Photo of Sebastian Rozenberg

Sebastian Rozenberg

PhD student

I study the experience and aesthetics of digital images online; the networked images we experience everyday through our screens.

Everyday screen images - between the discrete and continuous, code and representation, operation and sense.

My thesis aims at articulating a theory and method in relation to technical screen images of the everyday, that is images that are interfacial, quotidian or ephemeral in one way or another.

Rather than looking at scientific technical images, drone vison – or the much more common approach in media studies of using artworks as exemplary or illustrative of the everyday – I trace the sensible visual experience of today with case studies such as the homescreen on the iPhone, photographs and digitised paintings on Wikimedia commons, automated aesthetic ratings in machine learning datasets as well as the images generated through commercial and popularised text-to-image generative models. 

In light of current preoccupations with images as operational and logistical, this study is concerned not with refuting the importance of such perspectives but rather articulate how these aspects are sensibly experienced, through the image medium.

The approach is grounded in image theory, aesthetics, media philosophy and phenomenology, in order to adequately meet the subtleties of everyday sensible experience of technical images. In this vein Husserl’s theory of image consciousness and Emmanuel Alloas diaphenomenology is read against the extra phenomenological concerns of Mark Hansen and Beatrice Fazi, in order to articulate the experience and visibility of that which is ostensibly beyond human senses. Abstraction, relations, compression and difference become important conceptual keys to this. A common thread of the generic understood as sameness, likeness and median is identified across the empirical material, where the generic difference of these images can be understood as an abstraction as well as proletarianization of the sensible in Stiegler’s sense.

The thesis is grounded in the following research questions: How diaphanous are everyday image objects, what is the sensible aisthetic consciousness of code, operation and discrete computation? I argue that there is a space of sensible experience and mediated relations situated between the depresentation of interfaces and the precognitive of sensor realism, and investigate the possibility of a unpure phenomenological approach to the technical and operational side of everyday screen images.

Overall, the thesis engages with philosophy of the image, and is an attempt to both sharpen and widen a phenomenological media aesthetics of the everyday, in order to formulate possible conditions for critique and engagement with the images that make up the routine/common visual field of today.


MA Aesthetics, Södertörn University

MS Archives and Information Science, Mid Sweden University