The Culture & Technology podcast 001 | March 18, 2021

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Shannon Mattern & Paul Feigelfeld: The Relationship Between Culture and Technology

What feelings does technology evoke? Thanks to pop culture, Hollywood, and the media, technological narratives tend to swing between the utopic or dystopic – the glorious or the terrifying.

For Episode 1 of The Culture and Technology Podcast, we invite Professor of Anthropology Shannon Mattern and media theorist and curator Paul Feigelfeld to deconstruct the concept and explore its intersections with culture.


Shannon Mattern is Professor of Anthropology at The New School for Social Research in New York City. She teaches and writes about the infrastructure, spaces and architecture of media, and examines the changing role of essential cultural tools and technologies such as libraries, maps and cities.

Paul Feigelfeld is a media theorist, curator and cultural scientist who researches how media and technology change the way we think and work and produce art.


Severin Matusek is a writer, producer and editor who has spent the last decade researching how technology transforms culture, communities and society.


  • Deus ex machina is a Latin phrase describing a plot device in Greek and Roman tragedy. Its meaning carries through to contemporary theatre, where it refers to a thing or person that is unexpectedly introduced into a situation and devises an artificial solution.
  • The Singularity is a hypothetical future moment at which artificial intelligence will surpass that of humans. Popularised by futurist Ray Kurzweil in his book 2005 The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology, the concept is generally regarded within the computer science community as strictly in the realm of fiction.
  • Slime mold describes unrelated organisms that live independently as singular cells but can come together to create a multicellular amoebic form.
  • Marshall McLuhan (1911–1980) was a Canadian philosopher and media theorist best known for coining the expression, “The medium is the message”.
  • Langdon Winner is a political theorist, and educator who has written extensively on science, technology, and society. Speculative design, also known as critical design or design fiction is an approach to problem-solving and idea creation established by Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby in their book Speculative Everything.
  • Tristan Harris is an American computer scientist and entrepreneur and former Google Design Ethicist who co-founded the Center for Humane Technology, which works towards catalyzing technology towards the common good.



The Culture & Technology Podcast is a long-form interview podcast produced by the Vienna Business Agency @wirtschaftsagentur_wien that aims to establish a long-term perspective on the ways emerging technologies impact cultural production. 

Editorial Team: Paul Feigelfeld, Anna Dorothea Ker, Severin Matusek, Elisabeth Noever-Ginthör, Elisa Stockinger, Heinz Wolf.

Theme Music by Zanshin.

S1E1 is now out and available wherever you listen to podcasts.

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Last updated: May 14, 2024 ■ 17:35pm