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Cogg Hall: MO closed TUE - SU 10 AM till 6 PM + Ships: closed + free entrance for refugees + Безкоштовний вхід для українців


  • +49 471 482 07 0

Prof. Dr. Sebastian


Prof. Dr. Sebastian Vehlken

„Media technologies operate at the fringes of knowledge, and the sea is one of the most untapped and fascinating domains in which to exlore this.“

Prof. Dr. Sebastian Vehlken, Professorship for Knowledge Processes and Digital Media, Program area management "Ships as knowledge repositories: collection and preservation"


About the person

Prof. Dr. Sebastian Vehlken is a media theorist and historian. At the DSM, he researches the role of digital media - especially computer simulations - for contemporary shipping and maritime research. Ships themselves can also be understood as media of knowledge production, transmission and storage. They are an ideal starting point for addressing with concepts of 'material culture' and infrastructural research under the conditions of comprehensive digitality.

In addition, he leads the area of 'science-led digitization' at the DSM, which links the development of digital offerings for museums and their critical reflection. He works interdisciplinarily at the intersection of media, science, and technology history with natural and technical science disciplines. He is currently interested in the significance of tidal computers within computer history, kyte technologies as sources of energy and propulsion, and (past) futures of ocean habitats.

Current Research Projects

Digital Materialities


Foto: DSM

Prof. Dr. Sebastian Vehlken

00 49 (0)471 482 0765


Credit: DSM / Helena Grebe

Curriculum Vitae

Since 08/2022W2 Professorship for Knowledge Processes and Digital Media, DSM and Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg
04/2022-07/2022Visiting Professor Media Theory and Media History, Leuphana University Lüneburg
09/2021-03/2022Substitute of the W3-Professorship Media Cultural Studies, MKW, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg i. Br.
04/2017-09/2021Professorship in Media Theory and Media History, ICAM Institute for Culture and Aesthetics of Digital Media, Leuphana University of Lüneburg, and Senior Researcher at MECS - DFG Collaborative Research Group Media Cultures of Computer Simulation.
03/2018-03/2020Associate Researcher at the IKKM International Center for Cultural Technology Research and Media Philosophy, Weimar, Germany
10/2017-02/2018Parental leave
04/2013-03/2017Junior Director of the MECS - DFG Collaborative Research Group Media Cultures of Computer Simulation, Leuphana University Lüneburg
10/2015-03/2016Visiting Professor "Diversity of Forms of Knowledge", Helmholtz Center, Humboldt University of Berlin
10/2015-03/2016Visiting Professor "Media Philosophy", Department of Philosophy, University of Vienna
04/2015-09/2015Administration of the professorship "Media Theory and Media History", Leuphana University Lüneburg
03/2014-06/2014Research Fellow at the IFK International Research Center for Cultural Studies, Vienna
10/2013-10/2016Collaboration with the ERC Research Project Principles of Disruption, University of Siegen/Dresden
04/2011-06/2014Member of the DFG Junior Researcher Network Media of Collective Intelligence, University of Konstanz, Germany
10/2010-03/2013Research Assistant (PostDoc) at the ICAM Institute for Culture and Aesthetics of Digital Media, Leuphana University Lüneburg
12/2007-09/2010Associate member of the Graduate School The Sciences in Historical Context at the University of Vienna
04/2007-09/2010Research Assistant (PreDoc) at the Department of Epistemology and Philosophy of Digital Media, Institute of Philosophy, University Vienna
01/2005-03/2007DFG Fellow at the Research Training Group Medial Historiographies, Bauhaus University Weimar
08/2004-08/2005Research Assistant of the Young Academy of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities and the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina

Academic education

11/2010Dr. phil. at the Humboldt University Berlin, Cultural Studies, title of dissertation: Swarms. Media Cultures of Intransparency, Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Joseph Vogl, Prof. Dr. Claus Pias
04/2004Master's degree in Film and Television Studies, Ruhr University Bochum: Title of thesis: Environment for Decision. The Mediality of a Cybernetic State Government. Project Cybersyn in Chile 1971-73.
10/1998-04/2004Studied film and television studies, journalism and economics, Ruhr University Bochum
06/2001-02/2002Study abroad in Media Studies at Edith Cowan University, Perth


Monographs and publications


Collaborative book project, Deep Noise. Knowledge Formations of Sonar (with Shintaro Miyazaki (HU Berlin), Axel Volmar, and Christoph Borbach (University of Siegen))

Publication project: Extreme Environments, Springer book series Adaptive Environments (with Keith Evan Green (Cornell University), Henriette Bier (TU Delft))

Zootechnologien. Eine Mediengeschichte der Schwarmforschung. Berlin/Zurich: Diaphanes 2012.

Zootechnologies. A Media History of Swarm Research. Amsterdam University Press 2019 (revised, abridged and peer-reviewed version von Zootechnologien, übers. v. Valentine Pakis)

published with Christina Vagt and Wolf Kittler: Modelling the Pacific Ocean. Edition Media+Environment, April 2021

published with Eva Schauerte: Zeitschrift für Medienwissenschaft 19: Faktizitäten(Herausgabe des Schwerpunktthemas), Oktober 2018.

with Jan Müggenburg, Katja Müller-Helle and Florian Sprenger: Trick 17. Mediengeschichten zwischen Zauberkunst und Wissenschaft, Lüneburg: Meson 2016.

published with Tobias Harks: Neighborhood Technologies. Media and Mathematics of Dynamic Networks, Diaphanes/Chicago University Press 2015.

published with T. Brandstetter und C. Pias: Think Tanks. Die Beratung der Gesellschaft, Berlin/Zurich: Diaphanes 2010.


Selected essays and book contributions


Making Waves. Schiffe, Störung, Simulation, in: Archiv für Mediengeschichte 2022: Das Schiff. Hg. von Bernhard Siegert, Joseph Vogl, Friedrich Balke (in preparation)

›Acoustic Fog‹. Noise Pollution in Submarine Soundscapes, in: Zemanek, Evi u.a. (Hg.): Noise Pollution. (in preparation)

Sea for man to live, land for machine to function‹: Schwimmende Städte als maritime Medien, in: Dennis Niewert, Ruth Schilling (Hg.): Medien des Meeres. Bielefeld 2022. (is about to published)

Schwärmen, in: Matthias Bickenbach, Heiko Christians, Nikolaus Wegmann (Hg.): Historisches Wörterbuch des Mediengebrauchs, Bd. 3, Wien: Böhlau 2021 (is about to be published)

with Rupert Gaderer: Einleitung: Big Data und Verhalten, in: Georg Toepfer und Sophia Gräfe (Hg.): Verhalten. Eine interdisziplinäre Wissensgeschichte, 2021 (in preparation)

System-Verhalten. Urban Dynamics zwischen Kybernetik und Komplexitätswissenschaften, in: Georg Toepfer und Sophia Gräfe (Hg.): Verhalten. Eine interdisziplinäre Wissensgeschichte, 2021 (in preparation)

with Christina Vagt and Wolf Kittler: Modelling the Pacific Ocean: Editorial, in: dies. (Hg.): Modelling the Pacific Ocean. Ausgabe von Media+Environment, April 2021

with Philipp Hauss: REST in Peace. Floating Tanks, in: Cornelia Zumbusch/Eckhart Goebel (Hg.): Figuren des Äquilibriums, Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter 2020, S. 217-238.

Atomic Animals. Tiere als Medien nuklearer Forschung, in: Tierstudien 18 (2020), S. 45-56.

Virtuelle Städte, in: Dawid Kasprowicz, Stefan Rieger (Hg.): Handbuch Virtualität, Berlin: Springer 2020, S. 191-216. Also published under Springer online first (2018) unter: doi:10.1007/978-3-658-16358-7_15-1.

The Great Pacific Garbage Catch. Müll als Medium einer ›Plastic Oceanography‹, in: Zeitschrift für Medienwissenschaft 23 (2020): Zirkulation, S. 84-97.

Traffic Life. Temporal Dynamics and Regulatory Dimensions in Agent-Based Transport Simulations, in: Mobilities 15/5 (2020), p. 725-739.

Pervasive Intelligence. The Tempo-Spatiality of Drone Swarms, in: Digital Culture and Society 4/1 (2018): Rethinking AI: Neural Networks, Biometrics and the New Artificial Intelligence, p. 99-124.

with Claus Pias, Isabell Schrickel, Anneke Janssen: Computersimulation, in: Bühler, Benjamin/Willer, Stefan (Hg.): Futurologien. Ordnungen des Zukunftswissens. München Fink 2015, p. 181-196.

Postmoderne Medientheorien, in: Schröter, Jens (Hg.): Handbuch Medienwissenschaft. Metzler 2014, p. 115-124.

Zootechnologies. ›Swarming‹ as a Cultural Technique, in: Theory, Culture and Society 30/6 (2013). Special issue Cultural Techniques, hg. Geoffrey Winthrop-Young, Jussi Parikka and Ilinca Irascu, p. 110-131.

with Christoph Engemann: Supercomputing, in: Balke, Friedrich/Siegert, Bernhard/Vogl, Joseph (Hg.): Takt und Frequenz.Archiv für Mediengeschichte2011, S. 143-161.

with J. Müggenburg: Rechnende Tiere. Zootechnologien aus dem Ozean, in: ZfM - Zeitschrift für Medienwissenschaften 4 (2011), S. 58-70.

Fishy Business. Mediale Durchmusterung von Schwärmen unter Wasser, in: Thomas Brandstetter/Karin Harasser (eds.): Grenzflächen des Meeres. Wien 2010: Turia & Kant, S. 157-196.

Das Rauschen der Schwärme, in: mare. Die Zeitschrift der Meere 78 (Februar/März 2010), p. 54-55.

Fish & Chips. Schwärme, Simulation, Selbstoptimierung, in: Lucas Gisi/Eva Horn (eds.): Schwärme. Kollektive ohne Zentrum. Bielefeld: Transcript 2009, p. 125-162.

Opening hours

Cog hall: Monday closed, TUE - SUN from 10 am to 6 pm

Ships: closed

how to reach us

Deutsches Schifffahrtsmuseum
Hans-Scharoun-Platz 1
D-27568 Bremerhaven


T. +49 471 482 07 0

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