Thomas Dekeyser

Dr, BAMedia (Artevelde), MAMedia (Goldsmiths), MAGeog (Royal Holloway), PhDGeog (Southampton)


Research activity per year

Personal profile


Thomas Dekeyser is a cultural-digital geographer and film maker whose work examines digital technologies, negative affects, and the politics of refusal. Before moving to Aberystwyth, he was a British Academy Postdoctoral Researcher at the Centre for the GeoHumanities (Royal Holloway) and finished his PhD in Geography at the University of Southampton. He has an academic and professional background in Media, having worked as an advertising strategist for ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi.

Research interests

His research involves three central strands of work.

First, Thomas investigates the spaces, affects, and politics of technological refusal. He is currently finishing a monograph titled ‘Techno-Negative: a History of Refusal’ (under contract with University of Minnesota Press) which tells the forgotten history of technological refusal to reveal a political struggle over what, and who, counts as human. At Aberystwyth, Thomas is now beginning his research project ‘AI-Pessimism: Refusal in an Era of Artificial Intelligence’ which explores dominant negative responses to Artificial Intelligence technologies, and how these form, or do not form, into practices of refusal. His work on technological refusal has been published in, amongst other journals, ‘Theory, Culture, & Society’ and ‘Counter-Signals’.

Second, inspired by critical theory and pessimist philosophies, Thomas is interested in how negative affects (such as hopelessness, futurelessness, impotentiality, and indifference) come to take hold, and how they affect political imaginations and practices. These investigations - which directly contribute to the nascent field of ‘negative geographies’ - have been published in ‘Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers’, ‘cultural geographies’, ‘Area’ and elsewhere.

Third, Thomas is interested in developing a rigorous research practice, methodology and theory of experimental film. Most recently, Thomas co-directed and co-produced ‘Machines in Flames’ (2022, 50min), an experimental documentary which sets out to trace the footsteps of a collective of frustrated workers who bombed computer companies in early 1980s France before disappearing after three years, never to be heard from again. This film was shown at over 70 venues - including international film festivals, cultural venues, and academic settings - and can be freely viewed on Youtube.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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