Media Theory for the 21st Century

January 22, 2008

Ceci n’est pas un post

Filed under: Discussion — hbench @ 8:32 pm

This isn’t an official post, which would take more thought and time, but just some thoughts I had while reading.  

I am always astounded at how thoroughly I enjoy reading Kittler’s books, and how much I dislike his essays. Perhaps my scholarly indigestion could be traced back to any number of causes–my indifference to Turing, binary numbers, and the potential significance of √-1, for example, or the metallic taste that numbers, equations, and thought experiments leave in my mouth. But I think my problem with Kittler’s essays arises from his incessant use of obfuscating language. Kittler has become an oracle. I accept my own stupidity, in front of which both theorists and computers stutter, but wonder what I can glean from his god-like pronouncements.

On another note, I am perturbed by Kittler’s insistence upon the hardware. If, as Wellbery suggests, Kittler presupposes exteriority, mediality and corporeality in Discourse Networks (xiii-xv), then in “There is No Software” and “Protected Mode,” Kittler penetrates further–not into the soul, but the nervous tissue–the mechanical, electrical inner-workings. Mediation (cultural), gives way to medium (mechanical/physiological). It is as though Kittler wants to engage in a physical anthropology of computing. 

It may be true that everything remains hidden from the user, who is only given graphical representations of information to navigate. But I find hardware interesting only in relation to the surface effects it enables and/or produces, and what is produced by those effects in turn.



  1. Contributing to the irreality of your “pas un post,” was that, for me, you wrote it, according to worpress, approximately 45 minutes after I read it. Either way I enjoyed and appreciated your, whatever you want to call it.

    Comment by nickroth — January 23, 2008 @ 3:45 am | Reply

  2. I’ve decided that if I read Kittler’s essays like I watch DumbType then it becomes much easier. All the deviant text as transcribed visual objects…

    Comment by hbench — January 23, 2008 @ 4:39 pm | Reply

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