03 12/16

J. G. Ballard: on the blueprint of modern world 

Tags: , | Categories: science fiction

The blueprint of our technical world was laid out in the 1950s.

04 11/16

The technical illusion of colour: from the trichromatic theory to the encoding of electromagnetic signals

Tags: , , | Categories: colour, technical media

Next, 18th November I’ll be presenting a short paper in the conference On the Epistemic Dimension of Colors in the Sciences at the Interdisziplinäres Labor Bild Wissen Gestaltung in Berlin, Germany.
The technical illusion of colour: from the trichromatic theory to the encoding of electromagnetic signals
Encoding schemes for producing, storing, and transmitting colour information in electronic media are based on a three-colour canon that originated in the 19th-century physiological studies of vision. During the 20th century this canon was first standardised and then implemented in several technical media. Since then it has become ubiquitous for understanding and producing the illusion of colour. This paper proposes a historical account of how the additive three-colour canon was set in the laboratory and how it was transferred over to electronic technical media.
The first part will focus on the scientific origins of this canon. Building on Thomas Young’s trichromatic theory, during the 1850s, Hermann Helmholtz empirically demonstrated that the three types of sensory receptors responsible for colour vision are primarily sensitive to one range of wavelengths, with one sensitive to reds, one to greens, and one to violets. His work set the blueprint for the principle of colour mixing in technical visual media, in which the weighted combination of three different colour signals suffices to form a full colour space for the human visual system.
The second part will focus on three implementations of this principle that have dominated electronic visual media ever since. These are: (i) the characterisation of an standard observer in the Colorimetric Resolution I by the Commission Internationale de l’Eclairage (CIE) in 1931, (ii) the implementation in the NTSC analogue television of the colour system patented in 1939 by the French engineer George Valensi, and (iii) the ITU BT.601 recommendation for encoding digital video as a three-colour component signal from 1981.
Conference Color in the Sciences

08 09/16

Media Archaeology of the Digital Moving Image: Motion Prediction or the Demise of the Frame

Next week 15 September in Chicago,  I’ll be presenting a short paper at the​ Inaugural Communication & Media Studies Conference.
Media Archaeology of the Digital Moving Image: Motion Prediction or the Demise of the Frame
At the coding level, in a video codec such as H.264/AVC the otherwise basic unit of all moving images from film to video, the frame, is only an address where chunks of pixels coming from different moments in time are put together. This paper historically explores two mathematical theories from the 1940s that paved the way for the digital video compression formats during the 1990s. The first is the prediction theory by Norbert Wiener to improve anti-aircraft artillery during WWII. And the second are the crypto-analytic techniques formulated by Claude E. Shannon for the transmission of messages over noisy channels. Both theories resulted in algorithms to statistically predict missile paths and encrypt military communications. Today, they are the backbone of the video compression formats installed in discs, TV receivers, online streaming and video conferencing services, camcorders, and mobile phones. This media archaeology on the digital moving image argues that the consequence of turning each displayed picture into a rigid arrangement of pixels and its construction into the statistical prediction of the pixel’s values is dramatic. This historical analysis shows that prediction has generated an entirely new type of moving images in which the temporal coincidence of all pixels within the frame is unnecessary.
Inaugural Communication & Media Studies Conference.
University Center Chicago, Chicago, USA
15-16 September 2016
Here is the entire program:


28 07/16

The Iliad and the trichromatic theory 

Tags: , , | Categories: art, colour, technical media

​ Three glittering dragons to the gorget rise,
Whose imitated scales against the skies
Reflected various light, and arching bow’d,
Like colour’d rainbows o’er a showery cloud
(Jove’s wondrous bow, of three celestial dyes,
Placed as a sign to man amidst the skies). 

  • Homer. The Iliad of Homer. Trans Alexander Pope. XI:198. The Project Gutenberg: Sep 2006

03 05/16

Comparisons: eight

Tags: | Categories: art, diseño, technical media
Command Occurrence
Obedience Resistance
Magical Monstrous

Befehl und Einfall. Kreativ Dialog 4 Konferenz an der BWG interdisciplinary laboratory von der HU-Berlin. 28-30 April 2016.

Compare: Comparisons

03 03/16

Comparisons: seven

Hierarchical classification, ordering, ranking Porous, flat branching
Static Adaptive, shifting, flexible
Closed Ill-defined
Screens, surfaces, black boxing Hands-on, cracking, hacking, disassembling
Presentist, futurist Archaeological, temporal shifting
Humanism, rationalism Situatedness, partially, post-humanism/posthumanities
Singular, individualistic Collaborative
Narrative Fragments, non-linearity
Goal oriented, utilitarian Embodied, infrastructural thinking, craftwork

Emerson, Lori. University of Colorado at Boulder
Situating the Media Archaeology Lab: Research, Art
and the Public. Media Art History RE-CREATE 07 Nov 2015.

Source: https://youtu.be/Yhju8INkxds?t=3m33s

Compare: Comparisons

16 07/15

Postmedia 3: from tactical to postmedia

Tags: | Categories: technical media

Third and final part.

  1. From tactical media to post-media by Clemens Apprich

The practices of tactical media has not disappeared but merge into the everyday media. Apart from the physical layer of media the focus are the mental and the ecological. The idea is not hacking the media but building your own media.

Past the Present: Post-media as meta political and theoretical marker

Other contributions: Oliver Lerone Schultz

There is a crisis of theory in which reflection need to become mode of practice. Post mass-media to mass self-mediation. The fundamental tension defines the post-media age is that one pole of the digital media used by minorities. The other pole is subsumption. Machine subjugation understood as a generalisation to the regimes of discipline and control (Foucault and Deleuze). In subsumption everything is co-opted and appropriated.

Conclusion of the workshop

Destabilization of media, film history that consolidated around mid 1890, the same happened with gramophone, typewriter, video, radio and today’s algorithmic moment. There was a time when all channels were clearly separated today the entire context has collapsed. The post-media term should not be followed entirely from the theoretical philological stream.

Do-it-yourself and amateur practices have shaken the technological media landscape. R. Cedeño Montaña

If media are the technical supports of representation and memory, communication and consciousness, post media holds the hope that there are alternative ways to imagine and make them, and the subjectiveties they engender. A. Broeckmann

14 07/15

postmedia 2: the condition

Tags: | Categories: technical media

Second part.

  1. The postmedia Condition in the wake of Japan’s 3.11 Disaster by Takeshi Kadobayashi. Kansai University

Medium is understood as condition, not as technical support. There is a reinvention of old medium, a self-differenciality within a medium.

Today film is a postmedium because it does not rely on its material condition under the digital context. Film has always been in the postmedia condition. Since its media specificity on the support but on a set of technical support and the conventions of structure of film.

What if the McLuhan term media is already obsolete under digital conditions? then the postmedia condition will never be achieved.

Three symptoms:

  • Jean Baudrillard. Media are not producers of socializations but of the opposite, of the implosion: Simulacra
  • Paul Virilio. Mediation is about speed. Dromomobile.
  • Friedrich Kittler. The digital erases the differences between individual media. Standardized, translations between media. The total algorithmic connection overrides the medium.

Under around the clock tv coverage, the amateur materials get into the mass media transmission. In postmedia there is fear to invisible threats.

Concluding remarks:
Petra Löffler

Lines of inquiry
What is a medium? Ontology
When, how, is a medium? History.

Postmedia means the dead of all media and the survival of the algorithmic media.

Has these conversations focused on the term? on philology? on the genealogy of the term? How can be the aesthetic condition today described?
Postmedia- amateur? Distributed aesthetics and the distribution of aesthetics.? Film and Cinema are different things. The linguistic turn is not enough to produce a genealogy but rather a cluster of situations.

The crisis in which people engage with mass media? stems from the production memory the creation of present.

13 07/15

Postmedia 1: Historical moments

Tags: | Categories: art, technical media

More than a year ago I participated in a workshop under the title: Postmedia Discourse and Intervention, organised by Christina Vagt at the TU-Berlin on 20 June 2014.

The central question of the workshop revolved around the term postmedia, a term that manifests fears and expectations that with electronic media something is happening but that is clouded. Electronic media do weird things to history and historiography. The history of television is one example, the medium is not dead but more alive than ever and connects several elements.

The following are my hurried notes of that session that for unknown reasons to me only emerged one year after the actual meeting. I briefly edited them and made some spelling corrections.

First approach to the topic: What is postmedia?


  1. The historical Moments of PostMedia by Andreas Broeckmann

“der notwendige gebrauch und widerstand der Sprache in einem durch die Technik beeinflusseten Jahrhundert ist zu untersuchen.” Walter Höllerer, Sprache im technische Zeitalter Nr. 1, 1961.

3 conceptions of postmedia:

  • Post-mass media. Felix Guattari
  • Post-medium condition. Rosalind Krauss
  • Digital as postmedia. Lev Manovich and Peter Weibel


Rosalind Krauss. Post-medium condition goes beyond medium specifity.

For Greenberg, the nature of the medium is brute positivism. It is tied to the physical substance. Installation is postmedia because it introduces ordinary material. It ask what makes this art, rather than the medium. Nicolas Bourriaud considers the postmedia as altermodern that liberates art from the course of modern art. However, Bourriaud refers to the medium specificity.


Peter Weibel. Digital as postmedia

The traditional media of the art only became recognised as media with the technological media. The artistic medium of Greenberg was influenced by McLuhan electronic medium. The history of the perspective undermines the Weibel argument. Postmedia aesthetics: the application of digital media concepts to art history as in Lev Manovich. All art is postmedia art because the computer simulates everything, even creativity is turned into algorithms and rules into the output of a universal machine.


Felix Guattari. post-mass-media means access to production and transmission on an individual scale.

The subjectivation of the media, heterogeneous production, media ecology, in which each subject takes part. Postmedia opposes to small, fragmented, distributed networks of operators. In Guattari postmedia there are passionate individual, amateurs, no professionals.


Postmedia should be taken historical. Are we ready to discuss the google, facebook, as Post mass media? There is no specificity or homogeneity in post-media aesthetics. Some aesthetics are not defined by the digital.

Topics to discuss:

Subjectivity and the technical or rather on the question on how media construct subjects whether as listeners or producers. This looks similar to a post-structuralist approach. The subject is multiple, layered, and historical. There are collective assemblages signified by connections and there are self-conscious artisans, radical and distributed subjects, simultaneously singular and without local rooting. Everyone can participate in the art production this might emancipate the observer, visitor.

What are the media and their technical, affordances that Guattari and Weibel refer to? The digital is not a media. How digital media are specific? Should the media specificity replaced by rootlessness, travelling and translation.


30 06/15

Comparisons: six

Organic Machinic
Growth Fabrication
Hierarchy Forming
Adaptation Selection
Healing Replacement

Schäffner, Wolfgang. Active Matter: 3D code, weaving, folding, and building. Conference at UdK Berlin, Berlin. 26 June 2015 See: Comparisons