Siegfried Zielinski

Year of birth, place
1951, Butzbach, Germany
lives and works in
Berlin, Germany

Siegfried Zielinski, born 1951, is professor for Media Theory and Variantology of the Media at Berlin University of the Arts. He is also Michel Foucault Professor for Techno-Culture and Media Archaeology at the European Graduate School in Saas Fee, and director of the International Vilém-Flusser-Archive at the Berlin University of the Arts. He succeeded Peter Sloterdijk as head of the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design in 2015.

Siegfried Zielinski studied theatre, modern German literature, linguistics, semiotics, sociology, philosophy, and political theory in Marburg  and at the Freie Universität Berlin and the TU Berlin. The major focus of his studies was on the field of advanced technical media.

In 1979 he wrote and directed the documentary film »Responses to HOLOCAUST in Western Germany« which is collected at Paley Center for Media in New York. He graduated in the same year with a thesis on Veit Harlan. His Ph.D. thesis, finished in 1985, on the History and Cultural Technique of the Video Recorder became the book »Zur Geschichte des Videorecorders«. His habilitation, in 1989, was on high-definition television.

In 1989 he took up his first full professorship in audiovisual studies at the University of Salzburg in Austria, where he set up a department for teaching, research, and production of “Audiovisions.” In 1993, Zielinski was appointed Professor of Communication and Audiovisual Studies at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne; where, in 1994, he became its Founding Director. In 2001, he returned to teaching and research, focusing on history and theory, developing his multi-dimensional (or non-linear) approach to diverse genealogies of media which he calls an archaeology or variantology of media.

Notable works are: »Veit Harlan« (R.G. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main, 1981), »Zur Geschichte des Videorecorders« (Wissenschaftsverlag Spiess, Berlin, 1986), »Audiovisionen« (Rowohlt, Reinbek bei Hamburg, 1989), »Archäologie der Medien« (Rowohlt, Reinbek bei Hamburg, 2002), »[... nach den Medien]« (Merve, Berlin, 2011) . He is also the editor of the five volumes »VARIANTOLOGY. On Deep Time Relations of Arts, Sciences and Technologies« (König, Köln, 2005-2011).