Fabian Ebeling

KU Eichstätt-Ingolstadt

Am Marktplatz 2

85072 Eichstätt

Fabian Ebeling holds a master’s degree in media and cultural studies which he attained at Bauhaus-University Weimar in 2012. His academic work examined the co-emergence of culture and media and how they impact knowledge formations in society.

After graduating, he co-founded Die Epilog – Journal on Contemporary Culture and moved on to work as an editor for Kulturastausch – Journal for International Perspectives, which is published by the Institute for Foreign Relations. After running Die Epilog as editor-in-chief for 7 years, he now co-publishes the magazine. Since 2015, he has been working as a journalist for taz – die tageszeitung, Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg and ZEIT Online, increasingly shifting his focus towards smart city developments and discourses.

His research focuses on how smart city discourses and technologies emerge and which impact they have on current medialities in urban environments.

Créer la création – Aesthetics, responsiveness and mediality as modes of inquiry into the dispositif of smart cities

The concept of smart cities has gained momentum since the turn of the century. Often, these visions have been driven by tech companies who offer technological solutions to urban problems. On the one hand, such technologies are supposed to make life in cities more efficient, organized, and sustainable. On the other hand, there is criticism around how technologies can amplify racial bias, enhance public surveillance, and how they cater to the interests of big tech companies rather than the common good. Based on a genealogical approach, my PhD thesis offers a different mode of understanding of smart city developments. In different case studies, the dissertation focuses on a neglected factor in the emergence of smart cities: a media aesthetical and media historically grounded approach. I will investigate how the cybernetization of city planning formed an episteme that found expressions in artistic, filmic and city planning practices in what I call the smart city 1.0 in the 1960s and 1970s. Through cybernetic sculptures and his thinking about “The Cybernetic City,” French-Hungarian artist Nicolas Schöffer worked towards the decentering of the subject – a core objective of cybernetics – to aesthetically educate and improve humankind. In the famous British New Town Milton Keynes, cybernetic principles were implemented through city planning practices of the grid as a medium of spatial connectivity – arguably dissolving traditional notions of place towards non-place oriented planning. Finally, a look at Jean-Luc Godard’s movie Alphaville and Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Welt am Draht will make explicit how the discourse of cybernetic cities resonated in film-making. I will also take a look at how practices of demarcation, transitioning and environing are staged and performed in the movie to eventually tie them back to the question of worldmaking in cybernetic city planning.