With books such as Discourse Networks and Gramophone, Film, Typewriter and the collection Literature, Media, Information Systems, Friedrich Kittler has established himself as one of the world's most influential media theorists. He is also one of the most controversial and misunderstood. Kittler and the Media offers students of media theory an introduction to Kittler's basic ideas. Following an introduction that situates Kittler's work against the tumultuous background of German 20th-century history (from the Second World War and the cultural upheaval of the late 1960s to reunification), the book provides succinct summaries of Kittler's early discourse-analytical work inspired by French post-structuralism, his media-related theorising and his most recent writings on cultural techniques and the notation systems of Ancient Greece. This clear and engaging overview of a fascinating theorist will be welcomed by students and scholars alike of media, communication and cultural studies.
Friedrich Kittler's lecture series provides a concise history of optical media from Renaissance linear perspective to late twentieth-century computer graphics. He begins by looking at European painting since the Renaissance in order to discern the principles according to which modern optical perception was organised. Kittler also discusses the development of various mechanical devices, like the camera obscura and the laterna magica, which were closely connected to the printing press and which played a pivotal role in the media war between the Reformation and the Counterreformation. After examining this history, Kittler then addresses the ways in which images were first stored and made to move through the development of photography and film. Kittler discusses the competitive relationship between photography and painting as well as between film and theater, as innovations like the Baroque proscenium or "picture-frame" stage evolved from elements that would later constitute cinema. The central question, however, is the impact of film on the ancient monopoly of writing, as it not only provoked new forms of competition for novelists but also fundamentally altered the status of books. In the final section, Kittler examines the development of electrical telecommunications and electronic image processing from television to computer simulations. In short, these lectures provide a comprehensive introduction to the history of image production, which is indispensable for anyone wishing to understand the prevailing audiovisual conditions of contemporary culture.
In recent decades, media theory has become one of the most influential trends in contemporary thinking, namely within cultural studies, the arts and humanities. Spreading mostly from the German scholarly scene, under the influence of post-structuralism, media theory has developed as a fundamental theoretical framework, for many fields of theoretical and applied research, through authors such as the late Friedrich Kittler, 1943–2011. Commenting on several aspects of Kittler’s work, and on its impact in different fields of art and culture, this essay collection examines recent developments in media theory brought about by concepts such as “cultural techniques” and “operative ontologies” and by key authors, contributing to this volume, such as Bernhard Siegert, Sybille Krämer and Peter Weibel.
Author: Friedrich A. Edited and introduced by Johnston Kittler
Category: Social Science
John Johnston's background combines expertise in modern literature, poststructuralist philosophy, and high technology's production. Like Kittler, he draws on historic fact, anecdote, and literature. From this vantage point he explicates the theoretical and practical consequences of Friedrich Kittler's insights into the social and psychological effects of the processes by which metaphor in one medium is made real by another.
Friedrich Kittler was one of the world’s most influential,provocative and misunderstood media theorists. His work spansanalyses of historical ‘discourse networks’ inspired byFrench poststructuralism, influential theorizations of new media,through to musings on music and mathematics. Always controversialand relentlessly unpredictable, Kittler’s work is a majorreference point for contemporary media theory, literary criticismand cultural studies. This is the only book of essays currently available in Englishon an important thinker whose influence across disciplines isgrowing. The volume situates Kittler’s ideas, explaining andcritiquing his sometimes difficult writing, and using his theoriesto undertake innovative readings of old and new media. It alsoincludes previously untranslated work by Kittler himself.Contributors include Caroline Bassett, Steven Connor, Alexander R.Galloway, Mark B. Hansen, John Durham Peters and GeoffreyWinthrop-Young.
Operation Valhalla collects eighteen texts by German media theorist Friedrich Kittler on the close connections between war and media technology. In these essays, public lectures, interviews, literary analyses, and autobiographical musings, Kittler outlines how war has been a central driver of media's evolution, from Prussia's wars against Napoleon to the so-called War on Terror. Covering an eclectic array of topics, he charts the intertwined military and theatrical histories of the searchlight and the stage lamp, traces the microprocessor's genealogy back to the tank, shows how rapid-fire guns brought about new standards for optics and acoustics, and reads Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow to upset established claims about the relationship between war, technology, and history in the twentieth century. Throughout, Operation Valhalla foregrounds the outsize role of war in media history as well as Kittler's importance as a daring and original thinker.
This cutting-edge text offers an introduction to the emerging field of media archaeology and analyses the innovative theoretical and artistic methodology used to excavate current media through its past. Written with a steampunk attitude, What is Media Archaeology? examines the theoretical challenges of studying digital culture and memory and opens up the sedimented layers of contemporary media culture. The author contextualizes media archaeology in relation to other key media studies debates including software studies, German media theory, imaginary media research, new materialism and digital humanities. What is Media Archaeology? advances an innovative theoretical position while also presenting an engaging and accessible overview for students of media, film and cultural studies. It will be essential reading for anyone interested in the interdisciplinary ties between art, technology and media.
Friedrich Kittler (1943–2011) combined the study of literature, cinema, technology, and philosophy in a manner sufficiently novel to be recognized as a new field of academic endeavor in his native Germany. "Media studies," as Kittler conceived it, meant reflecting on how books operate as films, poetry as computer science, and music as military equipment. This volume collects writings from all stages of the author's prolific career. Exemplary essays illustrate how matters of form and inscription make heterogeneous source material (e.g., literary classics and computer design) interchangeable on the level of function—with far-reaching consequences for our understanding of the humanities and the "hard sciences." Rich in counterintuitive propositions, sly humor, and vast erudition, Kittler's work both challenges the assumptions of positivistic cultural history and exposes the over-abstraction and language games of philosophers such as Heidegger and Derrida. The twenty-three pieces gathered here document the intellectual itinerary of one of the most original thinkers in recent times—sometimes baffling, often controversial, and always stimulating.
Media – old or new, in the cloud or underground – constitutes the very condition in which our world takes shape. Media is reshaped continuously, marked for both the profound effects it produces and the acceleration it exhibits. It is the site in which we signal some of the most pressing issues we face in our ever-widening technologized world. Written by authors working at the forefront of media theory today, this book charts an original and compelling path across various media forms, bringing to light the wonderful yet persistently unsettling role that media plays, and will continue to play, in the making of our future. It not only establishes media as a serious and interdisciplinary concept, but also demonstrates how this concept can be developed beyond the current limited form and content dichotomy. This book was originally published as a special issue of Cultural Studies.
Introducing a largely neglected area of existing interactions between Greco-Roman antiquity and media theory, this volume addresses the question of why interactions in this area matter and how they might be developed further. It aims not only to promote awareness of the presence of theclassics in media theory but also to encourage more media attentiveness among scholars of Greece and Rome. By bringing together an international team of scholars with interdisciplinary expertise in areas ranging from classical literature and classical reception studies to art history, media theoryand media history, film studies, philosophy, and cultural studies, the volume as a whole engages with numerous aspects of "classical" Greece and Rome revolving around issues of philosophy, cultural history, literature, aesthetics, and epistemology.Each chapter provides its own definition of what constitutes mediality and how it operates, constructs different genealogies of the concept of the medium, and engages with emergent fields within media studies that range from cultural techniques to media archaeology, diagrammatology, andintermediality. By seeking to foreground the persistency of Greco-Roman paradigms across the different strands of media theory the volume persuasively calls for a closer consideration of the conceptual underpinnings of the cultural practices around the transformation of ancient Greece and Rome into"classics."
Friedrich Kittler was one of the world’s most influential, provocative and misunderstood media theorists. His work spans analyses of historical ‘discourse networks’ inspired by French poststructuralism, influential theorizations of new media, through to musings on music and mathematics. Always controversial and relentlessly unpredictable, Kittler’s work is a major reference point for contemporary media theory, literary criticism and cultural studies. This is the only book of essays currently available in English on an important thinker whose influence across disciplines is growing. The volume situates Kittler’s ideas, explaining and critiquing his sometimes difficult writing, and using his theories to undertake innovative readings of old and new media. It also includes previously untranslated work by Kittler himself. Contributors include Caroline Bassett, Steven Connor, Alexander R. Galloway, Mark B. Hansen, John Durham Peters and Geoffrey Winthrop-Young.
Digital media are rapidly changing the world in which we live. Global communications, mobile interfaces and Internet cultures are re-configuring our everyday lives and experiences. To understand these changes, a new theoretical imagination is needed, one that is informed by a conceptual vocabulary that is able to cope with the daunting complexity of the world today. This book draws on writings by leading social and cultural theorists to assemble this vocabulary. It addresses six key concepts that are pivotal for understanding the impact of new media on contemporary society and culture: information, network, interface, interactivity, archive and simulation. Each concept is considered through a range of concrete examples to illustrate how they might be developed and used as research tools. An inter-disciplinary approach is taken that spans a number of fields, including sociology, cultural studies, media studies and computer science.
The new media landscape touches every aspect of our social, political and cultural lives. It is more important than ever, therefore, that we are able to understand and explain the complexity of our digital world. Understanding New Media gives students the tools and the knowledge they need to make sense of the relationship between technologies, media and society. This best-selling student introduction: Makes complex ideas accessible, clearly explaining the key thinkers, theories and research students need to understand Brings theory to life with a range of new case studies, from selfies or trolling, to the app economy and algorithms in social media Gets students started on projects and essays with guided research activities, showing them how to successfully put learning into practice Provides guided further reading, helping students to navigate the literature and extend their studies beyond the chapter Understanding New Media remains the perfect guide to the past, present and future of the new media world. It is a vital resource for students across media and communication studies and sociology, and anyone exploring new media, social media or digital media.
Sustainable Media explores the many ways that media and environment are intertwined from the exploitation of natural and human resources during media production to the installation and disposal of media in the landscape; from people’s engagement with environmental issues in film, television, and digital media to the mediating properties of ecologies themselves. Edited by Nicole Starosielski and Janet Walker, the assembled chapters expose how the social and representational practices of media culture are necessarily caught up with technologies, infrastructures, and environments.Through in-depth analyses of media theories, practices, and objects including cell phone towers, ecologically-themed video games, Geiger counters for registering radiation, and sound waves traveling through the ocean, contributors question the sustainability of the media we build, exchange, and inhabit and chart emerging alternatives for media ecologies.
"This major new book provides a concise history of optical media from Renaissance linear perspective to late twentieth-century computer graphics. Kittler begins by looking at European painting since the Renaissance in order to discern the principles according to which modern optical perception was organized. He also discusses the development of various mechanical devices, such as the camera obscura and the laterna magica, which were closely connected to the printing press and which played a pivotal role in the media war between the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation." "After examining this history, Kittler then addresses the ways in which images were first stored and made to move, through the development of photography and film. He discusses the competitive relationship between photography and painting as well as between film and theater, as innovations like the Baroque proscenium or "picture-frame" stage evolved from elements that would later constitute cinema. The central question, however, is the impact of film on the ancient monopoly of writing, as it not only provoked new forms of competition for novelists but also fundamentally altered the status of books. In the final section, Kittler examines the development of electrical telecommunications and electronic image processing from television to computer simulations." "In short, this book provides a comprehensive introduction to the history of image production that is indispensable for anyone wishing to understand the prevailing audiovisual conditions of contemporary culture."--Jacket.
Materialist Approaches to Media, Mobility and Networks
Author: Jeremy Packer
Category: Social Science
Communication has often been understood as a realm of immaterial, insubstantial phenomena—images, messages, thoughts, languages, cultures, and ideologies—mediating our embodied experience of the concrete world. Communication Matters challenges this view, assembling leading scholars in the fields of Communication, Rhetoric, and English to focus on the materiality of communication. Building on the work of materialist theorists such as Gilles Deleuze, Michel Foucault, Friedrich Kittler, and Henri Lefebvre, the essays collected here examine the materiality of discourse itself and the constitutive force of communication in the production of the real. Communication Matters presents original work that rethinks communication as material and situates materialist approaches to communication within the broader "materiality turn" emerging in the humanities and social sciences. This collection will be of interest to researchers and postgraduate students in Media, Communication Studies, and Rhetoric. The book includes images of the digital media installations of Francesca Talenti, Professor, Department of Communication Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.