The Hidden Server


Theory-Practice Seminar
By Ariana Dongus and Nadja Verena Marcin
University of Potsdam

In the sunny sky of a mythical technosphere, a cloud flies. From that cloud, book-sized high-performance terminals are fed, their human user presenting himself – similar to Gulliver’s Travels – as a giant in comparison to the technological device. The human body seems to be useless. In addition, that cloud has an artificial intelligence that also challenges the user’s intellect. Where will this journey go and will the user find his way back to human land?

The theory-practice seminar “The Hidden Server – Digital Technologies, Appearance Myths, Power Relations and Body Politics” examines the relationship of the human imagination to technology, its applications and marketing strategies, as well as the structural power relations of production in comparison to visibility, to the order of our global society, individual social relations and last but not least that of the human body.

Helpful or troublesome – while the intertwining of humans and machines is experienced by all in everyday life, technology continues to be propagated as the big other in the mainstream imagination. What is interesting here is how technology is described differently depending on the context: When it is meant to be invisible, it is just a process, when it is meant to mobilize attention and emotion, it is anthropomorphized in the form of feminized service robots or apocalyptic terminators. In the current discussion about large-scale language models such as ChatGPT, it is presented as a spiritual threat to humanity.