Dietmar Offenhuber

Mining the Public Sphere – Technologies of Transactionalization” [ENG]


Abstract: From an economic perspective, a public good is public because people cannot be excluded from its consumption, regardless of whether this is because of ideological or just practical reasons due to a lack of enforceability. In infrastructure services, the ability to measure individual consumption is frequently a central agent determining the location of the boundary between public and private. Technologies such as the Internet of Things, Bitcoin, and the block-chain allow measuring even miniscule consumptions of any infrastructural service, threatening to convert traditional public goods into purely private ones. In my talk, I will trace the contradictions between these tendencies and the pervasive rhetoric of the “sharing economy,” and reevaluate the notion of the commons in the transactionalization of the public sphere.


Bio: Dietmar Offenhuber is Assistant Professor at Northeastern University in the departments of Art + Design and Public Policy. He holds a PhD in Urban Planning from MIT, a MS in Media Arts and Sciences from the MIT Media Lab, and a Dipl. Ing. in Architecture from the Technical University Vienna. Dietmar was Key Researcher at the Austrian Ludwig Boltzmann Institute and the Ars Electronica Futurelab and professor in the Interface Culture program of the Art University Linz, Austria.

His research field could be described as Accountability Design – focusing on the political responsibility of visual design in urban governance and civic discourse. Dietmar led a number of research projects investigating formal and informal waste systems and has published books on the subjects of Urban Data, Accountability Technologies and Urban Informatics. His PhD dissertation received the Outstanding Dissertation Award 2014 from the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT; his research received the Best Paper Award 2012 from the Journal of the American Planning Association.

In his artistic practice, Dietmar frequently collaborates with the sound artist Markus Decker and composers Sam Auinger and Hannes Strobl under the name “stadtmusik”. His artistic work has been exhibited internationally in venues including the Centre Pompidou, Sundance and the Hong Kong International Film Festival, ZKM Karlsruhe, Secession Vienna, and the Seoul International Media Art Biennale. His awards include the first price in the NSF Visualization Challenge, the Jury Award at the Melbourne International Animation Festival, the Art Directors Club Silver Award, a Special Mention at the 12th International Media Art Biennale WRO07 and Honorary Mentions from File Festival, Ars Electronica and Transmediale, Berlin.