Universität Mannheim / PhilFak / RSC / Forschergruppen / Transformations of Subjectivity in Second Modernity / Contemporary Media Images of 'Human Nature' and Its Limits

Contemporary Media Images of ‘Human Nature’ and Its Limits

Project by Jens Eder, Felix Kirschbacher, and Sven Stollfuß

Media and their images constantly express, shape, influence, and change collective ideas of ‘the human’ (Menschenbilder; cf. Eder/Imorde/Reinerth) which are of crucial importance for self-understanding, subjectivity, and inter-subjective behavior. Our project investigates such changes in media images of ‘the human’ or ‘human nature’, focusing on how audiovisual productions deal with contemporary frictions between social challenges and limits of the human subject’s body and mind. We are especially interested in the representations and aesthetics of human limits and ideals in fictional and non-fictional films, television and web series, as well as in user-generated content on video-sharing websites such as YouTube. What kinds of moving images and corresponding knowledge systems, ‘structures of feeling’ (Williams), and technologies of the self develop in these fields of visual culture?

 Sub-projects are:

(1)   Jens Eder “Images of Human Limits and Ideals in Contemporary Audiovisual Media”

(2)   Felix Kirschbacher “Aesthetics of Deceleration. Post-Apocalyptic Narratives in Television and Web Series”

(3)   Sven Stollfuß “Mother Nature Needs a YouTube Channel. Optimization and the Visibility of Trans- and Posthuman Bodies on the Net”