Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Medienwissenschaft

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Institut für Musik­wissen­schaft und Medien­wissen­schaft | Medienwissenschaft |  ↳ Medientheorien | Kolloquium | David Friedrich: Let’s talk about the technológos of the cochlear implant. (Vortrag)

David Friedrich: Let’s talk about the technológos of the cochlear implant. (Vortrag)

  • Wann 08.02.2023 von 18:00 bis 20:00
  • Wo Medientheater, Raum 0.01, Georgenstraße 47, 10117 Berlin Online via Zoom
  • Name des Kontakts
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The human sensory apparatus has changed with implanted media technologies. One of these technologies is the hearing device cochlear implant (CI). It enables users to perceive an environment of signals beyond acoustics; an audible perception of electromagnetic fields that have only occurred in non-human organisms and machines. Nonetheless, most discourses about the CI focus either on implantation, and post-operative treatment, or criticise the media-political power of the microprocessor on the outside of the head, i.e., asking who determines the quality of hearing. Whereas culture defines the quality of hearing, it is overlooked that sound waves determine the sense of hearing. However, this stands in contrast to the actual sensation via the implanted media technology CI. The discourses have in common the belief that hearing via CI relies on acoustics even though the implanted part does not depend on signals such as sound waves. What is missing in the current debate is a cross-disciplinary examination of the relationship between hearing and the phenomenon of sound, i.e. the sound signal, which ultimately structures the sense of hearing and separates it from the other human senses. Based on a media archaeological investigation, David’s PhD thesis (Phenomenology of Bionic Sensation) explores the relationship between techno-biological sensation and sound perception, which discloses the CI’s core technological origin by investigating its operation to bypass the historical narrative determining the CI as a hearing prosthesis. At Medien, die wir meinen he will give an overview of the first chapter of his dissertation to discuss the resulting questions that arise from the media archaeological research approach.


David Friedrich is a PhD student at the Conservatorium of Music at the University of Western Australia (UWA). His research is primarily focused on the investigation of (auditory) media technologies and is driven by an interdisciplinary approach between art, science, and philosophy. During his undergraduate studies (2018) in musicology and media studies at the Humboldt University zu Berlin, he developed the Theremin for the Deaf, probably the first musical instrument that generates sound without acoustics. It reflects our understanding of hearing by highlighting how cochlear implants (CI) provoke a hearing sensation without sound waves. In his master’s thesis (2021), The Duality of Sound, at the department for media theory at the Humboldt University zu Berlin, he introduced the ‘media technological uncertainty principle.’ The principle states that technology represents the phenomenon of sound either as a wave or as a discrete location. Whereas the Duality of Sound investigated the influence of an external media technology on the human being and vice versa, his PhD thesis, Phenomenology of Bionic Sensation, will go a step further by exploring the relationship between the sensation via the implanted media technology CI and the human perception of sound techno-philosophically.