Steffen Krämer ist Stipendiat im Graduiertenkolleg “Lose Verbindungen: Kollektivität im urbanen und digitalen Raum“ an der Universität Hamburg. In seiner Dissertation untersucht er Datenkollektive anhand von epidemiologischen Kontrollsystemen und ihren operativen Bildverfahren, vor allem der Kartografie. Bis 2015 war er wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter an der Universität Cottbus-Senftenberg und lehrte und forschte in den Bereichen Medienwissenschaft und Architektur. Seit 2012 hat er verschiedene Dokumentar- und Forschungsfilme realisiert mit Forensic Architecture an der Goldsmiths University London.
Epidemics and topological experience
The imagination of epidemics is determined by the operative form of spatial extension, along the edges of social connectivity or in the flattened plane of geography. Moreover, they take on the function of a sidekick, which is always also co-figuring sociality, being epi-demos in the literal sense. The increased philosophical interest in the metaphor of epidemics in the last decades also underlines its figurative force and once more its topological meaning. The figure of epidemics may problematize territorial and bodily borders, general inside/outside distinction and the fluidity of micro/macro scales. It is peculiar, however, that despite this topological and metaphorical interpretation of epidemics and epidemicity, there were little focused analyses of the spatial practices of the science of epidemiology. Exceptions can be found in the fields of medical history and medical anthropology. The dissertation picks up the topological interpretation and figurative interest in epidemics on the one side, and the seemingly smaller interest in the techniques of epidemiological science on the other side, as a productive challenge and starts from the assumption of multiple epidemiologies. The aim of the project is to inquire about the technological continuities between those different epidemiologies. Which techniques and figurative infrastructures have stabilized on the side of state-led control networks and what is their relation to the popularization of epidemics as operative form and to corresponding topological phenomenotechniques? Central to this inquiry are the techniques of cartography and of the algorithm-based detection of spatial signals. Important theoretical inspirations are received from the fields of Media Studies and Science and Technology Studies.