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CA Position: Regula Staempfli on Truth in the Age of Digital Reproduction

Lecture 16.03.21

Online CA Position

Tuesday 16.03.21, 16.30 – 18.00
Lecture in English

BA Visual Communication – Camera Arts
Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts – School of Art and Design

For external participants, please request the access link via Daria Rüttimann.

See also:
Regula Stämpfli’s online position

Truth in the Age of digital reproduction:
On Codes, Bias, Bank speak, Conspiracy and the Iconography of Power

Dr. phil. Regula Staempfli



“Reality is something that still exists when the codes stop.” (laStaempfli with inspiration of Philip K. Dick)  Humans serve industries that produce rather totalitarian information awareness. Every day we are flooded with impressive data that – as Hannah Arendt Explanations of the works by Hannah Arendt can be found at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. would put it bluntly, consists of “Clichés, stock phrases, adherence to conventional, standardized codes of expression and conduct, which have the socially recognized function of protecting us against reality.”

“The life of algorithms” as a “concept of narratives, ideologies and images in codes” is not yet widely understood. Most media still refer to coding in terms of mathematical and logic analogies: the “hidden” is much more powerful than the “visible”.

In coding, the realm between fiction and materiality is lost and therefore TRUTH is lost as well. Because truth can only be established in public, on common ground among humans in their form of zoon politikon as Hannah Arendt again would add: “Wherever the relevance of speech is at stake, matters become political by definition, for speech is what makes man a political being.”

laStaempfli would say: “Wherever the relevance of codes is at stake, matters become political by definition, for codes are what make humans political beings nowadays.” The Platforms or the “Big Nines” as Amy Webb would put it, deprive us of alternatives. In our daily lives we all have to undergo old feudal practices of entry codes: Instead of customs at the bridge, we pay data into privately owned machines. The state is filled with the same channels that feed the supply chains of “surveillance capitalism” (Shoshana Zuboff). Article published by The Guardian on 04.10.19: Shoshana Zuboff: ‘Surveillance capitalism is an assault on human autonomy’

What images, judgments are built into codes and conquer the world through repetition? How do conspiracy theories fit into “autocomplete”? How can we code to sustain public spheres rather than closing down to the “tyranny of intimacy”, a term which Richard Sennett The concept of “tyranny of intimacy” is discussed in the book “The Fall of Public Man” by sociologist Richard Sennett in 1977. Read the book review published by The New York Times on 23.01.77. drew from Hannah Arendt? How can we disrupt ruling algorithms which constitute a global grammar to replace the existing world? How to defeat Trends, Hashtags, Hyperlinks, Autocompletes, Black Boxes and their fictitious logic? What does “reporting” in the digital age mean?

Regula Staempfli invites you on a rather extraordinary tour on ambivalence, diversity and Truth in the age of digital reproduction. Join the political philosopher in webbing the data texture differently while she draws on an update of Hannah Arendt and her own work (“Die Vermessung der Frau” 2013, “Trumpism. Ein Phänomen verändert die Welt” 2018. See descriptions).




Dr. phil. Regula Staempfli
Podcaster, Bestselling author and Digital Design Thinker


Regula Staempfli is made in Switzerland in a non-standardized Data package. Following her grandmothers advise to stay in Switzerland for a good education in order to then to connect with other worlds, she finished High School in Pasadena, studied in Zurich, Bern, N.Y., Berlin and finished her master´s degree on “Mao´s China 1945-1950”. Her PhD (University of Bern at a time the history department was still worth mentioning internationally) coincided with the births and babyhoods of her three kids and focused on the gender construction during the great wars (1914-1945). In Brussels she worked as an independent expert for the EU Commission, for the parliament as a consultant and was the founding member of the “European Citizen´s Initiative ECI”. At the same time laStaempfli kept her annual 4x engagement at the Lucerne Journalist School MAZ to teach politics to media people (1989-20212). In 2007 she became director of the International Forum of Design in Ulm IFG, a post she held until 2013, when the Foundation IFG had to redirect finances in the building site constructed by Max Bill.

Staempfli has taught as a lecturer invite at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris and still works closely with Prof. Dr. Ruedi Baur Design to Context/intégral She holds a position of the “Hannah Arendt Lectures” at the HSG St. Gallen. She is regulary invited to various lectureships in Zurich, Brussels, Amsterdam and Berlin. From 2008-2013 Staempfli held additionally the position of the University Council in Cologne. The former “Lara Croft of political Science” as her students would call her, works as a famously notorious columnist in major Swiss media and was nominated in 2016 among the 100 most powerful women in Switzerland. She does a weekly Clubhouse Show on “Das Design der Woche”, hosts a podcast “Die Podcastin” with Dr. Isabel Rohner, a podcast which has been nominated in 2021 for the Henri Nannen Preis of Journalism, the Grimme-Preis and the Deutscher Podcastpreis.

She is also on the board of swissfuture and together with the Swiss National Technology Assessment she produces the “future podcast” on Data and Digital Transformation. Staempfli lives currently in Munich and Vienna where she is involved with artcare, an auction house for contemporary art; her newest “baby” is the “Most Wanted Female Art Auction 2021”.

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