Winter Term readings & things to watch

Our topic for the Winter term 2017/18:

Real, Fake and the Imaginary

Here’s what to read and watch. The titles are in the library on the Semesterapparat shelf, unless otherwise noted.


  • Bruce Sterling , Distraction, novel, 1998
  • Bruce Sterling, Zeitgeist, novel, 2001



  • Oliver Sacks, The Man Who Mistook his Wife For a Hat, 1970, (chapter “The President’s Speech”, on aphasia) – online i.e. here
  • Oliver Sacks,  Der Mann, der seine Frau mit einem Hut verwechselte, Hamburg 1993



  • For a  popular imagination, Hollywood take on this, (re-)watch Blade Runner, Fight Club, The Truman Show. Plus Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 for a very contemporary mix of real and fake.

For a quick intro check out these trailers for two of the videos listed above:

There are known knowns; there are things we know we know.
There are known unknowns; the things we know we don’t know.
There are also the third category of unknown unknows; the things we dont know we don’t know. And you can only know more about those things by imagining what they might be.
Pearl Harbor was a failure of imagination. We didn’t know we didn’t know they could do what they did in the way they did it.

The Unknown Known, documentary by Errol Morris about master liar Donald Rumsfeld, 2013



You go into an office and sit at your desk. But maybe it is a fake job. Your real job is shopping. The true factories of our times are the shopping malls. That is where the real hard work is done.

A typical Adam Curtis, good intro to how he works.
Living in an Unreal World, trailer for HyperNormalisation