Jahrestagung 2016

First Annual Conference 2016
Infrastructures of Publics — Publics of Infrastructures
Artur-Woll-Haus, Siegen | December 8-10, 2016

About the Conference

The first annual conference of the Collaborative Research Center 1187 “Media of Cooperation” addresses the crossing over of two overarching research perspectives on cooperative media practices: Infrastructures and their publics on the one hand and publics and their infrastructures on the other. The conference scrutinizes publics and infrastructures not separately but in their constitutive interrelations, which allow publics and infrastructures to come into being in the first place.

The conference takes a praxeological approach, discussing historical and current processes of cooperative media practices as infrastructuring and making public(s). It involves a wide range of disciplines including Anthropology, Media Studies, History, Social Sciences, and Informatics. The conference assembles national and international experts who contribute to research and theories on ‘analog’ and ‘digital’ forms of the production and design of different publics and infrastructures. Media Studies understood in this broad way builds on concepts of networked issue publics or societies (Noortje Marres) and experimental publics and cooperative thought (Paul Kockelman). It opens up new perspectives on publics and their media infrastructures.

Download conference flyer and poster as PDF.


Keynote I | Noortje Marres (Warwick)

Infrastructuring Publics or Societies? On Street Trials as Experiments in Interpretation

This lecture will discuss a research project under development on so-called “intelligent cars” in order to reflect on the changing relations between the social and the public in computing-intensive societies. The last years have seen a proliferation of street demonstrations featuring computationally enhanced cars in Europe and elsewhere, and in my current work I investigate the capacity of this publicity format to enact or transform relations between technology, society and the public. Adopting a deliberately broad understanding of what counts as a street test, I discuss a range of different experiments involving computationally enhanced cars: a street test of a modified VW diesel car that exposed the workings of the “defeat device” installed on its engine control board; the demonstration of a driverless pod on a public square in a middle-sized UK town; an artistic experiment in the streets of Amsterdam involving a sun-powered miniature robot car.

My core concern in this lecture is with the relation between the social and the public: while it may be tempting to interpret contemporary projects of infrastructural change like those associated with intelligent cars in terms of the rise of a ‘new’ social paradigm in the digital economy (the connected car, the cooperative car) and as a threat to the public (public space, public ownership, public culture), I argue that these very terms are being re-specified and at stake in these projects.

One important question that ensues is whether the genre of the “street trial” can be deployed to reconfigure relations between innovation, the public and social change and serve the ends of critical and creative intervention. I propose an approach to street trials as “experiments in interpretation” as a way of addressing this complex issue, in social research and, possibly, in public life.

Bio. No­ort­je Mar­res is As­so­cia­te Pro­fes­sor in the Cent­re for In­ter­di­sci­pli­na­ry Me­tho­do­lo­gies at the Uni­ver­si­ty of War­wick, UK. She was trai­ned in Sci­ence and Tech­no­lo­gy Stu­dies at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ams­ter­dam and the Eco­le des Mi­nes, Pa­ris. Her work investigates intersections between technology, knowledge, engagement, and environments, and is especially concerned with understanding moments and processes of issue formation. Much of her empirical research deals with the role of objects and devices in participation, with a focus on environmental issues such as climate change and sustainable living. Her second main interest is digital social research, in particular the development of digital methods and tools of controversy analysis and issue mapping online (www.issuemapping.net). Be­fo­re mo­ving to War­wick, No­ort­je worked at the De­part­ment of So­cio­lo­gy at Golds­miths (Uni­ver­si­ty of Lon­don), whe­re she di­rec­ted the in­ter­di­sci­pli­na­ry re­se­arch Cent­re for the Stu­dy of In­ven­ti­on and So­ci­al Pro­cess (CSISP) and con­ve­ned the Mas­ter’s in Di­gi­tal So­cio­lo­gy. She is cur­rent­ly com­ple­ting a book on this last sub­ject (Po­li­ty, forth­co­m­ing). Her first book Material Participation: Technology, the Environment and Everyday Publics (Pal­gra­ve) came out in pa­per­back in 2015.

Keynote II | Paul Kockelman (Yale)

Witchful Thinking: Experimental Publics, Cooperative Thought, and Mediated Renderings of the Real

What is the relation between wishes and witches, between Grice and Freud, between political repression and scientific rendering? What is the relation between ideational and affective phenomena (such as desire and jealousy) and material processes (such as particle scattering and diffusion barriers)? This talk is about experimental publics, and the cooperative and antagonistic nature of logical inferences in relation to causal processes. It demonstrates the broad similarities underlying conversational implicature and dream interpretation, focusing on the use of communicative intentions and repressed wishes as grounds for motiving inferences. It describes a variety of other hermeneutics that evince a similar logic, albeit with different grounds—witch trials among the Azande, and taboo-reckoning among the Maya. And it details the intimate relation between such hermeneutics and the media-techniques scientists use to produce and interpret laboratory phenomenon, and thereby render the real. It foregrounds the cooperative and antagonistic nature of such processes: the pleasures and pains of laboring in productively constrained, and phenomena-creating, causal-inferential spaces.

Bio. Paul Kockelman is Professor of Anthropology at Yale University. He received his PhD from the University of Chicago, and he has undergraduate degrees in Math and Physics from the University of California, Santa Cruz. His work focuses on the intersection of linguistic anthropology, philosophy (with a particular emphasis on pragmatism), critical theory, cognitive science, and the relation between media, organisms, and environments. He has undertaken extensive ethnographic and linguistic fieldwork among speakers of Q’eqchi’ (Maya) living in the highlands of Guatemala. Some of his favorite research topics include: temporality, poultry husbandry and commons management, sieves and serendipity, labor and measurement, animals and affect, semiosis and statistics, meaning and value, causality and inference, economy and ecology, materiality and objectivity, enemies and noise, agency and subjectivity, and a variety of grammatical categories insofar as they are deployed in real-time interactions and entangled in deep cultural histories (such as tense, aspect, mood, evidentiality, status, grade, quantification, inalienability, and interjections). His current research focuses on the relation between gradients, grading, degradation, and grace.

His forthcoming book is entitled, The Art of Interpretation in the Age of Computation (Oxford University Press). His most recent book is The Chicken and the Quetzal: Portable Values and Incommensurate Ontologies in Guatemala’s Cloud Forest (Duke University Press, 2016). He is also the author of Language, Culture, and Mind: Natural Constructions and Social Kinds (Cambridge University Press, 2010), and Agent, Person, Subject, Self: a Theory of Ontology, Interaction, and Infrastructure (Oxford University Press, 2013). With Nick Enfield and Jack Sidnell, he is the editor of The Cambridge Handbook of Linguistic Anthropology (Cambridge University Press, 2014). And with Nick Enfield, he is the editor of Distributed Agency (Oxford University Press, forthcoming).


Main conference language will be English. Free online registration requested.
Explanation: Sessions | Breaks | Social Program 

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

from 19:30 Informal Get-together
Bar Früh bis spät, Fürst-Johann-Moritz-Straße 3, 57072 Siegen

Thursday, 8 December 2016

from 09:30 Registration
10:00 – 10:30 Opening and Welcome
Prof. Dr. Peter Haring Bolívar, Prorector for Research and Future Academics
10:30 – 11:30 Keynote I | Noortje Marres (Warwick)
Infrastructuring Publics or Societies? On Street Trials as Experiments in Interpretation
11:30 – 12:00 Erhard Schüttpelz (Siegen)
Infrastructural Media and Public Media: Keeping the Binocular in Focus
12:00 – 13:30 Lunch
13:30 – 15:30 Panel 1 | In/Transparency
Session Chair: David Waldecker

Stefanie Averbeck-Lietz (Bremen)
Still a “Public Sphere”? A Systematic-Historical View on Transparency and Responsibility as Communication Values

Dominique Linhardt (EHESS/CNRS Paris)
Following the Key-Track: Some Insights into the Political Sociology of Encryption Technologies

Mundo Yang (Siegen)
Civic Engagement Projects for Social Ecological Transformation and the Question of Publicity

Hagen Schölzel (Erfurt)
Modes of Establishing Publics. The Cases of the GuttenPlag-Wiki Activism and the Communication Controlling Concept

15:30 – 16:30 Coffee Break | Design Exhibition
Design Exhibition Chair: Konstantin Aal
16:30 – 18:30 Panel 2 | Work/Places
Session Chair: Matthias Korn

Ann-Sophie Lehmann (Groningen)
“…their artworks”. Cooperative Making in Contemporary Art Production

M. Six Silberman (IG Metall, Frankfurt)
Infrastructures for Platform-based Workers: Lessons from Turkopticon and IG Metall

Julia Moos & Julia Kurz (Siegen)
Making Cooperation Visible

Katharina Kreuder-Sonnen (Siegen)
How do Large Construction Sites Work? Constructing Infrastructures and Infrastructuring Construction

from 19:30 Conference Dinner *on your own*
Restaurant Münzwerk, Morleystraße 4, 57072 Siegen

Friday, 9 December 2016

from 09:00 Registration
09:30 – 10:00 Martin Zillinger (Köln)
Graduated Publics. Scaling Common Situations through Artful Mediation
10:00 – 11:00 Keynote II | Paul Kockelman (Yale)
Witchful Thinking: Experimental Publics, Cooperative Thought, and Mediated Renderings of the Real
11:00 – 11:15 Break
11:15 – 12:15 Panel Discussion | Christopher Le Dantec (Georgia Tech), David Redmiles (UC Irvine), Joanna Saad-Sulonen (Oulu), M. Six Silberman (IG Metall, Frankfurt)
Infrastructuring Publics
Moderator: Volkmar Pipek
12:15 – 13:30 Lunch
13:30 – 15:30 Panel 3 | Mobilities
Session Chair: David Sittler

Carolin Gerlitz & Fernando van der Vlist (Siegen)
Moving Data – On the Dis/Continuity of Form and Value in App Ecologies

Gabriele Schabacher (Weimar)
Staged Wrecks. The Railroad Crash between Infrastructural Lesson and Amusement

Tobias Röhl (Siegen)
Making Failure Public – Communicating Breakdowns in Public Transport

Christopher Le Dantec (Georgia Tech)
Infrastructures of Digital Civics: Transportation, Advocacy, and Mobile Computing

15:30 – 16:30 Coffee Break
16:30 – 18:30 Panel 4 | Standardizations
Session Chair: Axel Volmar

Christian Henrich-Franke (Siegen)
Standardizing Telecommunication Infrastructures: Culture(s) of Standardization in the Monopoly Era

Elke Wagner (Würzburg)
Disorderly Lists and Disorderly Publics 2.0

Sebastian Gießmann (Siegen)
Net Neutrality. Anatomy of a Controversy

Wolfgang Reißmann (Siegen)
Sorting Things into Infrastructures: Fan Fiction and Practices of Classifying

from 19:30 Reception
Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Unteres Schloß 1, 57072 Siegen
Special Guest: Joseph Imorde (Siegen)

Saturday, 10 December 2016

from 09:00 Registration
09:30 – 11:30 Panel 5 | Academia
Session Chair: Nacim Ghanbari

Tanja Bogusz (Kassel)
Public Concerns in Sustainability Research. An Experimental Approach

Jürgen Richter (Köln)
Paleo-Cabinetology, The Cabinet Maker´s Impact on Infrastructures of Archaeological Reasoning

Rob Procter (Warwick)
What Is Social Data Science and What Are its Methodological and Practical Challenges?

Christian Erbacher (Siegen)
Making Wittgenstein Available: Infrastructures and Publics in the History of Editing Wittgenstein

11:30 – 11:45 Break
11:45 – 13:15 Round-table Discussion [in German] | Volker Wulf (Siegen), Sigrid Baringhorst (Siegen), Wolf-D. Bukow (FoKoS, Siegen)
Was tun? Herausforderungen an Infrastrukturen und Öffentlichkeiten
Moderator: David Sittler
13:15 – 14:30 Closing and Refreshments


Free online registration requested by October 31, 2016 (no registration fee).
Registration for the conference is now closed.


We have reserved a limited number of rooms in the RAMADA Hotel Siegen (Kampenstraße 83, 57072 Siegen) at a discounted rate of 78 EUR per night (breakfast and VAT included). The RAMADA is a centrally located 4-star hotel, only a few minutes‘ walk from the city center and historic old part of town.

Rooms are reserved until November 8, 2016 and can be booked on their website (please supply the booking code “TBC” when booking a room!):

Other accommodation options in Siegen can be found here:


Getting to Siegen
For general information about getting to Siegen, find directions here.

By air. The airports closest to Siegen are Cologne/Bonn (CGN), Düsseldorf (DUS), and Frankfurt (FRA) as a major hub. They all have good train connections to Siegen (ca. 2 hours). Train schedules can be found at www.bahn.com.

Getting around
Public transport in Siegen is organized by bus. Cabs can be booked, e.g., by calling Funk Taxi GmbH at +49 (0)271 33 50 11. Most destinations within the city centre, however, are also easily accessible by foot.

For going out, check the Siegen Guide and ask a local for recommendations.

Main Conference Venue
Artur-Woll-Haus, Am Eichenhang 50, 57076 Siegen

For further information about getting to the conference venue, find directions here.

Social Program
Venues for all social events are conveniently located in the center of Siegen.

RAMADA Hotel Siegen, Kampenstraße 83, 57072 Siegen


Concept and Organization: Matthias Korn, Wolfgang Reißmann, Tobias Röhl, David Sittler

Any questions? You can contact us via email: annualconference2016[æt]sfb1187.uni-siegen.de


Design Exhibition Chair: Konstantin Aal (konstantin.aal[æt]uni-siegen.de)


Organizational Support: Thomas Ludwig
Organizational Assistance: Katharina Camp, Jenny Hoffmann


Graphic Design: Amanda Langer
Website: Philipp Schubert