Rebekka Ladewig
IFK_Research Fellow

Duration of fellowship
01. October 2021 bis 31. January 2022

Rebekka Ladewig


Limits of Formalization. On the Re-Evaluation and Relevance of Tacit Knowledge


Drawing on Michael Polanyi’s theory of tacit knowledge, the project enquires into the formalization of knowledge and its limits. The unspecifiable elements that form integral part of the tacit dimensions of perception, knowledge, and discovery are addressed in light of current media technologies, notably the discourses of digitalisation, algorithmisation and cybernetisation of knowledge, and expert cultures. The historical point of departure is the encounter between Michael Polanyi and Alan M. Turing on occasion of the 1949-symposium »Mind and the Computing Machine,« held at the University of Manchester. Here, Polanyi’s epistemological approach was confronted with the cybernetic notions of machinic intelligence for the first time. The study combines epistemological, philosophical, media, and cultural-theoretical questions. Polanyi’s epistemology will be evaluated critically against the notion of living knowledge.


Rebekka Ladewig is a researcher of cultural history and media theory. In 2012, she received her doctorate from the Department of Cultural History and Theory at Humboldt-University Berlin. She held research positions at the Cluster of Excellence »Image Knowledge Gestaltung« at Humboldt-University and at the Faculty of Media at Bauhaus-University Weimar. Between 2018 and 2020, she was Deputy Professor for »History and Theory of Cultural Techniques« at Bauhaus-University, and in 2020/21 she held a visiting professorship at the Institute for Theatre, Film and Media Studies at University of Vienna. She is a founding member and co-editor of the journal ilinx. Berliner Beiträge zur Kulturwissenschaft and the book series ilinx-Kollaborationen, published by Spector Books, Leipzig. Currently, she pursues a research project on the cultural history of arrows, funded by the Volkswagen Foundation and affiliated with Bauhaus-University Weimar.


gem. mit Angelika Seppi (Hg.), Milieu Fragmente. Technologische und ästhetische Perspektiven, Leipzig 2020; »De/Centering the Subject: Jan Evangelista Purkyně’s Self-Experiments on Vertigo«, in: Ruth Anderwald, Karoline Feyertag, Leonhard Grond (Hg.), Dizziness–A Resource (= Publication Series of the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, Vol. 24), Berlin 2019, S. 146–171; Schwindel. Eine Epistemologie der Orientierung, Tübingen 2016.

  • Lecture
Rebekka Ladewig


Mit der fortschreitenden Entwicklung von AI und Machine Learning sind immer größere Bereiche des Lebens und Denkens einer algorithmischen Formalisierung ausgesetzt. Der Vortrag beleuchtet diese neuen Grenzverläufe der Berechenbarkeit am Beispiel der Epistemologie Michael Polanyis und stellt damit die Aktualität seiner Theorie des impliziten Wissens zur Diskussion.