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

26 06/15

22 06/15

12 06/15

idiots, hand workers, philosophers

Tags: , , , , | Categories: digital media, machine

According to Vilém Flusser, Plato establishes three possible relations between us and the world of the Ideas. First, we cannot remember the Ideas and therefore staying in the world of appearances. He calls those in this sort of relation: the idiots. In case the we do remember the Idea, there are two options. First, we could press the ideas out of the appearances and become hand workers or artists, politicians in Plato terms. Or second, we could turn and look directly at the ideas in which case we become theoreticians, philosophers in Plato. Plato mistrusted the artists of the politicians because in their handling of the appearance, the emerging idea is any the original pure Idea. It is a distortion. Their handling prevents access to the Idea as such by presenting a simulation. That way it is explained the hatred some monotheistic religions have to images.


Platonisch Pyramide nach Flusser.

Platonisch Pyramide nach Flusser.


In a cybernetic fashion, Flusser presents us a contemporary example of image creation. Someone thinks a space and atemporal ideas, he then codes them into a computer and this in turn produces an image that corresponds to the pure idea he had thought. This is a pure image of the pure idea because it is based on various technical codes such as a Cartesian coordinate system and symbolic operations with numbers. The image then turns into drawings and plans for an aeroplane that a series of automatic robots build.
Plato would take the person thinking the image and sitting in front of a computer as a true philosopher because these images are pure theory. They are processes of thought not or representation. The computer and the robot merely substitute for the hand workers. And those who pay and trust their lives to what the robots have built are the idiots.
If the person’s interest lies exclusively on the theoretical beauty and the process of thought of the image, he or she might be then a philosopher or a pure artists. Someone who has access the second degree of imagination brought by the technical images. This pure artist does not seek to imagine a particular aeroplane or any contrete entity. Her or his focus is exclusively on the abstract idea. There is no imitation nor simulacrum. Others, the politicians or in a more contemporary accent, the robots, would take this image-idea and imitate it and use it as a model. This pure artist experiences the pure idea, while the robots only try to press an appearance out the idea, whether it is an aeroplane or anything else.

  • Flusser, Vilém. Ein neuer Platonismus?. In kulturRevolution: modelle von gehirn und seele. Nr.19. November 1998. Klartext Verlag, Deutschland.

09 06/15

Comparisons: five

Algorithm Possibility
Symbolic Processing Hardware
Logic Biology
Deductive Associative
Serial Parallel
Ruled Statistical

Bolz, Norbert, Friedrich Kittler, and Christoph Tholen. Computer Als Medium. München, DE: W. Fink, 1992. [p.14] See: Comparisons

23 03/15

Comparisons: four

David Orrell series of opposites based on the Pythagorean dual philosophical system that again can be related to McLuhan’s dual Hot and Cold media. See: comparisons: three, two, and one.

Good Evil
Limited Unlimited
Odd Even
One Plural
Right Left
Male Female
At rest In motion
Straight Crooked
Light Dark
Square Oblong

20 03/15

D. Orrell: Money is the message

Tags: , , , , | Categories: technical media

David Orrell gave the McLuhan lecture 2015 at the Transmediale in Berlin under the title, Money is the Message. He started his talk with the argument that although money has been the main driver behind western culture, it rarely appears a word among economist, who according to Orrell do not acknowledge the complex nature of money.

Historically money emerged as of the credit system as means to track debts by the ancient Sumerian civilization in Mesopotamia. Orrell argued that it is false that money appeared as a general medium of exchange. This is rather a media function of money as it is to be a storage for wealth. Money is transmitted as objects with a physical aspect, coins, bills, notes, transfers, which have stamped a virtual number. e.g., the Colombian  20000 pesos bill has 6 times in two different forms the number it represents.


This Colombian bill uses 6 stamps to identify its value.

This Colombian bill uses 6 stamps to identify its value.


Matter and number make money a medium in constant tension with one foot on the physical world and one on the virtual world. A duality that is not that far from McLuhan’s message – medium binary system, and coincides with the series of comparisons that I’ve collected here. Money oscillated between its two poles, physical and virtual. Orrell traced this oscillations in history in five moments.

Agrarian age Virtual credit
7th BC Coins
Medieval age Virtual credit
1492 Gold standard
1971 Nixon shock FIAT virtual currency

Where is then money? is it on gold blocks, houses, bills? is it on credits and numbers on a screen? Money is unstable, irrational and always points to the number to the quantification of the physical world and the relations we establish with it and among us.

29 01/15

Peter Sunde at Transmediale 2015

Peter Sunde words at the opening ceremony of transmediale 2015. 28 Jan 2015 HKW Berlin, Germany.

The centralised model has destroyed the internet. We’ve lost and corporations have captured us all. We even carry the sensors, mics and cameras to monitor us. Don’t play the game: give up.

Update: Sunde’s base text published on Wired UK.