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  • Lawrence Abu Hamdan
  • Babak Afrassiabi
    • Babak Afrassiabi is an artist who works both in Iran and the Netherlands. Since 2004, he has collaborated with Nasrin Tabatabai on various joint projects and the publication of the bilingual magazine Pages (Farsi and English). Their work seeks to articulate the undecidable space between art and its historical conditions, including the recurring question of the place of the archive in defining the juncture between politics, history, and the practice of art. The artists’ work has been presented internationally in various solo and group exhibitions and they have been tutors at the Jan Van Eyck Academie, Maastricht (2008–13), and Erg, école supérieure des arts, Brussels (2015–).
    • published contributions
  • Malin Ah-King
  • Memo Akten
    • . He is currently a PhD candidate at Goldsmiths, University of London, where he is researching artificial intelligence, machine learning, and expressive human-ma
    • published contributions
  • Jamie Allen
  • S. Ayesha Hameed
    • Dr. S. Ayesha Hameed is a Lecturer in Visual Cultures and the Joint Programme Leader in Fine Art and History of Art Research Fellow in Forensic Architecture at Goldsmiths, London. She received her PhD in Social and Political Thought at York University, Canada in 2008
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  • Sammy Baloji
  • Subhankar Banerjee
  • On Barak
    • On Barak is a social and cultural historian of science and technology in non-Western settings. He has been a senior lecturer in the Department of Middle Eastern and African History at Tel Aviv University since 2012. Prior to this, he was a member of the Princeton Society of Fellows. In 2009, Barak received a joint PhD in History and Middle Eastern Studies from New York University. His most recent book is On Time: Technology and Temporality in Modern Egypt (University of California Press, 2013), and his current publication project, Coalonialism: Energy and Empire before the Age of Oil, is funded by a European Union Marie Curie Award and an Israel Science Foundation Grant.
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  • Anil Bawa-Cavia
    • Anil Bawa-Cavia is a computer scientist with a background in machine learning. He runs STDIO, a speculative software studio. His practice engages with algorithms, protocols, encodings, and other software artifacts and his doctoral research at the Center for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA) at University College London was on complex networks in urbanism. He is a founding member of Call & Response, a sonic arts collective and gallery space in London, and a member of the New Centre for Research & Practice.
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  • Etienne Benson
  • Josh Berson
  • Jeremy Bolen
  • Paul Boshears
  • Benjamin Bratton
    • for Media, Architecture and Design, Moscow. Bratton is also Professor of Digital Design at the Eur
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  • Axel Braun
    • Axel Braun studied photography at the Folkwang University of the Arts, Essen, and fine arts at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris. His artistic research deals with controversial infrastructure projects, tautology as an attempt to understand reality, and failed utopias in art and architecture. Currently, he is pursuing the long-term project Towards an Understanding of Anthropocene Landscapes. Recently exhibited works include Some Kind of Opposition (2016) at Galeria Centralis, Budapest, and Dragonflies drift downstream on a river (2015) at Kunstmuseum Bochum.
    • published contributions
  • Keith Breckenridge
  • François Bucher
    • s, focusing on ethical and aesthetic problems of cinema and television, and more recently on the image as an interdimensional field. His work has been exhibited at
    • published contributions
  • Lino Camprubí
  • Zachary Caple
  • Ele Carpenter
    • Dr. Ele Carpenter is a senior lecturer in curating at Goldsmiths, London. Her curatorial practice responds to interdisciplinary socio-political contexts such as the nuclear economy and the relationship between craft and code.
    • published contributions
  • Andrew Chubb
    • Andrew Chubb is a PhD candidate at the University of Western Australia conducting research on the relationship between Chinese public opinion and government policy in the South China Sea. His articles have appeared in the Journal of Contemporary China, Pacific Affairs, East Asia Forum, and Information, Communication & Society. His blog, South Sea Conversations (southseaconversations.wordpress.com), provides translations and analysis of Chinese discourse on the South and East China Sea issues.
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  • Louis Chude-Sokei
    • Louis Chude-Sokei is a writer and scholar currently teaching in the English Department at the University of Washington, Seattle. His academic interests range from West African, Caribbean, and American literary and cultural studies to a particular focus on sound, technology, and performance. His literary and public work focuses on immigration and black-on-black cultural contacts, conflicts, and exchanges. Chude-Sokei is the author of the award-winning book The Last “Darky”: Bert Williams, Black-on-Black Minstrelsy, and the African Diaspora (2006) and The Sound of Culture: Diaspora and Black Technopoetics (2016).
    • published contributions
  • Amy Cimini
  • Claire Colebrook
    • Claire Colebrook is a professor of English at Penn State University. Her areas of specialization are contemporary literature, visual culture, and theory and cultural studies. She has written articles on poetry, literary theory, queer theory, and contemporary culture. Colebrook is the co-editor of the series Critical Climate Change, published by Open Humanities Press, and a member of the advisory board of the Institute for Critical Climate Change. She recently completed two books on extinction for Open Humanities Press, Death of the PostHuman and Sex after Life (both 2014), and with Tom Cohen and J. Hillis Miller co-authored Twilight of the Anthropocene Idols (2016).
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  • Flavio D'Abramo
  • Ana Dana Beroš
    • chitect and curator focused on creating uncertain, fragile environments that catalyze social chan
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  • Pietro Daniel Omodeo
  • Rana Dasgupta
  • Filip De Boeck
    • Filip De Boeck is actively involved in teaching, promoting, coordinating and supervising research in and on Africa at the Institute for Anthropological research in Africa at the U
    • published contributions
  • Seth Denizen
    • Seth Denizen is a researcher and design practitioner trained in landscape architecture and evolutionary biology. Since completing research on the sexual behavior and evolutionary ecology of small Trinidadian fish, his work has focused on the aesthetics of scientific representation, madness, and public parks, the design of t
    • published contributions
  • Rohini Devasher
  • Jonathan Donges
    • Jonathan Donges is a postdoctoral researcher who holds a joint position at the Stockholm Resilience Centre (as Stordalen Scholar) and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. He studies planetary boundaries and social dynamics in the Earth system from a complex dynamical system perspective. At Potsdam, he is Co-head of the flagship COPAN (Coevolutionary Pathways) project (www.pik-potsdam.de/copan). His published research includes work on complex network theory, dynamical systems theory, and time series analysis, with a focus on their application to our understanding of past and present climate variability and its interactions with humankind on planet Earth.
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  • Design Earth
    • ollaborative architectural practice led by El Hadi Jazairy
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  • Keller Easterling
  • Anna Echterhölter
  • David Edgerton
    • David Edgerton is Hans Rausing Professor of the History of Science and Technology and a professor of modern British history at King’s College London. After teaching at the University of Manchester, he became the founding director of the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine at Imperial College London (1993–2003), and moved along with the centre to King’s College London in August 2013. He is the author of many works, including The Shock of the Old: Technology and Global History since 1900 (2007), which argues for and exemplifies new ways of thinking about the material constitution of modernity.
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  • Technosphere Editorial
  • Sasha Engelmann
  • Lois Epstein
    • stein is Arctic Program Director at the Wilderness Society an American land conservation non-profit. A licensed engineer, she has served on a number of federal advisory committees, including a National Academy of Sciences committee studying oil and gas regulations, and, for twelve years, a committee focusing on oil pipeline safety. Epstein holds a Master of Civil Engineering with a specialization in environme
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  • Eberhard Faust
  • Jennifer Gabrys
    • Jennifer Gabrys is Reader in the Department of Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London, and Principal Investigator on the ERC-funded project, "Citizen Sense." Her publications include Digital Rubbish: A Natural History of Electronics (University of Michigan Press, 2011); and Program Earth: Environmental Sensing Technology and the Making of a Computational Planet (University of Minnesota Press, forthcoming).
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  • Elaine Gan
  • Oliver Gantner
  • Beate Geissler and Oliver Sann
  • Florian Goldmann
    • Florian Goldmann is a Berlin-based artist and a PhD candidate at the DFG Research Training Center Visibility and Visualisation – Hybrid Forms of Pictorial Knowledge as well as at the Brandenburg Center for Media Studies, both Potsdam University. His research focus is the utilization of models as a means of both commemorating and predicting catastrophe. In 2015, he took part in the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) in Sendai, Japan. Goldmann is one of the founders of the research collective STRATAGRIDS and the author of Flexible Signposts to Coded Territories (2012), an analysis of football hooligan graffiti in Athens as a system of fluid signage.
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  • Mark Graham
  • Jacques Grinevald
  • Johan Gärdebo
    • Johan Gärdebo is a PhD candidate at the Royal Institute of Technology affiliated to the Environmental Humanities Laboratory (EHL). H
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  • Orit Halpern
    • Orit Halpern is a Strategic Hire in Interactive Design and an associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Concordia University, Montreal. Her work bridges the histories of science, computing, and cybernetics with design and art practice. She is also a co-director of the Speculative Life Research Cluster, Montreal, a laboratory situated at the intersection of art and life sciences, architecture and design, and computational media (www.speculativelife.com). Her recent monograph, Beautiful Data (2015), is a history of interactivity, data visualization, and ubiquitous computing. www.orithalpern.net
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  • Eva Hayward
  • Gabrielle Hecht
  • Gerda Heck
  • Florian Hecker
    • dio 3 as the broadcaster’s first ever live binaural broadcast. Recent major exhibitions
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  • Carola Hein
    • Carola Hein is a professor of the history of architecture and urban planning in the Architecture Department at Delft University of Technology. She has published widely on topics in contemporary and historical architectural and urban planning, notably that of Europe and Japan. Her current research interests include transmission of architectural and urban ideas along international networks, focusing specifically on port cities, and the global architecture of oil. Her books include Port Cities: Dynamic Landscapes and Global Networks (2011), Cities, Autonomy, and Decentralization in Japan (2006), and The Capital of Europe: Architecture and Urban Planning for the European Union (2004).
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  • Julian Henriques
    • Julian Henriques is the convener of the MA in Script Writing and Director of the Topology Research Unit in the Department of Media and Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London. Prior to this, he ran the film and television department at the Caribbean Institute of Media and Communication (CARIMAC) at the University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica. His credits as a writer and director include the reggae musical feature film Babymother (1998) and as a sound artist, Knots & Donuts, exhibited at Tate Modern in 2011. Henriques researches street cultures and technologies and his publications include Changing the Subject: Psychology, Social Regulation, and Subjectivity (1998), Sonic Bodies: Reggae Sound Systems, Performance Techniques, and Ways of Knowing (2011), and Sonic Media (forthcoming).
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  • Hanna Husberg
    • Hanna Husberg is a Stockholm-based artist. She graduated from ENSB-A in Paris in 2007 and is currently a PhD in Practice candidate at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna.
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  • Sabine Höhler
  • Erich Hörl
  • Timothy Johnson
  • Peter K. Haff
  • Bernd Kasparek
  • Nikos Katsikis
  • Laleh Khalili
  • Axel Kleidon
  • Alexander Klose
    • Dr. Alexander Klose studied History, Law, Philosophy, Art, and Cultural Studies. From 2005-07 he held a scholarship at Bauhaus Universität Weimar for his PhD project on standardized containers used in transport as one of the leading material media in the 20th century. Between 2009 and 2014 he worked as a research associate and programme developer at Kulturstiftung des Bundes. In 2015 in the forefront of COP 21, he co-curated Blackmarket for Useful Knowledge and Non-Knowledge No. 18 – On Becoming Earthlings: 150 dialogues and exercises in shrinking and expanding the Human at Musée de l'Homme, Paris. His latest publication is: The Container Principle. How a box changes the way we think (2015).
    • published contributions
  • Karin Knorr Cetina
  • Scott Knowles
  • Nile Koetting
  • Nicole Koltick
    • Nicole Koltick is an assistant professor in the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design at Drexel University, Philadelphia. She is Founding Director of the Design Futures Lab at Westphal College, which is currently pursuing design research to stimulate debate on the potential implications of emerging technological and scientific developments within society. Koltick’s practice spans art, science, technology, design, and philosophy, and current work focuses on the philosophical, material, and relational implications of aesthetics as they intersect with emerging developments in computational creativity, artificially intelligent autonomous systems, robotics, and synthetic biological hybrids.
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  • Nik Kosmas
  • Matthijs Kouw
    • Matthijs Kouw joined the Rathenau Instituut, The Hague, in March 2016. He holds an MA in Philosophy and an MSc in Science and Technology Studies from the University of Amsterdam as well as a PhD from Maastricht University. In his PhD thesis, Kouw describes how and to what extent reliance on models can introduce vulnerabilities through the assumptions, uncertainties, and blind spots concomitant with modeling practice. He was employed as a postdoctoral researcher at the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL), during which time he acted as a member of the Dutch delegation for plenary sessions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
    • published contributions
  • Matija Kralj
  • Kei Kreutler
  • Lars Kulik
    • Lars Kulik studied biology at the Humboldt University of Berlin. He received his doctorate on the development of social behavior of rhesus monkeys at the University of Leipzig and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. He lives with his family in Berlin.
    • published contributions
  • Richard L. Hindle
    • Richard L. Hindle is an assistant professor of landscape architecture and environmental planning at the University of California, Berkeley. His current research focuses on patent innovation in landscape related technologies, from large-scale mappings of riverine and coastal systems to detailed historical studies on the antecedents of vegetated architecture. His work explores the potential of new technological narratives and material processes to reframe theory, practice, and the production of landscape. Recent works include the articles “Levees That Might Have Been” (2015), and “Infrastructures of Innovation” in Scaling Infrastructure (MIT Center for Advanced Urbanism, 2016), and the exhibition Geographies of Innovation at UC Berkeley (2015).
    • published contributions
  • Hannah Landecker
  • Brian Larkin
  • Bruno Latour
  • Manfred Laubichler
  • John Law
    • hn Law was a professor of sociology at Keele University, Lancaster, and the Open University, Milton Keynes, and a co-director of the Economic and Social Researc
    • published contributions
  • Yoneda Lemma
    • ents from one fiction to another. She has exhibited her work at V4ULT, Berlin; Le Cube, Par
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  • Esther Leslie
    • t theories of aesthetics and culture, with a particular focus on the work of Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno. It deals with the poetics of science, European literary and visual modern
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  • George Lewis
    • my of Arts and Letters, New York. He has been a member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), Chicago, since 1971. Lewis’s work as composer, electronic performer, installa
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  • S. Løchlann Jain
  • Donald MacKenzie
  • Stefan Maier
  • Chowra Makaremi
  • Annapurna Mamidipudi
  • Laura McLean
    • Laura McLean is a curator, artist, and writer based in London. She is a graduate of Goldsmiths College and Sydney College of the Arts, where she later lectured. She has also studied at Alberta College of Art and Design, and the Universität der Künste Berlin.
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  • Eden Medina
    • Eden Medina is an associate professor of informatics and computing, affiliated associate professor of law, and adjunct associate professor of history at Indiana University, Bloomington. Her research and teaching address the social, historical, and legal dimensions of our increasingly data-driven world, including the relationship of technology to human rights and free expression, the relationship between political innovation and technological innovation, and the ways that human and political values shape technological design. Medina’s writings also use science and technology as a way to broaden understandings of Latin American history and the geography of innovation. She is the author of Cybernetic Revolutionaries: Technology and Politics in Allende's Chile (2011) and the co-editor of Beyond Imported Magic: Essays on Science, Technology, and Society in Latin America (2014).
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  • Anne-Sophie Milon
    • Anne-Sophie Milon is an artist and a freelance illustrator and animator working and living in Bristol, UK. After completing two Masters in Art, she has recently concluded the program of experimentation in Art and Politics at SciencesPo (SPEAP) in Paris.
    • published contributions
  • Paul N. Edwards
  • Gerald Nestler
    • Gerald Nestler is an artist and writer who combines theory and post-disciplinary conversation with video, installation, performance, text, code, graphics, sound, and speech. He explores what he calls the derivative condition of contemporary social relations and its paradigmatic financial models, operations, processes, narratives, and fictions. He is currently working on an “aesthetics of resolution” that maps counterfictions and counterimaginations for “renegade activism,” which revolves around the demonstration as a combined artistic, technological, social, and political practice. Nestler holds a practice-based PhD from the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London.
    • published contributions
  • Huiying Ng
  • Daniel Niles
    • terial, millenary and momentary—that their knowledge takes, and, finally, the significance of this experience to our understanding of t
    • published contributions
  • James P. M. Syvitski
    • James P. M. Syvitski is Executive Director of the Community Surface Dynamics Modeling System (CSDMS) at the University of Colorado Boulder. From 2011 to 2016, he chaired the International Council for Science’s International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), which provides essential scientific leadership and knowledge of the Earth system to help guide society toward a sustainable pathway during rapid global change. His specialty is the global flux of water and sediment (river and ocean borne) and its trends in the Anthropocene. He works at the forefront of computational geosciences, including sediment transport, land-ocean interactions, and Earth-surface dynamics.
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  • Luciana Parisi
    • Luciana Parisi is Reader in Cultural Theory, Chair of the PhD program in Cultural Studies, and Co-director of the Digital Culture Unit at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her research focuses on cybernetics, information theory and computation, complexity and evolutionary theories, and the technocapitalist investment in artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and nanotechnology. Her books include Abstract Sex: Philosophy, Biotechnology and the Mutations of Desire (2004) and Contagious Architecture: Computation, Aesthetics, and Space (2013). She is currently researching the history of automation and the philosophical consequences of logical thinking in machines.
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  • Lisa Parks
  • Matteo Pasquinelli
  • Karen Pinkus
    • w York. She is also a faculty fellow of the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, Ithaca. Author of numerous publications in literary studies, Italian studies, critical theory, and environmental humanities, Pinkus is also Editor of the journal Diacritics. In her latest book, Fuel (2016), Pinkus thinks about issues crucial to climate ch
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  • Giulia Rispoli
  • Sophia Roosth
    • t when researchers are building new biological systems in order to investigate how biology works. She holds a PhD from the Massachuse
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  • Arno Rosemarin
  • Rafico Ruiz
    • afico Ruiz is Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Banting Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Sociology at the University of Alberta, Edmonton. He studies the relationships between mediation and social space, particularly in the Arctic and subarctic; the cultural geographies of natural resource engagements; and
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  • Kim Rygiel
    • f International Affairs in Waterloo, Canada. Her research focuses on border security, migration, and citizenship in North America and Europe. She investigates how citizens and non-citizens engage in citizenship practices and challenge notions
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  • Dorion Sagan
  • Isabelle Saint-Saëns
  • Birgit Schneider
  • Sever
    • SEVER was developed as a speculative design project by Francesco Sebregondi, Alexey Platonov, Inna Pokazanyeva, and Ildar Iakubov during the New Normal postgraduate program at Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design, Moscow. SEVER seeks to intervene into current Arctic debates by disturbing the landscape of the region’s possible futures
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  • Jens Soentgen
  • C Spencer Yeh
  • Nick Srnicek
  • Lizzie Stark
    • Lizzie Stark is an author, journalist, and experience designer. She is the author of two books, Pandora’s DNA (2014), exploring so-called ‘breast cancer genes’ and her first book, Leaving Mundania (2012), which investigates the subculture of live action role play, or larp. Her journalism and essays have appeared in The Washington Post, the Daily Beast, The Today Show Website, io9, Fusion, the Philadelphia Inquirer and elsewhere. She holds an MS from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She has organized numerous conventions and experiences across the US. Her most recent work is as a programming coordinator for Living Games Austin, and as co-editor and contributor for the #Feminism anthology, which collects 34 nano-games written by feminists from eleven countries.
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  • Carolyn Steel
  • Benjamin Steininger
  • Lucy Suchman
    • ology of Science and Technology in the Department of Sociology at the University of Lancaster, UK. Her research interests within the field of feminist science and technology studies are focused on technological imaginaries and material practices
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  • Kaushik Sunder Rajan
    • echnology studies, and postcolonial studies, holding a special interest in the global political economy of biomedicine, with a comparative focus on the Un
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  • Jenna Sutela
    • Jenna Sutela’s installations, texts, and sound performances seek to identify and react to precarious social and material moments, often in relation to technology. Most recently, she has been exploring exceedingly complex biological and computational systems, ultimately unknowable and always becoming something new. Her work has been presented, among other places, at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; and the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo and her writing has been published by Fiktion, Harvard Design Magazine, and Sternberg Press.
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  • Bronislaw Szerszynski
    • Bronislaw Szerszynski is a Reader in Sociology at Lancaster University in the UK. Szerszynski’s work has developed across several themes, including the role of Western religious history in shaping contemporary understandings of technology and the environment—typified by his book Nature, Technology and the Sacred (Wiley-Blackwell, 2005).
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  • Elisa T. Bertuzzo
    • Elisa T. Bertuzzo studied comparative literature, sociology, communication, and media studies and holds a PhD in urban studies. She was a curator and project leader with Habitat Forum Berlin, including for the project Paradigmising Karail Basti (2010–16). Bridging discourses from the fields of cultural and urban studies, her research focuses on the everyday life facets of urbanization and settlement in South Asia. On that topic, she published Fragmented Dhaka: Analysing Everyday Life with Henri Lefebvre’s Theory of Production of Space (2009) and runs her multimedia project Archives of Movement (since 2012), which deals with the everyday life of temporary labor migrants in Bangladesh and India.
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  • Gregory T. Cushman
    • Gregory T. Cushman is Associate Professor of International Environmental History at the University of Kansas.
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  • Nasrin Tabatabai
    • Nasrin Tabatabai is an artist who works both in Iran and the Netherlands. Since 2004, she has collaborated with Babak Afrassiabi on various joint projects and the publication of the bilingual magazine Pages (Farsi and English). Their work seeks to articulate the undecidable space between art and its historical conditions, including the recurring question of the place of the archive in defining the juncture between politics, history, and the practice of art. The artists’ work has been presented internationally in various solo and group exhibitions and they have been tutors at the Jan Van Eyck Academie, Maastricht (2008–13), and Erg, école supérieure des arts, Brussels (2015–).
    • published contributions
  • Ksenia Tatarchenko
    • dies Institute, Geneva University, specializing in the history of Russian science and technology. She has held positions as a visiting Assistant Professor of History at NYU Shanghai and a post-doctoral fellow at the Harriman Institute, Columbia. Most broadly, she studies questions of knowledge circulation to situate Soviet developments in the global context. She is currently writing a book on science and innovation cultures in Siberia provisionally
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  • Katerina Teaiwa
    • Dr. Katerina Teaiwa is Associate Professor at the Department of Gender, Media and Cultural Studies, School of Culture, History & Language and the president of the Australian Association for Pacific Studies. Her main area of research looks at the histories of phosphate mining in the central Pacific. Her work does not only span academic research, publications, and lectures, but also manifests itself in other formats within the arts and popular culture. Her work has inspired a permanent exhibition at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, which tells the story of Pacific phosphate mining through Banaban dance. In 2015, she published „Consuming Ocean Island: Stories of People and Phosphate from Banaba“, Indiana University Press. She is currently working with visual artist Yuki Kihara on a multimedia exhibition for Carriageworks in Sydney.
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  • Terre Thaemlitz
  • Jol Thomson
  • Claire Tolan
  • John Tresch
  • Etienne Turpin
    • Etienne Turpin is a philosopher, Founding Director of anexact office, and a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, where he coordinates the Humanitarian Infrastructures Group and co-directs the PetaBencana.id disaster mapping project for the Urban Risk Lab. He is the editor of Architecture in the Anthropocene: Encounters Among Design, Deep Tim
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  • Asonseh Ukah
    • Asonzeh Ukah is a sociologist and historian of religion. He joined the University of Cape Town in 2013 and previously taught at the University of Bayreuth (2005–13), where he also earned a doctorate and habilitation in history of religions. His research interests include religious urbanism, the sociology of Pentecostalism, and religion and media. He is Director of the Research Institute on Christianity and Society in Africa (RICSA), University of Cape Town, and Affiliated Senior Fellow of Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies (BIGSAS), University of Bayreuth. He is the author of A New Paradigm of Pentecostal Power (2008) and Bourdieu in Africa (edited with Magnus Echtler, 2016).
    • published contributions
  • Underworlds
  • Sebastian Vehlken
    • Sebastian Vehlken is a media theorist and cultural historian at Leuphana University Lüneburg and Permanent Senior Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study on Media Cultures of Computer Simulation (MECS). From 2013 to 2017, he worked as MECS Junior Director, and in 2015–16, he was a visiting professor at Humboldt-Universität Berlin, the University of Vienna, and Leuphana. His areas of interest include the theory and history of computer simulation and digital media, the media history of swarm intelligence, and the epistemology of think tanks. His current research project, Plutonium Worlds, explores the application of computer simulations in West German fast breeder reactor programs.
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  • Vladimir Vernadsky
  • Ben Vida
    • Korea, Australia ,and Europe at such institutions as the Guggenheim, New York; Centro Pecci, Prato, Italy; STUK Arts Center, Leuven
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  • Davor Vidas
    • Davor Vidas is a research professor in international law and Director of the Law of the Sea Programme at the Fridtjof Nansen Institute, Lysaker, Norway. He is Chair of the Committee on International Law and Sea Level Rise and a member of the Anthropocene Working Group. Vidas has been involved in international law research for over thirty years, focusing since 2009 on implications of the Anthropocene for the development of international law. Among his books are The World Ocean in Globalisation (2011) and Law, Technology and Science for Oceans in Globalisation (2010). He is the editor-in-chief of the book series Anthropocene (Skolska knjiga, Zagreb), launched in 2017.
    • published contributions
  • Kalindi Vora
  • Jennifer Walshe
    • porary Arts, New York; DAAD Berliner Künstle
    • published contributions
  • Hannes Wiedemann
    • Hannes Wiedemann is a Berlin-based photographer. He studied at the Ostkreuz School of Photography, Berlin. For his project Grinders (2015–16), he followed the American bodyhacking community, a small group of people across the United States working out of garages and basements to become real cyborgs. Recent exhibitions include NEW PHOTOGRAPHY II (2017) at Gallery ALAN, Istanbul, and HUMAN UPGRADE, with Susanna Hertrich (2016), at Schader-Stiftung Gallery, Hessisches Landesmuseum, Darmstadt. www.hanneswiedemann.com
    • published contributions
  • Elvia Wilk
  • Cary Wolfe
    • Cary Wolfe is Bruce and Elizabeth Dunlevie Professor of English and Founding Director of 3CT: Center for Critical and Cultural Theory at Rice University, Houston. He is the author of What Is Posthumanism? (2010), a book that weaves together principal concerns of his work: animal studies, system theory, pragmatism, and post-structuralism. It is part of the series Posthumanities, for which he serves as Founding Editor at the University of Minnesota Press. His most recent publication is Before the Law: Humans and Other Animals in Biopolitical Frame (2013) and earlier books and edited collections include Animal Rites: American Culture, The Discourse of Species, and Posthumanist Theory (2003) and Zoontologies: The Question of the Animal (2003).
    • published contributions
  • Andrew Yang
  • Jan Zalasiewicz
    • Dr. Jan Zalasiewicz is Professor of Palaeobiology at the University of Leicester and Chair of the Anthropocene Working Group of the International Commission on Stratigraphy. A field geologist, paleontologist, and stratigrapher, he teaches and publishes on geology and earth history, in particular on fossil ecosystems and environments that span over half a billion years of geological time.
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  • Anna Zett
  • Sander van der Leeuw
    • ionships, and complex systems theory. He investigates the preconditions for and the practices and role of invention, sustainability, and innovation in societies. He has done
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  • Liv Østmo
    • Liv Østmo is one of the founders and current Dean of the Sámi University of Applied Sciences, Kautokeino, Norway, where she researches and lectures on the subject of multicultural understanding. For the last eight years, Østmo has worked with traditional Sámi knowledge and she is currently working on putting the finishing touches on a methodology book about the documentation of this knowledge.
    • published contributions
Anna Zett 2015

Sleeping in Public, Working Like Babies

Sleep is a state where we disengage from the world around us both physically and sensuously. Artist Anna Zett discusses how this disconnection plays a role in our relations to capital, the pharmaceutical industry and our cognitive plasticity, exploring the disorders that alterations of sleep propagate.
Seven years ago, then living in a strange non-neighborhood between Mitte and Kreuzberg, very close to where the Berlin Wall used to separate East and West, I put up a huge photo calendar on our kitchen wall, titled SCHLAF 1992 (Schlaf meaning sleep). The purpose of the calendar, produced by the pharmaceutical company my mother had once worked for, had been to advertise a so-called “hypnotic,” aka ‒ a sleeping pill. Each page of the calendar showed the brand name of the drug and a photo of a woman sleeping in weirdly uncomfortable positions away from home – in office spaces, in front of tourist attractions, in different cities all over the world. Visitors who saw it hanging in my kitchen did tend to comment on it and many agreed that it was fucked-up in an interesting way. It wasn’t cynicism that made me want to decorate our home with a pharmaceutical ad; in retrospect I would say that I kept it and put it up on the kitchen wall so that I could write about sleep, capitalism, and the early nineties five years later.
Anna Zett 2015

In her book Testo Junkies, Beatrice Preciado describes how contemporary subjectivities are defined by the “substances that supply their metabolism.Beatriz Preciado, Testo Junkies: Sex, drugs, and biopolitics in the pharmacopornographic era, trans. Bruce Benderson. New York: Feminist Pr, 2013, p. 35.
As psychotropic substances and biotechnologies have morphed into widely accessible and marketed consumer goods, we have become able to directly manipulate our embodied selves on a molecular level. Legal and barely-legal drugs have become powerful tools for self-enhancement and self-care.See also: Emily Martin, “The Pharmaceutical Person,” BioSocieties 1, no. 3 (2006): pp. 273‒87.
They are assigned the power to create new selves inside of us and to reanimate old selves that are not alive in us (anymore), or as Preciado put it: “We are half fetuses, half zombies.” I am not sure who is and isn’t included in this “we,” and, personally, I have started to avoid synthetic pharmaceuticals, especially the legal ones. There are many ways to politicize your metabolism, many ways to experience (a fantasy of) the present on a molecular level.
When I grew up in Leipzig in the 1990s none of the adults around me had a clue how the newly installed system called “capitalism” actually worked in practice (although not all of them admitted that). Just after the border opened my mother, a chemist, quit her job in a hospital lab and found a new job as an account manager in a Swiss pharmaceutical company doing field service in the new East German market. My father kept working as a psychiatrist in the same public – later privatized – hospital. For me, a kid from the first generation to start school after the “turn,In German Wende (turn, transition) became the general term for the transformation starting in 1989/90.
the new era was defined by weirdly insecure teachers, lots of scaffolds to climb on, and heaps of amazing garbage on every street corner. As I grew older, the transformation that I witnessed my parents dealing with and trying to adapt to was that of a formerly state-owned health care system that had to be completely restructured to fit into a neoliberal market economy. For my mother the Westernization couldn’t go fast enough. My father, however, preferred to take it slow, spending five minutes of every hour reflecting on the present and the remaining fifty-five to tell detailed stories about all kinds of characters from all kinds of eras in the past. But what both of them kept bringing home from their everyday adventures in the new system was free stationery decorated with [pharma-product®]. After both my parents had died (of different diseases, but strangely both located in the brain) ‒ and after I had become an artist, the calendar SCHLAF 1992, which I had found among the thousands of useless things my father had left behind, came to my mind again. Twenty-five years after “I’ve been looking for freedom,The song that David Hasselhoff famously performed on the defunct Berlin Wall in 1989.
I needed to revisit those transformative years again, only now from my own perspective. In the meantime, in the art world, a new ideology – Neomaterialism – had established itself or at least had become very popular. As the term kept decorating countless blogs, conferences, and art blurbs, it got linked to so many different associations, that it became almost impossible to define its meaning.[Give it a try]( http://neomaterialism.tumblr.com/), accessed October 18, 2016.
The primary function of neomaterialism might have been to host the notion of a neoliberal materialism, one that succeeds both communist materialism (production-focused) and capitalist materialism (consumption-focused).For the distinction between the East as a utopia of production and the West as a utopia of consumption, see Susan Buck-Morss, “The City as Dreamworld and Catastrophe,” October 73 (July 1995): pp. 3–26.
If the privatization of health care indeed had played an important role in the fusion of these two equally outdated materialist ideologies – like my personal story made me believe – then one could interpret the calendar SCHLAF 1992 as an early Neomaterialist articulation. Unlike art, however, this business gift wasn’t supposed to inspire; it was only supposed to promote a product in an aesthetic way. Who knows why they only depicted women or whether or not they were aware they were advertising a date-rape drug that causes amnesia in combination with alcohol. I assume the company’s publicity bureau simply attempted to communicate that the advertised drug was strong enough to make you fall asleep anywhere, anytime, no matter how uncomfortable your body position, no matter if you are safe.
Anna Zett 2015

Asleep I am both, neither active nor passive, neither waiting nor rushing, neither consuming nor producing; neither using nor being used. What I do is neither helpful nor egoistical, neither is it public nor private. Intuitively, I would certainly associate sleep with privacy. People tend regularly to withdraw from the streets, from the laptop, and from most other people, to turn to their own private sleeping berth as far as they have one. Sleeping is the one predictable activity for which an (inhabited) private home is used, where everybody with reliable access to either a bed of their own or a bed shared as a couple, has a zone to defend as private. But even if you don’t have access to any of that, you will sooner or later fall asleep anyway, no matter where you are. Privacy is an entitlement and it is also an architecture; but sleep is a material necessity for human beings, just as it is for other mammals. No one can really explain why, but your body keeps telling you regularly that it’s true. Since the 1950s it has been known that during a sleep phase called REM – recurring about every ninety minutes – our eyes move rapidly and our brain is highly active, while all our skeletal muscles are completely relaxed. We are dreaming vivid dreams with paralyzed bodies. In the opposite sleep phase, slow-wave sleep (SWS), we can move, but we are difficult to wake and totally disoriented if woken up. It makes a lot of sense to say “I slept like a baby,” not only because we slept through most of our baby years but also because when asleep we are physically and mentally disabled animals, unable to protect ourselves. We cannot overcome the need to sleep, so we will never overcome the baby’s absolute disability. Approximately every twenty-four hours, in synch with the rotation of the Earth around its axis, we expect our daily return to baby state, and we prepare for it by removing our bodies from danger and disturbance as best we can.

In neuroscience, sleep is often compared to going offline. When we are awake, we are online: connected with the world via perception, attention, and communication. In this state, synaptic productivity is very high. “Our brains play receiver to countless packets of data,See [Why we sleep](http://www.medicaldaily.com/why-we-sleep-shy-hypothesis-claims-our-brain-must-pay-price-learning-266726), accessed October 18, 2016.
creating new connections between neurons and strengthening existing ones. But unlike the internet, which can potentially incorporate an unlimited amount of servers, connections, and data, the biochemical network of the brain has a limit. This implies that if the connectivity in the brain should continue to increase, soon there will be no more space for new connections. According to the Synaptic Homeostasis hypothesis (SHY),Giulio Tononi and Chiara Cirelli, “Sleep and the Price of Plasticity: From synaptic and cellular homeostasis to memory consolidation and integration,” Neuron 81, no. 1 (2014): pp. 12–34, [doi](10.1016/j.neuron.2013.12.025).
during deep sleep, as slow oscillations flood the brain, the overall synaptic strength is downscaled to a basic level. All synapses weaken equally, with the result that many of them disconnect and only the stronger ones stay connected. It is through this regular clear-up process that we maintain openness to learning new things. As the authors of the SHY put it: “Sleep is the price we pay for [neuronal] plasticity” – that is, the brain’s ability to modify its own structure.
But not all neuro-materialist approaches apply the Darwinist paradigms of extinction and survival. As much as deep sleep is said to free-up the “storage space” necessary for thought and memory to occur at all, it is also described as a highly productive process of memory consolidation. An established modelSee Neil Burgess, Eleanor A. Maguire, and John O’Keefe, “The human hippocampus and spatial and episodic memory,” Neuron 35, no. 4 (2002): pp. 625–41.
suggests that new information, at first, is registered in the hippocampus – a small area of the brain shaped like a seahorse, allocated to the limbic system, also called the mammalia brain, or the center of emotion. While awake, all information – given that it was both recognizable and new enough to note in the first place – is stored there temporarily. During deep sleep the hippocampus finally goes “offline,” refusing all incoming signals, while its informational content is gradually copied to the neo-cortex for long-term storage – a younger layer of the brain, located closer to the outside of the organ. I don’t understand how this copying works, and it seems that neither do the experts really, but sharp-wave ripples observed in the hippocampus seem to have something to do with it. Somehow, these ripples influence those slow oscillations running through the cortex, which in turn trigger changes of synaptic strength in some neocortical networks. These structural changes then again influence the pattern of the slow oscillations – leading to a bioelectrical feedback loop, a memory replay.Yina Wei, Giri P. Krishnan, Maxim Bazhenov, “Synaptic mechanisms of memory consolidation during sleep slow oscillations, JNeurosci 36, no. 15 (2016): pp. 4231‒47, [doi](http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3648-15.2016).
After a while, however, the slow oscillations start gradually to speed up again. At some point, most parts of the brain are reactivated as are the sexual organs; the eyes start to move rapidly and we enter the REM-sleep phase. As we have just updated our experiences, values, and autobiographies, new connections between them get tested out playfully in the neo-cortex. Consciousness partly turned back on again, it is as if I’m invited to witness these processes through the splintered mirror of language and imagery, as if visiting the experimental cinema of my own memory production. During the first part of the night, the REM phase with its vivid dreams last only a few minutes, towards the end it lasts around forty minutes, taking up a major part of the cycle. The US inventor Thomas Edison famously disrespected this kind of activity. As he said in 1922:
“The person who sleeps eight or ten hours a night is never fully asleep and never fully awake—they have only different degrees of doze through the twenty-four hours. [. . .] For myself I never found I need of more than four or five hours’ sleep in the twenty-four. I never dream. It’s real sleep. When by chance I have taken more I wake dull and indolent. We are always hearing people talk about ‘loss of sleep’ as a calamity. They better call it loss of time, vitality and opportunities.Thomas A. Edison, The Diary and Sundry Observations of Thomas Alva Edison. New York: Greenwood Press, 1948, p. 58.
Already in Edison’s time, the pseudo-natural logic of capitalism prescribed that workers must be granted recovery time to retain productivity. No money is to be made while workers sleep, so, for a capitalist, sleep can only count as recovery, if it is to be valued at all. Thought of as recovery, however, sleep is not producing value but only preserving it, so it should be reduced to the absolute bare minimum. What the American Dreamer Thomas Edison didn’t know, however, is that both fetuses and newborns spend around 75 percent of their sleep in REM.See [on sleep](http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/strange-but-true-less-sleep-means-more-dreams/).
Their open, vulnerable brains have yet to learn everything about the world that their bodies are growing into, and all this information needs to find a structure, it needs actively testing out in order to find an appropriate place in the brain. Reorganizing memories, trying out narrative connections, experiencing old feelings, making unconscious decisions in the darkness of the connectome; all this could count as work, rather than recovery – work that not only babies need to do. But even had Edison known more about REM-sleep, his strong belief in discipline and progress might still have made him call sleep “a heritage from our cave days.”
Many of Edison’s business projects – among them the electrification of New York – helped to make use of the nighttime to attend to other, seemingly more modern and profitable activities than sleep. One of his more famous projects includes the development and patenting of the cinematograph. It is, therefore, a fitting coincidence that the movie theater, in its early days, was assumed to mirror the processes going on in the brain or, as the psychologist, Hugo Münsterberg put it in 1916: “The photoplay obeys the laws of the mind rather than those of the outer world.Hugo Münsterberg, The Film: A psychological study. New York: Dover Books, 1970, p. 41.
One could say that in the cinema the (non-existent) brain is turned inside out for everyone to see whatever they see, feel whatever they feel. Seated in a comfortable chair in a dark room, amidst a random group of other people, consuming a film, was supposed to resemble the nightly dream-state. But the “dream factory” of cinema was designed to produce things that are even more attractive than the useless, lonely, and easily forgotten REM phase – dreams that everyone can have for free. Thus, from a materialist perspective, the purpose of cinema was to appropriate the brains of producers and consumers alike in order to integrate both into the circulation of capital. Of course, like any other industrial synthesis, this kind of brain sell-out can also go terribly wrong, as shown in the horror film Videodrome,David Cronenberg (dir), Videodrome. USA: Universal Pictures, 1983.
where a mad professor’s brain tumor turns into a dangerously attractive virtual world.
Anna Zett 2015

In digital capitalism, it’s not the cinema or TV, but rather the omnipresent internet that is now supposed to obey the laws of the mind, making sleep appear more unproductive than ever before. Not only are we paying for internet access, electricity, fitness and recreation, but we enable companies to make money each time we communicate with someone, each time we click on something, navigating our precious attention through the internet. The more we use the internet, the farther the frontier of privatization moves into our embodied minds. In her historical study on the myth of the American Frontier and the economic practices that it was based upon, Patricia Limerick described Western history as an “array of efforts to wrap the concept of property around unwieldy objects.Patricia Nelson Limerick, The Legacy of Conquest: The unbroken past of the American West. London and New York: Norton, 1987, p. 71.
Now, these unwieldy objects include moments, friends, feelings, locations, activities, and articulations of all kinds. Gmail and Facebook are available free, because I pay with my attention, my interaction, with the content and the metadata of my life. In this attention economy, sleep is a break in data production. Only if I use a mobile sleep-tracking app that senses the vibrations on my mattress, to record and analyze my sleep cycle – with the promise that it will improve the quality of my sleep – can I keep contributing to the digital economy. Otherwise, as I doze off, the screens of laptop and mobile phone go black. Asleep, I finally turn all of my attention, or non-attention, to my own materiality, my intra-net.

In the meantime, a new research field called Critical Sleep Studies emerged in the Anglo-American world.For an overview of [Critical Sleep Studies](https://lareviewofbooks.org/review/sleeps-hidden-histories), accessed October 18, 2016.
One of the core observations discussed there, is that a vast amount of people in the US – or with Jonathan Crary in “Late CapitalismJonathan Crary, 24/7: Late capitalism and the ends of sleep. London: Verso, 2013.
– suffer from sleep disorders. Even if they would like to spend their time with the reproductive labor of sleeping, their embodied minds refuse to collaborate. In capitalism, however, this is not necessarily bad news. On the contrary – from an economic perspective any physical or mental disorder is a wilderness that can potentially be civilized for a profit. In The Slumbering Masses, anthropologist Matthew Wolff-Meyer shows that what we consider healthy and normal sleeping behaviors are not nature-given, but an effect of the disciplinary measures of capital. Over the course of the twentieth century, sleep cycles were installed, discovered, utilized, and so was the discourse around them. Compared to the early 1990s, for example, when the medical discourse largely ignored sleep, the amount of self-care and worry dedicated to maintaining healthy sleep cycles has risen significantly in the last twenty years. According to Wolff-Meyer, in the US, this transition is an effect of the direct-to-consumer advertising of sleep-inducing medications starting in the 1990s, which was accompanied by campaigns to popularize sleep as a health problem.Matthew J. Wolf-Meyer, The Slumbering Masses: Sleep, medicine, and modern American life. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2012, p. 100.
Just around the time that direct-to-consumer-advertising of sleep aids became legal in the US, the giant calendar SCHLAF 1992, a pharmaceutical company-to-doctor-gift, appeared in our home in Leipzig (in a country, however, where public advertising of pharmaceuticals is still illegal to this day). Now, more than twenty years later, the women depicted month-by-month on the pages look like bleak icons of a neoliberal era that was about to begin. Here they are, sleep-deprived, isolated, individual consumers, who know how to take care of their molecular cycles, who have taken the right pill . . . only at the wrong moment – but that is just the misogynist joke of the calendar. These women have plugged their embodied minds into the semi-public space of science and capitalism. This space is not public in the political sense, because its purpose is not to facilitate articulations. It is a corporate, privatized space, produced by pharma®. Pharmaceutical products are not the same as regular commodities. They are more substantial than commodities, many of them are literally substances – intended to become part of your body and to transform your embodied mind. Produced to sell at a profit, a pharmaceutical product is truly successful if it forces you to consume this drug for the rest your life, which it, in return, helps you to prolong. If an antidepressant, for example, actually cured you of depression, it would be a rather unsuccessful product, being that a cured patient is effectively a lost customer as far as the health care market is concerned. In the same way, successful sleeping pills and stimulating drugs help to maintain the disordered sleep cycles that they are supposed to level and normalize. A sleep aid, once supplied, becomes a supporter of the sleep disorder but one could also ask what it is, that causes these disorders in the first place? In 24/7, art critic Jonathan Crary casts a dystopian vision of round-the-clock-availability, interconnectivity, and constant exposure to screens laying ruin to both our sleep and our sensory skills. The book deals with a society where overworked and self-employed Americans are checking their emails several times a night and, as a result, are increasingly required to buy sleep in pill form. Sleep appears as an endangered physical and mental state, a prehistoric Lost World, finally, just about to be, conquered by Late Capitalism, while remaining incompatible with it at the same time. Trying to defend sleep against the capitalist attack, Crary characterizes it as “a periodic release from individuation – a nightly unraveling of the loosely woven tangle of the shallow subjectivities one inhabits and manages by day.Crary, 24/7, p. 126.
Obsessed with the idea of withdrawal, Crary turns sleep into a separate space, ready to serve as a container for everything that capitalism fails to be. He claims: “In the depersonalization of slumber the sleeper inhabits a world in common, a shared enactment of withdrawal from the calamitous nullity and waste of 24/7 practice.Crary, 24/7, p. 126.
This fantasy of a sleeping “world in common” signifies a political pessimism quite typical of critics living in a society that they find unable to influence. The communal ideals that one has practically already given up on are projected onto an endangered world that is just about to be colonized and destroyed. Ironically, though, Crary’s Romanticism is very much in tune with Thomas Edison’s idea that sleeping is lazy and unproductive. Only the judgment is reversed and the assumed unproductivity is valued as a gesture of withdrawal.

Sleep is a material practice and a physical necessity, but this does not mean that it presents us with a world in common or a release from individuation. Even though communist thinking continues to disappear from national policies worldwide, we don’t need to project the notion of communality onto paralyzed bodies and disoriented minds. Just like any other political structure, a world in common has to be actively constructed and then maintained, and most of this work will have to be done during the wakeful hours, consciously and responsibly. So the real problem with Crary’s late capitalist subject is not that they are sleep-deprived, but that they have come to believe that there is no other way than to give in and devote their whole day to the “nullity and waste of 24/7 individualism.” At work and in public, you find yourself unable to engage in communality as a livable social experience, then finally in your bed at home, you long for consciousness to fade away so you will be haunted by a “world in common,” a neomaterial world just as unknown as it is unreliable. If consciousness, again, refuses to fade away, you are left to consider this painful lack to be at least contemporary. If I should describe the state to which I periodically return when withdrawing from the world of wakefulness and attention, it would not cross my mind to associate it with communality. Sleep, to me, is clearly an experience of isolation. Throughout the different stages of the sleep cycle, I’m temporarily granted various disabilities that stop me from communicating with others and from engaging in the community. But whether one otherwise engages in service, care, sex, creative, management, protection, or technical work, none of us leaves capitalism when falling asleep. As Rob Lucas described in his essay “Dreaming in Code” he sometimes continues to solve code problems while asleep – labor from which the company he works for will directly profit. Lucas uses his own experience to describe how the minds of technical workers are habitually entangled with the power structures they are working within. He concludes: “if labour becomes a mere habit of thought that can occur even in sleep, then it would seem mistaken to place many revolutionary hopes in the nature of this mental work and its products, in the internet or in ‘immaterial labour.’Rob Lucas, “Dreaming in Code,” New Left Review 62 (March‒April 2010): p. 132.
Obviously, there is no such thing as immaterial labor. Even if I am not using my muscles to work I am using my nervous system; I use this very material tool called the brain.
Anna Zett 2015

Still, sleeping is different from being awake and the materiality of my brain is not accessible to me in the same way as other tools. In What should we do with our brain?, philosopher Catherine Malabou argues that, as we are not conscious (enough) of our neuronal plasticity “we are still foreign to ourselves, [. . . .] ‘We’ have no idea who ‘we’ are, no idea what is inside ‘us.’Catherine Malabou, What Should We Do with Our Brain?. New York: Fordham University Press, 2008, p. 3.
During sleep, this contemporary form of alienation manifests again in an almost tragicomical manner. In the very moment that I turn my attention toward my brain’s plasticity, my consciousness fades away and I am left out – again! But then, for no obvious biological purpose, at the end of a sleep cycle, some parts of my consciousness temporarily turn back on again at the end of the sleep cycle. I am invited to witness some of my brain’s unconscious workings as through a splintered mirror, a dream state in which I have no control, but neither does anyone else. The whole experience is free, but I don’t get to keep the products of my creative labor. Everything can change, but there is no one else there to share the change with me. This sounds a bit like a post-apocalyptic neoliberal utopia, but it’s just me working like a baby. Temporarily, I can devote all of my attention to the mirror-room of the self and the reproductive labor of self-care. And as I wake up – let’s say I slept well – I leave my relative isolation and return my attention to a world in common, the world of objects, or to an other – to someone different from me.
This essay is a revised version of a previously published article, “Sleeping in Public,” How to Sleep Faster #5 (Winter 2014/15).