaboration with stakeholders and society.

The Augsburg Art Cabinet. Photo.

Ongoing projects

Ongoing projects related to the Uppsala Informatics and Media Hub for Digital Existence.

People

Amanda Lagerkvist, PI at the Hub for Digital Existence.

Professor of Media and Communication Studies in the Department of Informatics and Media at Uppsala University and PI of the Hub. As Wallenberg Academy Fellow (2014-2018) she founded the field of existential media studies. Her current work explores the existential dimensions of media technologies through lived experiences of biometrics; intersections of datafication, disability and selfhood; and the ambivalent AI imaginary and its relationship to both futures and endings. In her monograph, Existential Media: A Media Theory of the Limit Situation (OUP, 2022) she introduces Karl Jaspers’ existential philosophy of limit situations for media theory.

Contact: amanda.lagerkvist@im.uu.se


Matilda Tudor, DIGMEX network, Human Observatory and the Hub's internal-communication coordinator.

PhD and researcher in the Department of Informatics and Media, is a media phenomenologist and feminist media researcher. Her work largely focuses on critical and minority perspectives on what it means to live with and through digital media and communication technologies in relation to the micro politics of everyday existence. It includes a particular interest in theories of embodiment and time-space relationships within the post-digital age. She currently explores experiences of medical age assessments in Swedish migration processes, and everyday automation within intimate human lifeworlds and perceptions of the future. She is the coordinator of the Uppsala Informatics and Media Hub for Digital Existence and the main coordinator of the DIGMEX network and its associated activities.

Contact: matilda.tudor@im.uu.se


Jacek Smolicki, BioMe and the Hub's communication and web presence coordinator.

PhD and researcher at the BioMe Project at the Department of Informatics and Media. Committed to practice-based, artistic and design research methodologies, Smolicki explores temporal, existential and technological dimensions of listening, recording and archiving practices in human and more-than-human realms. His work is manifested through soundwalks, soundscape compositions, diverse forms of writing, and a/v installations. His research within the BioMe project concerns human and other-than-human voices in the context of obsolete and emerging technologies of capture. In 2020, as a Swedish Research Council postdoc grantee, he was affiliated with Simon Fraser University and in 2022/2023, he was a Fulbright visiting scholar at Harvard. He is a co-founder of the Walking Festival of Sound. His edited book Soundwalking. Through Time, Space and Technologies was published by Routledge in 2023. www.smolicki.com

Contact: jacek.smolicki@im.uu.se

Martin Lindstam, the Hub and Human Observatory social media coordinator.

PhD candidate in Media and Communications at the Department of Informatics and Media. He has many years of experience as a journalist including positions at Sveriges Radio, Omni, and Svenska Dagbladet. Martin's studies are part of the research project "AI Design Futures," led by Mark Coeckelbergh for WASP-HS, with a focus on AI, work, and mental health.

Contact: martin.lindstam@im.uu.se
 

Existential Media: A Media Theory of the Limit Situation

Existential Media: A Media Theory of the Limit Situation. Book cover.

In her new book Amanda Lagerkvist:

  • Offers an introduction to existential media studies and its key concerns
  • Revisits what it means to be human in all our diversity and in our common humanity in the digital age
  • Reframes death online research by offering a theoretical framework of existential media studies
  • Remaps media/digital culture/AI in light of existential philosophy's key themes and concepts
  • Reconceives media as an existential terrain that needs to be navigated and of media users as coexisting beings

Reviews

“Amanda Lagerkvist, an established scholar of media, memory and global urban landscapes, in this book breaks radical new ground, both for herself and for the whole field of media and communications research. Reflecting deeply not just on the inheritance of existentialist philosophy, but on the contemporary crises of climate change, datafication and the global pandemic, Lagerkvist's writing is fresh, precise and impassioned: this book urgently needs to be read.” Nick Couldry, London School of Economics and Political Science

“We live through media and always have. Yet rarely do scholars take the courageous and risky approach of Lagerkvist in explaining what media do to how we understand our own existence. If Sartre were to write about existentialism today, this is how he would write – or rather, he might wish HE had written this. A deep and original account of how we through media, come closer to and push away from the limits of human existence.” Zizi Papacharissi, University of Illinois-Chicago

Read more about the book “Existential Media: A Media Theory of the Limit Situation” on Oxford University Press.

Exhibition: Hyper Human

Since 2019, Tekniska Museet in Stockholm is an associated partner of Uppsala Informatics and Media Hub for Digital Existence. As a member of our outreach platform, the museum is represented in the continued conversations about digital media and existential issues and challenges facilitated by the hub with stakeholders in Sweden. This includes for example workshops, seminars and exhibition tours.

Through active participation in the exhibition Hyper Human, and joint work with reference groups, the museum will be one of the sites where the research project BioMe will be generating its collaborative research. 

For the Hyper Human exhibition, the research team has contributed with an interactive installation and ethical dilemmas relating to biometric face recognition technology in cooperation with Visage Technologies. What can your face reveal about you? Will you be recognised? What kind of power dynamics could possible be luring behind the neutral looking façade of the screen? As part of the Hyper Human Exhibition, the installation aims to provoke ethical discussion and concern about our increasing reliance on and exposure to biometric AI in everyday living.

Hyper Human is shown from 21 March 2020 and until further notice.

The exhibition Hyper Human at Tekniska Museet’s website 

Digital tour of the exhibition Hyper Human at Tekniska Museet, video at YouTube

Funding

Logotyper: Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg foundation, Wasp-HS, Uppsala University, Sigtuna Foundation. Illustrations.

Last modified: 2024-02-28