IBM 2250
IBM 2250, 1965, display unit. Powerhouse Collection.

Dr Christopher John Müller

MAAS Research Fellowship

December 2020

Project Title: Empathy Machines: How Museum Collections can Help Conceptualise Technologies of Imagination and Feeling

Dr Christopher John Müller
Dr Christopher John Müller, image supplied.

In Western thought, there is a long tradition of conceptualising technological objects ‘as neutral tools’ that can be used for both good and bad purposes, because they are given purpose by their creators and users. This project examines how this view is challenged by the evolution of technological objects featured in museum collections.

Adopting a post-humanist perspective, this project suggests that technological innovations do not simply ‘enter’ the world, but that they configure ‘new worlds’ around themselves that we as machine users and creators struggle to comprehend and anticipate. To investigate this inherent trait of technology, which is becoming more apparent as the power of technology grows, the ‘W Industries, Virtuality Reality game console 1000CS,’ is mobilised as a lens through which to examine the way technological mediation shapes the structures of feeling and seemingly unmediated reality of everyday machine use.

Dr Christopher John Müller’s is a Lecturer in Cultural Studies & Media at Macquarie University, Sydney. As a cultural and media theorist, his research investigates how technological objects, and artificial and linguistic structures shape human perception, emotion and interaction. He is particularly interested in the intersection of media theory and creative practice and the wider stakes of cultural analysis in a present shaped by accelerating technological change. He has published widely on the intersection of technology, emotion and relations of power, and is the author of Prometheanism and Human Obsolescence (2016), which includes a translation of Günther Anders’s essay ‘On Promethean Shame.’ He co-edits Genealogy of the Posthuman. [ ]

More information about Müller’s research can be found at his website and his research profile at Macquarie University.