Christina Vagt is Associate Professor of European Media Studies at the University of California in Santa Barbara. Between 2013 and 2017, she was Visiting Professor at Humboldt-University in Berlin and at Bauhaus University in Weimar. From 2016 to 2018, she was Principle Investigator of the interdisciplinary research group Self Moving Materials at the Exzellenzcluster Bild Wissen Gestaltung.

 

Research Project - Modeling Oceans

To understand both conditions and effects of media technologies within oceanic research is a prerequisite to conduct critical interdisciplinary research on how the ocean is affected and studies by human activity. The main epistemological obstacle for this is the inherent opacity of scientific knowledge. Within the formerly “low tech” and “data scarce” science of oceanography, the epistemic role of media technologies such as computer simulations has been understudied.

By studying media operations such as data and modeling processes from classic experimentation with probes and optical, acoustic, or thermic sensors to the digital modeling process that turns these data into scientific theories, this project address the inherent blackboxing of oceanography. The term ‘media’ in this context refers to investigative or explorative media like technical apparatuses or laboratory and field techniques that create, mine, or analyze texts and data, and that play an active part in the formulation of any narrative, model or theory. It also implies an interference of these apparatuses and techniques with the epistemic things that are investigated: What we know about oceans and how we relate to them depends on media operations, both in sciences and humanities.