After the Media… — Zielinski (2013)

“But even if we managed to promote not only heterogeneity, but diversity articulated into a mesh- work, that still would not be a perfect solution. After all, meshworks grow by drift and they may drift to places where we do not want to go. The goal-directedness of hierarchies is the kind of property that we may desire to keep at least for certain institutions. Hence, demonizing centralization and glorifying decentralization as the solu­ tion to all our problems would be wrong. An open and experimental attitude toward the question of different hybrids and mixtures is what the complexity of reality itself seems to call for.” — De Landa (1997), available online at: http://www.t0.or.at/delanda/ meshwork.htm. – p. 196

Not all pro­ cesses of centralization inevitably lead to dictatorship. “Hence, demonizing centralization and glorifying decen­ tralization as the solution to all our problems would be wrong.”154  — p. 211

The theoreticians from the USA’s East Coast differ markedly from the one-time computer hippies of the West Coast who with their metaphysics of telecommu­ nication, their strange theologies of absence of the body while at the same time propagating hedonism and drug use, dominated the 1960s and 1970s and to a large ex­ tent also made Silicon Valley possible.

Once again, allegories and metaphors of living organisms have to serve as technological products. Organismic analogies surface at regular intervals in the­ oretical discourse at junctures where things threaten to get seriously unclear. Life serves as a concept for harmonization — is not nature the model realm which is full of differences and at once identical with itself in its heteroge­neity? 

Clouds & Twitter

The techno-imaginary clouds, as linked offerings of computer hardware and software resources, do not fos­ ter cloudiness but instead its opposite: the transparency of the actions that take place in its environment.

In the same way birdsong (Twitter) is a singularly inappropriate com­ parison for an activity and a service in which online ac­ tivists consent to the compilation of statistics about what they like to talk about the most, their political and cultural interests, what they spend their money on, and so on. In a popular variant this concept of a collective culture of databases, generated by swarm like superorganisms, disas­ trously draws from a model of society which was believed to exist among ants. p.199 

Social and cultural daily life is now replete with fractures, fragmentation, and discontinuities. It is high time to considUer NdiffIeVreOnt fiCguAreLs of therapy.

Artistic processes or media works do not really interest the aforementioned French authors in contrast to Derrida or Deleuze. In his profound study of the painter Francis Bacon, The Logic of Sensation (1995), and in his treatment of individual photographs or philosophical thoughts on time and cinema, Deleuze has written an exquisite and implicit theory of art and media. The only explanation that occurs to me as to why aesthetics, as a vague field of activity, has become so en vogue for certain thinkers is that, above all, art is again being celebrated as a refuge in which insurrection can still take place and unfold. Nan­ cy’s concept of vestigium, of “residue,” in which possibly Rancière’s “undecidability” finds itself, corroborates this assumption.159 

For now one is certain with a curious determination of one thing; namely, the breakup of all dependabilities, gravitas, consistencies — especially with regard to the subject. Although it has lost “its last bastion, namely, to be the fundament of knowing” at the latest with “the objectification of German idealism.”160 Self-disempower­ ment and self-flagellation. 

Agamben: 

His formulation “pure means,” as the “inviolate place of expression,” we could substitute with the notion of pure media — with­ out causing any epistemic break — which determine the “new condition of objects.”  

“What hampers communica­ tion is communicability itself.”169 Agamben refers to the ongoing work of separation of artificial connections in his later text on the dispositif as a process of “desubjec­ tification.” This is now so far advanced that the prob­ lem with dispositifs cannot be “reduced to the question of their correct use.”170 Those who argue that it can merely reveal they are the products of the media dispositif in which they are captured. 

An Exact Philology of Precise Things

We are thus sketching the concept of a philology of precise things that is as exact as possible. To the extent in which it already exists as a practice in the concrete form, our philology did not come out of nowhere. Our philology maintains certain indispensable links to the tradition of individual elements in this edifice of ideas, which I have outlined above for approximately the last fifty years. A very basic idea is the notion that language can also be understood as an artifact and that artifacts themselves are eloquent. Things thing, as Heidegger says, including technical things. Depending on their degree of complexity, technical devices of communication can speak volumes. That was one of the basic ideas that was always floating around in the Berlin Institute for Language in the Technological Age. A Steenbeck was not just a film editing suite for 16mm and 35mm film, but also an aggregate for complex narratives. In the course of discovering Structuralism, the idea that technical things can be “read” arose; not as an ideology but as a source of ideas for a basic method of working. The intense in­ terplay between the act of taking apart and putting back together again is not merely a possibility to make linguis­ tic systems transparent and transformable. If we master this technique it can help us to understand “the game of generating new knowledge” upon which “experimental systems” [the systems in which experiments are con­ ducted]174 are based, which in a variety of disciplines are referred to as research. Naturally, the arts that take up the challenge of experimenting are included here. 

For then we find ourselves in the midst of a cultura experimentalis, whose components are technological media.

In the course of discovering Structuralism, the idea that technical things can be “read” arose; not as an ideology but as a source of ideas for a basic method of working. The intense in­ terplay between the act of taking apart and putting back together again is not merely a possibility to make linguis­ tic systems transparent and transformable. If we master this technique it can help us to understand “the game of generating new knowledge” upon which “experimental systems” [the systems in which experiments are con­ ducted] are based, which in a variety of disciplines are referred to as research. Naturally, the arts that take up the challenge of experimenting are included here.

I advocate a philology as exact as possible of nonperfect precise things, which will be devised and developed to support communications with others, to facilitate them, to make them a sensational, even perhaps scandalous happening. This philology is not interested in the systemic function of things.

Heiner Goebbels used them as the springboard for his production Stifters Dinge (Stifter’s things) of 2007.

Coro Spezzato: The Future Lasts One Day (2009) the Sicilian artist Rosa Barba 

Yunchul Kim — Epiphoria

Yunchul Kim — OK

Borelli — astrolabe — mathematical, technical, philosophical aspects… 

It is above all Rheinberger’s achieve­ ment that an expanded conception of what science un­ derstands by an experiment has been developed at this institute. The research projects that the biologist and translator of Derrida’s Grammatology into German has initiated and implemented revolve around an idea that makes all the difference. Here the experiment is like a “search engine” that facilitates what could be described as a fortuitous finding. Starting from the premise that at the beginning of a project “one doesn’t know exactly what one doesn’t know” (otherwise one wouldn’t need to do the research anyway), Rheinberger sets up the lab­ oratory as an open and adventurous space of possibilities where provision is made “for producing unpredictable events.” By following a specific plan, differences or vari­ able aspects, are produced.

The idea of a space of possibilities where both the inputs and out­ comes are not unequivocally defined is as far as possible from a policy of cybernetic short-circuiting that distin­ guishes the cultural technique of testing. 

A history of science and technology that is open, via the culture of experiment, for issues of communication and aesthetics, is one of the possibilities in the immedi­ ate future to advance theories of the media. Perhaps the proponents of such implicit media theories will not be accredited historians of science, but is that important? For whom would it be important? 

David Link — Scrambling T-R-U-T-H

Today media technol­ ogy pervades nearly all scientific processes on a massive scale, particularly experiments, as well as other prerequi­ sites for producing, evaluating, and disseminating scien­ tific findings. To know one’s way around at the interface with media conditionality is no more scandalous today than it was to engage seriously, as a philologist-to-be, with Spaghetti Westerns, comics, or audiovisual maga­zines in the 1960s and 1970s.

Such an envisaged expansion can also have effects in the opposite direction. Media theory that is not only open to the history of science and technology but also deploys its philological expertise within these fields will likely be in a better position to understand communi­ cative processes and much more. For centuries, science and technology have played a pivotal role in these pro­ cesses. Media theory can also provide communicative processes with thought-provoking input and particular­ ities that are valuable additions in an age of undecid­ ed identities, of horizontal vagueness, of over-colorful and blatant spectacles. With regard to technical things of communication they could also be understood from the perspective that the best way to critique a book that has been written is always to write a better one. 

Jake & Dinos Chapman — If Hitler Had Been a Hippy How Happy Would We Be 

The Media Have Become Superfluous*

Detlef B. Linke, professor of clinical neuro- physiology and neurosurgery rehabilitation, whose life was, with tragic irony, cut short in 2005 by a brain tumor, said that criticism is no longer effec- tive because people are far too occupied with surviving the crisis. However, I am quite willing to accept its relative ineffectiveness, by which I also acknowledge my powerlessness. The position from which I believe it is still or is again possible to formulate criticism is located on the periphery, not in the center. This position can be found every- where new ideas have been developed, before they are celebrated as fashions and trends in the metropolises and centers, before they are matured as products and marketed as commodities or services. Let’s take a chance and try to reactivate a profoundly dislocated point of view again.

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