The Research Training Group Topology of Technology (GK 1343) focuses on the interplay of technology and space. Technology bears an impact on existing spatial setups and intervenes in spatial constitutions of various kinds. Technology and space relate to each other in highly technified arenas (e.g. in laboratories, households, studios, vehicles, urban areas). In addition, technology generates novel spaces in the first place (e.g. cyberspace and the built environment). The general aim of the Research Training Group is to develop a “topology of technology” based on the twofold assumption that technology essentially shapes spatial arrangements and creates conditions which even influence sensory perception and bodily experience. In turn, these truly human factors contribute to the ways in which technologies are spatially constructed.

Technical development is an ideal testbed for the investigation of socio-spatial problems and the strategies of coping with these. Interdisciplinary research can address the issue of a technology-endowed society in such a way that the importance of spatial aspects clearly comes to bear. In times of globalization, surveillance, networking, and increasing speed of communication the relevance of the topic is obvious.

The point of departure is a non-object-bound understanding of technology as “material dispositive”. In terms of spatial theory we start from the relational character of spaces. Space is not an absolute entity or independent variable, but rather a structure: a complex of relations and types of relations between potential classes of objects and events. These classes are on the one hand determined and made possible by the relational structure of space, but at the same time space itself is also changed by practices. Such a notion of space implies furthermore that the reality of technology-bound spatiality is not spent in quantities and qualities which can be measured in physical or quantitative terms. Rather, the social and bodily relational character of space – as constitutive moments of the reality of technology – has to be taken into account.

The research agenda investigates the categories of ‘everyday life’ (in the sense of developed routines) and ‘practice’ (the shaping of such routines) and it looks for the technologically mediated ‘persistence’ of space, meaning the durability of structures of variable artifacts. The research is organized around four integrative clusters as a matrix for smaller project groups. Apart from well-established activities such as seminars, workshops, conferences, summer schools, and research periods abroad, the work of these project groups will benefit from inviting visiting fellows on the PhD and post-doc levels.

Complete Description in German [pdf]

Contact us

Research Training Group
"Topology of Technology"
Technische Universität Darmstadt

Postal Address
Dolivostr. 15
64289 Darmstadt

Prof. Dr. Petra Gehring
Department of Philosophy

Phone: +49 (0)6151 16-57333

Prof. Dr. Mikael Hård
Department of History

Phone: +49 (0)6151 16-57316

Visitors Address Coordination
Landwehrstr. 54
S4|24 117

Phone: +49 (0)6151 16-57365

Anne Batsche
Tue–Fri 10.00–15.00

Marcel Endres
Mon–Wed 8.30–15.30

Visitors Address Fellows
Landwehrstr. 54
S4|24 106–112
Phone: +49 (0)6151 16-57444

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