Zielinski 2013

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Zielinski, Siegfried. [... After he Media]: News from the Slow-Fading Twentieth Century. Trans. Gloria Custance. Minneapolis: Univocal, 2013.

"What would a praxis of research, artistic experimentation, and refleciton on and with technological apparatuses and devices be like that amounts to more than just providing services for the media?" (1)

"Is it possible for grammatically organized systems of ordering and anarchic complexes of the imagination to work together? Or are they irresolvable antagonisms? Should they perhaps be conceived of as a non-trivial relation within interactions, including with the sciences?" (2)

"we would have to excavate deeper than the 19c if we wanted to reach the sources and complex developments of modern media" (4)

neologism variantology -- "we seek to develop in new ways what really interests us about media -- as rich variants of relations between arts, technologies, and sciences" (4)

The Media Have Become Superfluous

1st 10 years of 21c "largely confronted uas the consequential fulfillment of processes that can be regarded as characteristic of 20c": techno-scientism, standardization, expansion of electronic control of technological conditions

yet the beginning of 2nd decade "was marked by an enormous discharge of the extreme tensions between nature and technology, which had been systematically cultivated in the 20c" (9)

"The Internet, in its ambivalence as a techno-political tool for integrating the heterogeneous democracies and marketplaces and as adventure playground for delirious communications of extremely diverse kinds, is very hard to control and has established itself as the youngest mastermedium in history." (11)

disappearance of nation-state power, internet as state

"We do not live in an INternet society, nor has the communicative action, which Jurgen Habermas once outlined as his utopia of an imaginary regency of enlightened actos, secretly taken over power. The advanced level, the basic opennness, and the existing wealth in the communication situation stand in diametrical opposition to the conditions of everyday life for the majority, in which there is a huge lack of basic necessities and any surplus that makes life worth living, and in which the murderous terrorizing of others is a daily ritual. In this sense, too, the communicative Nirvana of some is entirely detached from the real hell of many." (12-13)

media as "a heterogeneous, interdiscursive field.": "As a multifarious phenomenon, media process a variety of concrete, resistant artifacts, programs, and issues located between the arts, sciences, and technologies. These three meta-discourses form tension-fraught relationships with each other as well as with other discourses such as economics, law, and politics. These relationships are embedded in overarching dispositifs, to which so far mainly truth, knowledge, and sexuality belong." (14) -- may even "be necessary to expand the above set of dispositifs; namely, by adding the concept of unconditional connectivity as a result of the idolization of technologically mediated dialogue." (14)

deep-time view: "understanding the past not as a collection of retrievable facts but as a collection of possibilities" (14)

over last 1200 years, "interesting and also quite regular fluctuations int he temperature of the relations between arts, sciences, and technologies can be observed" (15) -- see Serres 1995; Zielinski glosses this history in the next few pages

now, no lack of media; they've become superfluous, turned into property; "An update of the promise that the media could create a different, even better world seems laughable from the perspective of our experience with the technologically based democracies of markets." (18) -- "Now that it is possible to create a state with media, media are no longer any good for a revolution." (19) -- they've taken on a "systemic character," enabling not dismantling hierarchies

"Something that operates as an intricate, dynamic, and edgy complex between the disourses -- that is, something which can only operate interdiscursively -- has acquired a firm and fixed place in the academic landscape." (19)

"The position from which I believe it is still or is again possible to formulate criticism is located on the periphery, not in th center. This position can be found everywhere new ideas have been developed. before they are celebrated as fashions and trends in the metropolises and centers, before they have matured as products and are marketed as commodities or services. Let's taken a chance and try to reactivate a profoundly dislocated point of view again." (21)

Critique of the Strategic Generalization the Media, Their Provenance and Aims: An Unabashed tour d'horizon

"The media refers to a specific historically and systematically deducible discourse, which has incorporated concrete entities. This discourse encompasses in principle the technical materials of communication, and at the same time instructions for their use. When we speak of "media," we are only citing an umbrella term for heterogeneous phenomena of a primarily technical nature." (23)

this chapter is a history of media thinking, organized roughly chronologically and from a European perspective; knits together usual suspects with combinatorial poetry ("Permutation, combinatorics, poetry from a machine; cutting up, taking apart, and putting together again, disregarding conventional rules of writing and purposeful breaches of the boundaries of genres: these were the gestures used to creatively attack the bourgeois tradition of the post-war manufacturing of culture." 58) and film theory; see anti-word cloud "word clouds" throughout; very helpful summaries of some dense work

in some ways this history is a response to SZ's early work, which too easily fell into "great hero" narrative he seemed to want to oppose. it has a variety of types of figures -- science, art, technology -- and so is a kind of media history done through variantology.

In Praise of What is Not Systemic about the Arts: For a cultura experimentalis

Flusser, 5 phases of civilization: 1. 4d lived experience (3 of space, 1 of time); 2. Experience reduced to 3d, monumental phase; 3. Reduced to 2d image; 4. History begins, 1d of text (age of writing)

Then dramatic turn to post-history; "Flusser ascribes to the zero-dimension, as emptied of abstraction, a possibility to develop positively. In the number, in the mathematical formula, in the algorithmic command, the level has been reached that can no longer expand, a tabula rasa from which a new reality becomes possible, at least provisionally as a draft. Consequently , this new reality, which is in the process of becoming, is a hybrid, comprising experience of life and of machines." (126)

"The concept of the deep time of a variantological relationship between arts, sciences, and technologies requires a specific attitude toward t h e past. The concept is not so much interested to what, allegedly, actually has been. This is dealt with by armies of historiographers and curators of archives. We are much more curious about what else might have been. If I am looking to extract options from the future, then I have to grant the past the right to exist in the subjunctive." (133)

Nam June Paik as theorist of art after the media; treating "the experiment as an invasive culture of intervening in what is intact, harmonious, established" (141); wrote theoretical texts, reproached McLuhan for talking about electornic media in paper/classical form; wants to set up a university network called "mailable television"

"In the situation that has come about there are at least two diametrically opposed options for thinking and acting. We can see to it that in the future the functional circuits are closed even more flawlessly. Or we can try to confront what has become possible and may become possible with its own impossibilities. A project and thinking of this kind I call cultura experimentalis." (162)

"When we engage with the focal point of art, we do not need just any science, but a science that is able to think poetry and poetically. In such a system of coordinates, research could possibly take on the status of a third entity in the true sense of the word: it could be a medium; that is, the processual element that operates between the arts and the sciences." (162-3)

Next frontier: computing the physical

Thinking Media Explicitly and IMplicitly -- and the Intimation of a Perspective: For an Exact Philology of Precise Things

Media-explicit discourse: focused on individual media or collection of media, trying to make a contribution to media theory

Media-implicit discourse: "media phenomena are integrated as subjects of research in wider discourses or epistemes" (173)

Be Offline and Exist Online

"Is this really a form of remembering at all or merely a slight stretching of the present moment into the past? Is this not a kind of pro-spective archaeology or even an advanced form of " de-membering? " 188 Instant archaeology is not concerned with looking back, but looking through what has just transpired while looking forward. Yet to already be the subject of a past event in the instant that something happens is tantamount to abolishing the present. The present becomes merely an extremely short effect for the future; a miniscule, no longer quantifiable amount of time; simply a moment of updating. The extreme shortening of storage times coupled with simultaneous expansion to near-infinite storage capacity have not led to the past being forgotten; rather, the facility of enjoying the present is the victim. There's no time for that anymore. Future and past are joined together directly and effectively." (244)


See 5, 6, 7, 11