Markus Rautzenberg

c:o/re Senior Fellow 04/22 − 09/22, 04/24 − 09/24

photo by Jana Hambitzer

Markus Rautzenberg is Professor of Philosophy at the Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen, Germany. He studied German and philosophy and, in 2000, obtained his Ph.D. in philosophy with a thesis on ‘sign–interference–materiality’. This was followed by a post-doc research scholarship in the ‘InterArt’ Research Training Group, and a subsequent position as research associate at the Institute of Philosophy at the Freie Universität Berlin. In the years 2011–2014, he led the ‘Evocation: On the Non-Visual Power of Images’ project, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). His main fields of research include media theory, picture theory, theory and aesthetics of digital media and game studies.

Practicing Uncertainty (Einübung ins Ungewisse)

This project’s point of departure is encapsulated as an inherent paradox within its title because the one thing one cannot do is “practicing” to cope with contingency and therefore uncertainty at an existential level. One cannot prepare for something that one cannot see coming, but we are doing it on many levels everyday and everywhere in the form of ludo-morphic processes of emergence (spielförmige Emergenzprozesse), which is the first and fundamental thesis of this project. Global challenges like climate change, energy transition, and the current COVID-19 crisis are stressors that increase pressures on every individual, not only because of the general risk potential of human existence, but because of the inherent contingency of these highly complex phenomena – contingency in the form of insecurity, indeterminacy or uncertainty; in short: epistemic and existential vagueness. The way individuals deal with these forms of contingency can range from escapes into simple explanatory models, to conspiracy theories, all the way to ever more pervasive skepticism in rationality. The anti-democratic, anti-intellectual and anti-science potential borne by such approaches is alarming. Therefore, what is needed are strategies for solving the global challenges as well as tools that allow each individual to cope with contingency. In recent decades, research has developed comprehensive methods of forecasting, simulation, modeling and scenario analysis as scientific tools for coping with contingency, through which society has been increasingly transformed into a “predictive society”. The direction I would like to investigate, addresses the dynamics of experiencing and cognition through games and play. It is my thesis that playing games – in the broadest sense – is to be conceived of as acting and understanding, of opening access to heterogeneous, epistemic areas, of bringing these together as an experience of emergence and thus enabling insights into complex phenomena and relationships. 

Publications (Selection)

Rautzenberg, Markus. 2020. Framing Uncertainty. Computer Game Epistemologies. Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave. 

Rautzenberg, Markus. 2020. Bild und Spiel. Medien der Ungewissheit. Paderborn: Fink. 

Rautzenberg, Markus. 2016. Phantasms of Computability. In Performance Research, 21 (4): pp. 108-112

Rautzenberg, Markus. 2009. Die Gegenwendigkeit der Störung. Aspekte einer postmetaphysischen Präsenztheorie. Berlin-Zürich: diaphanes.