Bernard Dionysius Geoghegan
Bernard Dionysius Geoghegan is a writer, media theorist, and historian of science. His research explores how digital technology--as an ensemble of instruments, practices, inscriptions, and concepts--shapes science, culture, and the environment. He's also published on topics including the emergence of the computer screen from geopolitical anxieties, the changing conditions of digital interactivity from Cold War vigilance and to anthopocentric globalism, recent German media theory, the technological infrastructures of spiritualism, decolonial HCI, critical interface studies, and the ideology of smart cities. In addition to serving as Senior Lecturer in the History and Theory of Digital Media in the Department of Digital Humanities at King's College London, Bernard has curated for the Technosphere Project at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt.
He published his first monograph, The Cybernetic Apparatus: Media, Liberalism, and the Reform of the Human Sciences open-access in 2012. His followup book titled Code: From From Information Theory to French Theory appeared in 2023 with Duke University Press. It examines how information theory and cybernetics shaped the reform of the human sciences in France and the United States after World War II. He shows how conceptions of communication derived from engineering, allied with technocratic agendas, shape the reorientation of research in fields including linguistics, anthropology, psychotherapy, and semiotics. The book offers a revisionist history of "French Theory" as both the humanities' efforts to come to terms with technical ideas of communications and as a neglected predecessor of the contemporary digital humanities.
Bernard's current book project, "Screenscapes: How Formats Render Territories," argues for the mutual production of screens and environments, exemplified through four key visual technologies (phantasmagoria, cinema, radar, global positioning systems). It grew out of conversations and collaborations with film theorist Francesco Casetti.
Before joining King's Bernard taught at Yale University, Coventry University, the Humboldt University of Berlin, and the American University of Paris. He also co-programmed and co-curated the Anthopocene Campus of the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, named by Artnet as one of the most influential exhibitions of the last decade. He's held fellowships at a number of institutions, including the IKKM (Weimar), the DCRL (Leuphana University), the Institute for Research and Innovation (Pompidou Center), the Whitney Humanities Center (Yale University) and his research has been funded by the Mellon Fondation, the German Research Foundation, the U. S. Department of Education, and the Association for Computing Machinery. He earned a binational Ph.D. from Northwestern University and Bauhaus University Weimar. (2021)
- The Cybernetic Apparatus: Cybernetics, Liberalism, and the Reform of the Human Sciences, Evanston, IL: Northwestern University, and Weimar: Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, 2012, 262 pp. PhD dissertation.
- Code: From Information Theory to French Theory, Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2023, 272 pp. Publisher.
Peer reviewed articles and book chapters
- "The Historiographic Conception of Information: A Critical Survey", IEEE Annals on the History of Computing 30:1, Jan-Mar 2008, pp 66-81, PDF.
- "Agents of History: Autonomous Agents and Crypto-Intelligence", Interaction Studies 9:3, Jan 2008, pp 403-414. 
- "From Information Theory to French Theory: Jakobson, Levi-Strauss, and the Cybernetic Apparatus", Critical Inquiry 38:1, Autumn 2011, pp 96-126.
- "La cybernétique «américaine» au sein du structuralisme «français»: Jakobson, Lévi-Strauss et la Fondation Rockefeller", trans. Danièle Momont, La revue d'anthropologie des connaissances 6:3, 2012, pp 585-601. (French)
- "After Kittler: On the Cultural Techniques of Recent German Media Theory", Theory, Culture & Society 30(6): "Cultural Techniques", Nov 2013, pp 66-82.
- "키틀러 이후: 최근 독일 미디어 이론으로서 문화기술학에 관하여", 정찬철문화과학 94, 2018, pp 236-260. (Korean)
- with Benjamin Peters, "Cybernetics", in The Johns Hopkins Guide to the Digital Humanities, eds. Marie-Laure Ryan, Lori Emerson and Benjamin J. Robertson, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014, pp 109-112.
- "In Memoriam: Friedrich A. Kittler, 1943–2011", Critical Inquiry 41:2, Winter 2015, pp 484-488.
- "Visionäre Informatik: Notizen über Vorführungen von Automaten und Computern, 1769-1962" [Visionary Informatics: Notes on the Exhibitions of Automata and Computers, 1769-1962]", trans. Lisa Åkervall, Jahrbuch für Historische Bildungsforschung 20: "Maschinen", eds. Marcelo Caruso and Christian Kassung, Bad Heilbrunn: Klinkhardt, 2015, pp 177-198. (German)
- "Occult Communications: On Instrumentation, Esotericism, and Epistemology", Communication +1 4:1, 2015.
- "Ecologies of Disclosure: On Aesthetic Compositions of Technics and Life", Spheres 2, Dec 2015.
- "Mind the Gap: Spiritualism and the Infrastructural Uncanny", Critical Inquiry 42:4, Summer 2016, pp 899-922. 
- with Christian Kassung, "Friedrich A. Kittler, Professor", Critical Inquiry 42:4, Summer 2016, pp 963-977. 
- "Information", in Digital Keywords: A Vocabulary of Information Society and Culture, ed. Benjamin Peters, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2016, pp 173-183. 
- "Claude Lévi-Strauss et les communications", in Les résonances des structuralismes, eds. Jean-François Bert and Jérôme Lamy, Paris: éditions des archives contemporaines, 2016, pp 113-119.  (French)
- "The Family as Machine: Film, Infrastructure, and Cybernetic Kinship in Suburban America", Grey Room 66, Winter 2017, pp 70-101.
- "作为机器的家庭：美国郊区的电影，基础设施和控制论亲属关系", Cultural Studies [Chinese], under review. (Chinese)
- with Lisa Åkervall, "I’ll Be Your Screen", in La galassia Casetti: lettere di amicizia, stima, provocazione, eds. Eugeni Ruggero and Mariagrazia Fanchi, Milan: Vita e Pensiero, 2017, pp 3-5.  (Italian)
- with Orit Halpern and Robert Mitchell, "The Smartness Mandate: Notes Towards a Critique", Grey Room 68, Summer 2017, pp 106-129, PDF.
- "An Ecology of Operations: Vigilance, Radar, and the Birth of the Computer Screen", Representations 147:1, Aug 2019, pp 59-95. 
- "Architectures of Information: A Comparison of Wiener’s and Shannon’s Theories of Information", in Computer Architectures: Constructing the Common Ground, eds. Theodora Vardouli and Olga Touloumi, Routledge, 2019, pp 135-159.
- "Textocracy, or, the Cybernetic Logic of French Theory", History of the Human Sciences 33:1, 2020, pp 52-79. 
- "Orientalism and Informatics: Alterity from the Chess-Playing Turk to Amazon’s Mechanical Turk", Ex-Position 43, National Taiwan Universit, Jun 2020, pp 45-90. 
- with Francesco Casetti, "Screen", in Information Keywords, eds. Jonathan E. Abel, Samuel Frederick and Michele Kennerly, New York: Columbia University Press, 2021. 
- "Nine Pails of Ashes: Social Networks, Genocide, and the Structuralists’ Database of Language", History of Anthropology Review 45, Aug 2021.
- with Alexander R. Galloway, "Shaky Distinctions: A Dialogue on the Analog and the Digital", e-flux Journal 121, Oct 2021.
- "The Bitmap is the Territory: How Digital Formats Render Global Positions", MLN 136, Dec 2021, pp 1093-1113. .
- "The Statistical Order of Discourse: How Information Theory Encoded Industrial and Political Discipline", in Articulating Media, ed. Nathaniel Zetter, London: Open Humanities Press, 2022.
- "Catch the Vapors: Getting Steamrolled by Environing Media", in Environing Media, eds. Adam Wickberg and Johan Gärdebo, London: Routledge, 2023.
- "Philosophy of Affordances: The Interface, Gallery, and Workshop as Media Environments", in Beyond Matter, exh. catalog, Karlsruhe: ZKM Center for Art and Media, forthcoming.
Encyclopaedia entries and brief texts
- with Benjamin Peters, "Cybernetics", in The International Encyclopedia of Communication Theory and Philosophy, eds. Klaus Bruhn Jensen, Jefferson D. Pooley, Robert T. Craig and Eric W. Rothenbuhler, Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell, 2016. 
- with Erhard Schüttpelz, "Claude Lévi-Strauss", in The International Encyclopedia of Communication Theory and Philosophy, eds. Klaus Bruhn Jensen, Jefferson D. Pooley, Robert T. Craig and Eric W. Rothenbuhler, Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell, 2016. 
- "The Dura-Europos Roman Shields", in Artwork as Screen, eds. Francesco Casetti, Bernard Geoghegan and Regina Karl, New Haven: Yale University Art Gallery, 2016.
- "The Radar-Type", in Dispatches: From the Institute of Incoherent Geography, Vol. 1, Pittsburgh: Flugschriften, 2019, pp 113-119.
- with Katrin Klingan and Christoph Rosol, "The Technosphere: Signal/Noise Ratios", Berlin: Haus der Kulturen der Welt, 2015.
- "Untimely Mediations: On Two Recent Contributions to ‘German Media Theory’", Paragraph 37:3, 2014, pp 419-425.
- "Toward Liberal Histories of Computing: Fred Turner, The Democratic Surround", Technology and Culture 56:3, Jul 2015, pp 745-748.
- Friedrich Kittler, "Farewell to Sophienstraße", trans. Bernard Dionysius Geoghegan and Christian Kassung, Critical Inquiry 42:2, Summer 2016, pp 959-962. 
- Bernard Stiegler, "The Tongue of the Eye: What ‘Art History’ Means", in Releasing the Image: From Literature to New Media, eds. Jacques Khalip and Robert Mitchell, trans. Thangam Ravindranathan with Bernard Geoghegan, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2011, pp 222-235. 
Popular media and interviews
- "Bernard Geoghegan on the History of Radar", Podcast for Field Day, Sep 2019.
- “The Chess-Playing Turk,” Following Mechanical Turks, December 2021.
- “Code: From Information Theory to French Theory,” interview on New Books Network, February 2023.
- “ Computer Graphics,” interview, High Theory podcast, April 2023.
- “Learning to Code,” lecture on MIT Comparative Media Studies podcast, April 2023.
- "Dennis McNulty and Bernard Geoghegan, in conversation", Interview in Topology, Carlow: Carlow Visual Arts Center, forthcoming.
- with Mark Hayward, SubStance 41(3): "Gilbert Simondon", Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012. 
- Communication +1 4(1): "Occult Communications: On Instrumentation, Esotericism, and Epistemology", 2015.
- Critical Inquiry 42(4): "The Spirit of Media", Summer 2016. Special dossier. 
- Critical Inquiry 42(4): "Friedrich Kittler", Summer 2016. Special dossier. 
- Grey Room 66: "Bateson Dossier", Winter 2017. 
- Technosphere, cur. Katrin Klingan, Christoph Rosol, Nick Houde, Janek Müller, Johanna Schindler, with Bernard Geoghegan and Anna Luhn, Berlin: Haus der Kulturen der Welt, 2015-2019.
- Artwork as Screen: Genealogies of the Excessive Screen, cur. Francesco Casetti, B. Geoghegan and Regina Karl, Yale University Art Gallery, 2017. Tour guide.
- 1948 Unbound: Unleashing the Technical Present, cur. Katrin Klingan, Christoph Rosol, Nick Houde, Janek Müller with Bernard Geoghegan, Berlin: Haus der Kulturen der Welt, 2017.
- Life Forms, cur. Katrin Klingan, Nick Houde, Janek Müller, Johanna Schindler, Christoph Rosol in collaboration with Bernard Geoghegan, Berlin: Haus der Kulturen der Welt, 2019.
- Shorts under the Bridge, Film Festival, Vide-O-Tek, Berlin. Co-curated with the Question Architecture collective, October 2022.
- "La modernité sans la modernisation", digital video with online distribution platform, 2007. Directed by Bernard Stiegler and produced by the Institute for Research and Innovation (Centre Pompidou). Produced and edited interviews featuring NK Hayles, Bernard Stiegler, André Green, Jean-Luc Nancy, Kevin McLaughlin, Dominique Lecourt and others. 
- "Cultural Technologies: Dialogues on Media, Art and Science", podcast, 2012-2014. Host, producer, editor.