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Marcus Burkhardt

Foto: Marcus Burkhardt

Affiliation & Contact

University of Siegen
Institute of Media Studies
Collaborative Research Center (CRC/SFB) "Media of Cooperation"
Personal website:
E-Mail: marcus.burkhardt[at]

Research Areas

History and theory of digital media, especially the logics and logistics of database technologies, big data, and algorithmic environments, as well as on digital methods


Marcus Burkhardt is postdoctoral research associate at the chair for Digital Media and Methods at the University of Siegen. From 2015 to 2017 Marcus was a postdoctoral researcher at the Digital Media Lab at the Munich Center for Technology in Society at Technical University of Munich. And in 2016 he was visiting professor for Algorithms, Media and Society at University of Paderborn. Prior to this he was head of the Hybrid Publishing Lab – a research project investigating the future of academic publishing in the humanities – at the Centre for Digital Cultures at Leuphana University Lüneburg. Marcus Burkhardts academic background is in media studies, philosophy and computer science. He conducted his Ph.D. at the International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture at Justus Liebig-University Giessen on the media history and theory of digital databases.

Current Research

“Agentic Media: Formations of Semi-Autonomy” together with Karin Knorr Cetina as part of the Collaborative Research Center “Media of Cooperation

Ever more digital media technologies are not just designed as mere tools, instruments, (information) resources or mediators, but rather as synthetic actors that act (semi )autonomously. As constructs of the technosciences and the digital industry, Agentic Media are often experienced as human-like actors in social interactions, equipped with tasks, privileges and the ability to learn – capacities that have been derived from the model of human autonomy. This development is accompanied by the disruption of established interaction orders and action systems, in the course of which human action and human autonomy of action are transformed.

In the context of this project, agentic media are conceptualized as semi-autonomous synthetic actors that are cooperatively produced, supported and stabilized in heterogeneous, multiply situated and distributed media and data practices. At the intersection of media studies and sociology the project examines in three work packages how agentic media are created cooperatively as actors in various fields of practice – chatbots, drones, and the academic development of algorithms  – and asks which interactions orders as well as modes of cooperation emerge between human and synthetic actors.

Network-related Publications (selection)

◦ Burkhardt, M. (2019): „Mapping the Democratization of AI on GitHub: A First Approach“, in: Sudmann, A. (Hg.): The Democratization of Artificial Intelligence: Net Politics in the Era of Learning Algorithms. Bielefeld: transcript. [Zur Publikation angenommen]
◦ Burkhardt, M. (2019): „Version Control. Zur softwarebasierten Koordination von Ko‑laboration“, in: Gießmann, S./Röhl, T./Trischler, R. (Hg.): Materialität der Kooperation. Wiesbaden: Springer, S. 91–117. [Zur Publikation angenommen]
◦ Burkhardt, M. (2017): „Vorüberlegungen zu einer Kritik der Algorithmen an der Grenze von Wissen und Nichtwissen“, in: Jahrbuch Technikphilosophie 3, S. 55–67.
◦ Burkhardt, M. (2016): „Archiv, Superarchiv, Metaarchiv“. In (Post)Fotografisches Archivieren: Wandel, Macht, Geschichte, herausgegeben von Viktoria von Flemming, Daniel Berndt, und Yvonne Bialek, 69–80. Marburg: Jonas Verlag.
◦ Burkhardt, M. (2015): „A New Digital Purity? On Architectures for Digital Immateriality“. In Search Routines: Tales of Databases, herausgegeben von Lena Brüggemann und Francis Hunger, 87–105. Leipzig: D21 Kunstraum.
◦ Burkhardt, M. (2015): Digitale Datenbanken: Eine Medientheorie im Zeitalter von Big Data. Bielefeld: transcript.
◦ Burkhardt, M./Gießmann, S. (Hg.) (2014): „Sonderausgabe Datenkritik“, in: Mediale Kontrolle unter Beobachtung 3 (1).
◦ Burkhardt, M. (2010): „Archive des Digitalen: Medienphilosophische Überlegungen zu Utopie, Dystopie und Realität digitaler Archivierung“, in: SPIEL – Siegener Periodicum zur Internationalen Empirischen Literaturwissenschaft 29(1/2), 21–36.