C & T


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  • C & T

    4. 4. Introduction: ‘Culture’ and ‘Technology’ One is the fo!y of making predictions based on specific technologies, or on new cultural formations stemming #om technological innovation. Any theoretical engagement with this thing ca!ed technoculture needs to be as dynamic as its object
    5. 5. What is technology? What is technique? What is culture? Culture and technology
    6. 6. what is technology? The ancient Greek ‘tekhne’ In 1920s, the description of technocracy The contemporary meaning of technology is both more abstract and more specific. It involves cultural values, ideologies, ethical concerns; it is also shaped by political and economic determinants. Lorenzo Simpson: Technology is the constellation of knowledge, process, skills and products whose aim is to control and transform. Arnold Pacey: Technology entails ‘ordered systems taht involve people and organizations, living things and machines’.
    7. 7. what is technique? Technique can be defined simply as the use of skill to accomplish something. William Barrett emphasizes the centrality of technique to culture and technology relations. First, techniques are both a question of physical techniques and one of associated techniques of thought. Second, sometimes it seems as though we do invent technologies that can operate themselves. Marcel Mauss: anything to do with working of our bodies involves technique which is effective(it works) and traditional(it can be passed on through culture).
    8. 8. What is culture? Raymond Williams: culture is one of the two or three most complicated words in the English language. Two main senses to culture’s contemporary meaning, one specific and one general: 1. self-contained cultures, such as French culture or youth culture; 2. culture is as opposed to nature. ‘technoculture’ entails not a division between technology and culture, but rather a fusion of the two. Culture is dynamic because ideas and values change quickly over time. Culture is multiple because it contains the activities of different classes, of different races, of different age groups. The elitist 19th century notion of culture: stable, idealistic realm; Now it is messy, confused and riven with contradictions. Cultural significance of the Internet: 1. the explosion of cultural expression on Internet is an indication of the dynamic and unpredictable aspects of culture. 2. the complex knot of issues arising from the Internet’s success exposes the folly of treating culture as a separate stratum within society.
    9. 9. Culture and Technology Brian Eno: culture is everything we do not have to do. Technology plays a crucial role as well in the large-scale and popular forms of culture.
    10. 10. Theoretical Frameworks Are technologies neutral in themselves, that is, does the way in which they are used determine their cultural impact? Do technologies have intrinsic properties that shape the cultures into which they are introduced?
    11. 11. Technological determinism Technologies of media Baudrillard&Technology simulacrum Culture materialism Is technology neutral? Poststructuralist thought Machinic thought Virilio and the technologies of speed
    12. 12. Technological determinism Thorstein Veblen: Technology determinism refers to that technology is the agent of social change. Victorian Period: Process is messured by industrial terms, like speed of movement and volume of production. Technological determinism tends to consider technology as an independent factor, with its own properties, its own course of development, and its own consequences. Alvin Toffler: post-industrial societies need to protect themselves from the more dislocating effects of automation and computer-based technologies. Technological determinism usually refers to the present, projected onto the future. Just as ‘we have no choice but to adopt this technology’.
    13. 13. Cultural effects deriving from technological developments are often with regard to media. Eric Havelock: the technology of writing, using the phonetic alphabet, made possible new modes of thought, first expressed by Plato. Walter J. Ong insists on the significant consequences of writing as a media technology. Elizabeth Esenstein analyses the key role of printing press as an ‘agent of change ’ in the Europe. Jack Goody developed the notion of ‘intellectual technologies’. Pierre Levy has appraised digital networking as the latest intellectual technology to modify the ‘intellectual ecology’ into which it has been installed. A new technology creats a new potential and possibility for human thought, expression or activity.
    14. 14. Technology of media Mcluhan’s basic premise is that all technologies are extensions of human capacities. Mcluhan’s most famous idea - the global village - makes most sense in the age of the World Wide Web. Mcluhan argues that the cultural significance of media lies not in their content, but in the way they alter our perception of the world. Mcluhan is emphatically a technological determinist, defining history by technological change. Mcluhan’s main focus was the electronic mass media.
    15. 15. Walter J. Ong, a like-minded but more cautious scholar than Mcluhan, also finds in the culture shaped by electronic mass media a ‘secondary orality’. Joshua Meyrowitz: the key to a medium’s cultural effect is not found in its content, but in the way it conveys information. The intrinsic properties of TV also favor emotion and spectacle over reason and argument.
    16. 16. Baudrillard and the technologies of simulacra Jean Baudrillard: contemporary culture is increasingly determined by an array of technologically produced ‘simulacra’, which has come to hijack reality itself. Mcluhan’s optimism regarding the effects of electronic media gives way to pessimism in Baudrillard. Mcluhan’s ‘the medium is the message’; Baudrillard ‘the medium is the molde’. Hyperreal: more real than the real
    17. 17. It is important to know that reality was not hidden by this simulation - quite the opposite. The simulations move through the screen and the network in the ‘ecstasy of communication’. We consume signs. Fatal Strategy: at least alerts readers to the influence of these media-generated simulations. Baudrillard is significant as a latter-day technological determinist.
    18. 18. Culture materialism Culture materialism: the theoretical approach which foregrounds the complex interplay of factors associated with cultural change. Raymond Williams: his critique of Mcluhan is especially significant. Williams emphasizes social need and political intention as significant factors involved in technological development. He explores the culture and social forces that created both the need for broadcasting, and the institutional frameworks that oversaw its implementation. Political decision-making determined the technology’s implementation, and its cultural shape.
    19. 19. Brian Winston’s historical study of media technology follows the cultural materialism. Brian Winston: Inventors in any one period will respond to ‘social necessity’. (supervening social necessities) In the case of media technology, government regulation can play a major role. MacKenzie and Wajcman: a new device merely opens a door; it does not compel one to enter. The characteristic of a society play a major role in deciding which technologies are adopted and how they are implemented and controlled. (et. printing press and the clock in western and China)
    20. 20. Stephen Hill: the direction of change is a product of the particular alignment between the technological possibilities and the society and culture that exists. Barry Jones, ‘car-based of the future’, L.A.. It is not the inevitable cultural result of a new technology. Luddism: English cloth workers who smashed textile frames in protest at the industrialization of their craft - have their equivalents in the 21st century.
    21. 21. Is technology neutral? It is the way that technologies are used, rather than any intrinsic properties of those technologies, that is crucial. Barry Jones: any technological change has an equal capacity for enlightenment or degradation of life, depending on how it is used. Three kind of responses: 1. Mcluhan is forthright in his rejection of it; 2. As for Pierre Levy, who is more circumspect, presents a note of critical caution; 3. Like Max Weber, some want to expose the political consequences of technological determinism.
    22. 22. Ellul, technology has become the system in which we live: rationalize, all-encompassing and dehumanizing. Neil Postman: the cultural decline furthered by an irresistible technical apparatus. Sadie Plant: the intrinsic properties of digital media are favorable to those citizens traditionally marginalized in society. Andrew Feenberg agrees that contemporary technology is so influential that it cannot be regarded as neutral. Lewis Mumford is scathing of the ‘technological imperative’.
    23. 23. Langdon Winner is certainly dismissive of the naive form of technological determinism. Winner points out that certain technology necessitates political and cultural responses by its very structure. Winner: technologies are ways of building orders in the world. Winner’s writing forms a synthesis between the technological determinism of Mcluhan and the cultural materialism of Williams. The gun technology would seem to refute the claim that the technology is in itself neutral.
    24. 24. Knowing the world differently: poststructuralist thought Poststructuralist is more likely to focus on the contradictory, dynamic elements of culture, emphasizing the unpredictability of language, culture or social systems. Michel Foucault: civilization and madness are the result of cultural and technical forces. There is no essential basis in truth. Foucault: all knowledge is technical knowledge. ‘technocratic consciousness’.
    25. 25. Going with the flow -- ‘machinic’ thought Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari: what we would normally conceive as specific and isolated technologies are participants in a broader natural and cultural flow in a ‘machinic’ dimension. Technologies can be studied not only in terms of their specific form, but also in terms of their function and their various contexts. Technology change is both continuous and discontinuous. Technologies, like rivers and streams or developments in the arts, also flow. The artisan, here including new technologists and cultural theorist, is involved with following these flows as much as developing them.
    26. 26. Virilio and the technologies of speed Paul Virilio: an urbanist, a Christian, a historian of military, a political theorist, an art critic of technology He asserts that we are losing our sense of space as we more and more push the speed at which things move. ‘the aesthetics of disappearance’ Virilio explores the last moment of the struggle between metabolic speed and the technological speed into which we seem to be disappearing. ‘Politicize speed’, ‘chrono-politics’ ‘accident’: technology provides something we would never predict.
    27. 27. Art & Technology The history of art is, a&er a!, a history of technology. Dose art reflect changes in technology and social organization? Is there any continuity between modernism and postmodernism, or do they represent radica!y different aesthetic orientations?
    28. 28. The modern Artists represent technology The Futurists The Constructivists Machine modernism Modern to postmodern: Pop Art Postmodern aesthetics Critical approaches to postmodernism Postmodern media art Continuity or discontinuity? Technology in music
    29. 29. The modern We should treat modernity as a historical period, while treating modernism as a culture condition within that period. Modernism was certainly not a universal culture condition in its time period. Political factors may intervene to thwart the simplistic equation of industrialism, modernity and modernism. Jurgen Habermas: modernity could only emerge when the present was able to detach itself from dependence on the past. The Enlightenment philosophers believed that through the application of reason they could create a new society unrivaled in its fairness and equality. It was assumed, according to the new doctrine of process, that better technology would produce a better world.
    30. 30. Artists represent technology Charles Baudelaire sought to define a modern sensibility in opposition to the classical French tradition. But his idea only went too far. Robert Hughes: cultre had been reinvented through technological innovation occurring at an almost preternatural speed. Sigmund Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams; Albert Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity; Eiffel Tower avant-garde: originally a military term, now used to suggest the daring of those who ventured into new cultural territory, leading the more cautious mainstream. Great modernist artists: Abstract painters, Dada artists... Chief objective of modernists: to find new modes of representiation that might reflect the changed world around them.
    31. 31. The Futurists Futurists: the most pertinent and the most interesting group of modernists from the point of view of technology and art. F.T.Marinetti : art now could only mean looking forward, never backward. Futurist aesthetics valued the dynamic over the static, technology over nature. Marinett’s embrace of technological progress was complete. Science was seen as its “vivifying current”. Other futurists looked to science and technology for their inspiration. Balla, Boccioni. Futurists’ resolve to develop an aesthetics of dynamism found outlets across a range of media.
    32. 32. For a brief period, the Futurists extended the radical avant-garde into a total way of life. There are aspects of Marinett’s creed that certainly repellent; his militarism and patriotism, combined with his glorification of technology and youth, fed into Fascist propaganda in the 1920s. Mussolini’s Fascists offered a surer route to power. Futurist ideas spread quickly across Europe, taking on varying orientations in different environment. (Bolshevik Revolution) Summarize: Futurists’ espousal of technology may seem utopian. Yet by absorbing the properties of the machine into their art, thy built a prototype that is still being used by artists.
    33. 33. The Constructivists Constructivists flourished in the decade following the 1917 Russian Revolution. They dedicated their art to the service of the state, in their case the new Soviet state. The artist was an engineer; art had to be a useful object in the radical reconstruction of society. (film-maker Eisenstein, montage; Meyerhold, bio-mechanics in theater; Dziga Vertov, tenical devices in film) By the ascent of Stalin to power in 1924, avant-garde practice was criticized as decadent formalism.
    34. 34. Machine Modernism Peter Wollen observed “Americanization stood for true modernity, the liquidation of stifling traditions and shackling life-styles and work-habits” in the early optimistic years of the Soviet Union. Taylorism was the rationalization of labour on the method of the machine. “time-and-motion studies” Taylor’s method was implemented in Henry Ford’s automobile factory. By extension, Fordism represented a new form of social organization. (Charlie Chaplin’s satirical film Modern Times) Benjamin, “aura” meant that sense of distance, of unattainability and uniqueness, surrounding great works of art. Benjamin applauded the democratic consequences of art work reproduction.
    35. 35. Benjamin: capitalist cinema could employ the same technical apparatus for the opposite effect- the manufacture of celebrity. Benjamin was grappling in the theoretical terms with the paradoxes of technology in the modernist age. The most influential embrace of technology and its transforming powers was found in modernist architecture. Bauhaus school, Walter Gropius, Modernist architecture, “form follows function”and “ less is more” were the aesthetic tenets implemented on an international scale. Modernist architecture provides a spectacular demonstration of the contradictions within modernist culture: a belief in progress and rationalization on the one hand, a utopian desire on the other.
    36. 36. Modern to postmodern: Pop Art The shift from a modernist cultural condition to a postmodern one is extremely difficult to chart with precision. We discuss the 1960s as a transitional period between the modern and the postmodern.