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History and Philosophy of Media 2012 Seminar 8

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  1. 1. MECM90015 History and Philosophy of Media 2012 8. Technology
  2. 2. The human body is a machine which winds itsown springs.Julien Offray de la Mettrie. Man a Machine. 1748.
  3. 3. Etienne-Jules Marey, Chronophotographic suit, 18980s
  4. 4. Denis Diderot & Jean Le Rond d’Alembert: Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire raisonnée des sciences, des Arts et des Métiers, Paris1751-1780, Recueil des Planches, Minéralogie, 7me collection, Filons et travaux des Mines, Pl. 1
  5. 5. Modern Times, Charlie Chaplin, 1936
  6. 6. ‘Operation Crossroads’ Atom Bomb Test, Bikini Atoll, 1946
  7. 7. Auschwitz was not only a crime against human-ity: it is the beginning of the accident of science. . . . Apocalypse is happening all the time, everyday since Genesis. It never stops. Man is theend of the world.(Virilio, Ground Zero: 153, 154)
  8. 8. The time of image-consumption, the medium of all commodities, is inseparably the field where the instruments of the spectacle exert themselves fully, and also their goal, the location and main form of all specific consumption: it is known that the time-saving constantly sought by modern society, whether in the speed of vehicles or in the use of dried soups, is concretely translated for the population of the United States in the fact that the mere contemplation of television occupies it for an average of three to six hours a day.The social im- age of the consumption of time, in turn, is exclusively dominated by moments of leisure and vacation, moments presented at a distance and desirable by definition, like every spectacular commodity. Here this commodity is explicitly presented as the moment of real life, and the point is to wait for its cyclical return. But even in those very mo- ments reserved for living, it is still the spectacle that is to be seen and reproduced, becoming ever more intense.What was represented as genuine life reveals itself simply as more genuinely spectacular life.Guy Debord,The Society of the Spectacle (1967)
  9. 9. Andreas Gursky, 99 Cent, 1999 “The people recognize themselves in their commodities; they find their soul in their automobile, hi-fi set, split-level home, kitchen equipment.” Herbert Marcuse, One Dimensional Man, 1964.
  10. 10. As soon as what is unconcealed no longer concerns man even as object, but exclu-sively as standing-reserve, and man in the midst of objectlessness is nothing butthe orderer of the standing-reserve, then he comes to the very brink of a precipi-tous fall; that is, he comes to the point where he himself will have to be taken asstanding-reserve. Meanwhile, man, precisely as the one so threatened, exalts him-self and postures as lord of the earth. In this way the illusion comes to prevail thateverything man encounters exists only insofar as it is his construct. This illusiongives rise in turn to one final delusion: it seems as though man everywhere andalways encounters only himself.Heidegger, The Question Concerning Technology
  11. 11. humanity’s history is that of technics as a process of exteriorisation inwhich technical evolution is dominated by tendencies that societies mustperpetually negotiate . . . Becoming technical is originarily a derivation:socio-genesis recapitulates techno-genesis. Techno-genesis is structurallyprior to socio-genesis . . .Those who oppose technics to civilization do not accept that . . . humansare prosthetic beings, without qualitiesBernard Stiegler, Technics and Time 2: Disorientation, Introduction, 2
  12. 12. e e d b a c f ksender channel receiver encoding Decoding{ signal tovs randomness o probability noise rati repetition vs redundancy information theory shannon and weaver 1947
  13. 13. In order to consolidate its field of influence, capitaldemands a constant emergence of subjective andterritorialized identities that, at the end of the day,require no more than an equality of exposure ac-cording to the uniform prerogatives of the market.Thus we have the capitalist logic of general equiva-lences and the cultural logic of community and mi-nority identities coming together in an articulatedwhole(Badiou, Alain (1997), St Paul, la fondation de l’universalisme, Collège Interna-tionale de Philosophie, Paris: 11)
  14. 14. Marx on TechnologyMeans of Production - technologies and workplace organisationMode of Production - extraction of wealth from bonded labour (feudalism) or from ther sale of labour power of free workers to owners of the means of production1. Tendency of the rate of profit to fall2. Tendency for rate of innovation in means to outstrip capacityof mode of production
  15. 15. Nature builds no machines, no locomotives, knowledge has become a direct force ofrailways, electric telegraphs, self-acting mules etc. production, and to what degree, hence, theThese are products of human industry; natural conditions of the process of social life itself havematerial transformed into organs of the human come under the control of the generalwill over nature, or of human participation in intellect and been transformed in accordancenature. They are organs of the human brain, with it. To what degree the powers of socialcreated by the human hand; the power of production have been produced, not only in theknowledge, objectified. The development of fixed form of knowledge, but also as immediate organscapital indicates to what degree general social of social practice, of the real life process. Marx, Karl (1973), Grundrisse, trans Martin Nicolaus. London: Penguin/ New Left Books, p. 707; next page: Grundrisse pp. 693 ff
  16. 16. As long as the means of labour remains a means of labour in the proper sense has ceased to be a labour process in the sense of a process dominated by labourof the term, such as it is directly, historically, adopted by capital and included in its as its governing unity. Labour appears, rather, merely as a conscious organ, scatteredrealization process, it undergoes a merely formal modification, by appearing now as among the individual living workers at numerous points of the mechanical system;a means of labour not only in regard to its material side, but also at the same time subsumed under the total process of the machinery itself, as itself only a link of theas a particular mode of the presence of capital, determined by its total process -- as system, whose unity exists not in the living workers, but rather in the living (active)fixed capital. But, once adopted into the production process of capital, the means of machinery, which confronts his individual, insignificant doings as a mighty organism.labour passes through different metamorphoses, whose culmination is the machine, In machinery, objectified labour confronts living labour within the labour process it-or rather, an automatic system of machinery (system of machinery: the automatic self as the power which rules it; a power which, as the appropriation of living labour,one is merely its most complete, most adequate form, and alone transforms ma- is the form of capital. The transformation of the means of labour into machinery,chinery into a system), set in motion by an automaton, a moving power that moves and of living labour into a mere living accessory of this machinery, as the means ofitself; this automaton consisting of numerous mechanical and intellectual organs, so its action, also posits the absorption of the labour process in its material characterthat the workers themselves are cast merely as its conscious linkages. In the ma- as a mere moment of the realization process of capital.The increase of the produc-chine, and even more in machinery as an automatic system, the use value, i.e. the tive force of labour and the greatest possible negation of necessary labour is thematerial quality of the means of labour, is transformed into an existence adequate necessary tendency of capital, as we have seen. The transformation of the means ofto fixed capital and to capital as such; and the form in which it was adopted into the labour into machinery is the realization of this tendency. In machinery, objectifiedproduction process of capital, the direct means of labour, is superseded by a form labour materially confronts living labour as a ruling power and as an active subsump-posited by capital itself and corresponding to it. In no way does the machine appear tion of the latter under itself, not only by appropriating it, but in the real productionas the individual workers means of labour. Its distinguishing characteristic is not in process itself; the relation of capital as value which appropriates value-creating activ-the least, as with the means of labour, to transmit the workers activity to the object; ity is, in fixed capital existing as machinery, posited at the same time as the relationthis activity, rather, is posited in such a way that it merely transmits the machines of the use value of capital to the use value of labour capacity; further, the value ob-work, the machines action, on to the raw material -- supervises it and guards against jectified in machinery appears as a presupposition against which the value-creatinginterruptions. Not as with the instrument, which the worker animates and makes power of the individual labour capacity is an infinitesimal, vanishing magnitude; theinto his organ with his skill and strength, and whose handling therefore depends on production in enormous mass quantities which is posited with machinery destroyshis virtuosity. Rather, it is the machine which possesses skill and strength in place every connection of the product with the direct need of the producer, and henceof the worker, is itself the virtuoso, with a soul of its own in the mechanical laws with direct use value; it is already posited in the form of the products productionacting through it; and it consumes coal, oil etc. (matières instrumentales), just as and in the relations in which it is produced that it is produced only as a conveyor ofthe worker consumes food, to keep up its perpetual motion. The workers activity, value, and its use value only as condition to that end. In machinery, objectified labourreduced to a mere abstraction of activity, is determined and regulated on all sides by itself appears not only in the form of product or of the product employed as meansthe movement of the machinery, and not the opposite.The science which compels of labour, but in the form of the force of production itself.The development of thethe inanimate limbs of the machinery, by their construction, to act purposefully, as means of labour into machinery is not an accidental moment of capital, but is ratheran automaton, does not exist in the workers consciousness, but rather acts upon the historical reshaping of the traditional, inherited means of labour into a form ad-him through the machine as an alien power, as the power of the machine itself.The equate to capital.The accumulation of knowledge and of skill, of the general produc-appropriation of living labour by objectified labour -- of the power or activity which tive forces of the social brain, is thus absorbed into capital, as opposed to labour, andcreates value by value existing for-itself -- which lies in the concept of capital, is pos- hence appears as an attribute of capital, and more specifically of fixed capital, in soited, in production resting on machinery, as the character of the production process far as it enters into the production process as a means of production proper.itself, including its material elements and its material motion.The production process
  17. 17. Capital General Intellect1. is anti-social enemy of the general intellect, or is 1. is a permeable rather than a closed system, con-anti-social intellect; stantly adjusting to inputs from the objective and lifeworlds, from global warming to Islamism.2. is anti-natural, in refusing the integration of na- 2. is internally dynamicture (physics) into socialised technology, and 3. communicates internally among different regions3. is anti-technological in the sense that it militatesagainst the free development of machinery in its 4. is, to the extent that it is virtual, the enemy ofrôle of producing free time and new forms of soci- the general intelligence as actual (to whit what isality. already in place as materialised intelligence in the form of machinery, social organisation or mode of production), but also the false virtuality of those innovations which are planned and implemented in the interests of maintaining the mode of production regardless of changes at the level of forces of pro- duction and social organisation. see Virno, Paulo (1996), ‘Notes on the “General Intellect”’, trans Cesare Casarino, in Marxism Beyond Marxism, ed Saree Makdisi, Cesare Casarino and Rebecca E Karl for the Polygraph Collective, pp 265-272. New York: Routledge. paulo-virno
  18. 18. data as dead labour vs the library (search and serendipity)