Dieter Mersch, philosopher

Dieter MerschDieter Mersch

“... obliger à dire”: Roland Barthes once said the performative nature of language forced speech. A similar conclusion can be drawn with regard to the “social media” on digital networks: first, they force a particular form of communication within the digital register – namely one that has been pre-determined on the basis of logical decision – and secondly they force communication in the first place, feeding the need to “have-to-connect” to technically available systems.

Dieter Mersch studied mathematics and philosophy in Cologne and Bochum. In 1992, he earned a PhD in semiotics, rationalism and the critique of rationalism under the tutelage of Umberto Eco. He published his post-doctoral thesis Materialität, Präsenz, Ereignis. Untersuchungen zu den Grenzen des Symbolischen (Materialism, presence, occurrence. Investigating the boundaries of the symbolic) in 2000.

Mersch was visiting professor at many universities, and he has lectured full-time at the University of Potsdam since 2004 where he is professor of media theory and media studies. His research focuses on media philosophy, linguistic philosophy, philosophical aesthetics, the philosophy of art, semiotics, hermeneutics and post-structuralism, as well as on 19th and 20th century philosophy. In the broadest sense, his work revolves around the philosophy of art and art as philosophy – in this context a key role is played in particular by the concepts of presence and eventfulness.


(with Joachim Paech): Programme (Programmes). Berlin 2013

Ordo ab Chao / Order from Noise. Berlin 2013

Posthermeneutik (Post-Hermaneutics). Berlin 2010

(with Martina Heßler): Logik des Bildlichen. Zur Kritik ikonischer Vernunft (The logic of the figurative. On the criticism of iconic common sense). Bielefeld 2009

Ereignis und Aura. Untersuchungen zur einer Ästhetik des Performativen (Event and aura. Investigating the aesthetics of the performative). Frankfurt am Main 2002

Related links

Fikrun wa fann: Media

Fikrun wa Fann, the Goethe-Institut’s cultural magazine. Articles of the issue on media.

Humboldt: Protest 2.0 “Time for Revollusion”

An arts journal intended to nurture cultural exchange between Germany and Latin America, Spain and Portugal, also available as e-paper.

100 voices

One hundred video interviews about change in the Arab World

Going Public – On the Possibility of a Public Statement

Public art in Lithuania, Belarus, Kaliningrad and Germany

Dossier: Civil Society

Aktion des Projekts “Zwanzig-Forint-Operette”/ A „Húszforintos opera“ projekt akciója. Copyright: Fekete Hajnal
What characterises German civil society with its long-standing traditions and the strong re-emergence of Hungarian civil society? An overview.