The two-day conference assembles scholars from different disciplines to discuss the conditions and scales of remote control in contemporary media practice.

The conference covers three perspectives on remotely controlled interventions:

  1. The practices of remote intervention as ways of operating „from a distance“, such as the transmission of commands in robotics.
  2. The infrastructures of remote intervention as ways of defining the possibilities of action, such as user interfaces, databases or control terminals.
  3. The politics of remote intervention as a transformation of the relation between humans and machines, such as the distribution of responsibility in remote warfare.

Conference chairs:


Remoteness is a fundamental quality of media technology: producing, processing and transmitting information always transforms the modalities of space. By facilitating action on different scales across ever greater degrees of distance and proximity, technology mediates interventions and facilitates forms of remote presence. But higher levels of automation and distribution have further complicated questions of „remoteness“ beyond mere spacial categories. More recently, in particular issues of remotely controlled real-time interventions in robotics, healthcare or the military open up new debates.

Think for instance of situations in which bodily presence is impossible, such as in NASA’s Mars exploration, or of situations in which the possibilities of operation are spatially restricted such as in computer assisted minimally invasive surgery. Here, the presence or the ability of the human sensory apparatus is replaced or augmented by sensor systems. In principal, these infrastructures do not simply enhance action and perception, but facilitate and define the scales and conditions of an intervention. If action and perception are mediated by technical devices, to what extend do technologies of remote control shape, impact and govern the workflows, autonomy and decision making processes of human actors? What concepts and presuppositions inform the design and the application of these configurations and what are their political implications?