Fingers

Vilém Flusser, ‘Fingers’, pp.57-63, in:
Flusser, V., Zielinski, S., Baitello, N., Novaes, R.M., 2013 [1979]. Natural:mind. Univocal, Minneapolis, MN.

p.57

I am sitting on a chair. The chair is a product of Western civilization and if it were to be analysed it would reveal the history of the West.

The juxtaposition “chair – desk” is a characteristic structure of particular situations of my culture.

p.58

This is a slight paleo-technological writing instrument (a product of the beginning of the 20th century). The machine has keys inscribed with letters of the Latin alphabet.

My fingers hit the keys in a particular order. This order is therefore determined by the specific order of such a language.

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Technology is Society made Durable

Bruno Latour, ‘Technology is Society made Durable’, pp.103-130 in:

Law, J. (Ed.), 1991. A sociology of monsters: essays on power, technology, and domination. Routledge, London New York.

p.103

In this paper I argue that in order to understand domination we have to turn away from an exclusive concern with social relations and weave them into a fabric that includes non-human actants, actants that offer the possibility of holding society together as a durable whole.

To be sure, the distinction between material infrastructure and symbolic superstructure has been useful to remind social theory of the importance of non-humans, but it is a very inaccurate portrayal of their mobilisation and engagement inside the social links. This paper aims to explore another repertoire for studying this process of mobilisation.

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Is the camera an extension of the photographer?

Martin Lister, ‘Is the camera an extension of the photographer?’, pp.267-272, in:

Gómez Cruz, E., Lehmuskallio, A. (Eds.), 2016. Digital photography and everyday life: empirical studies on material visual practices. Routledge, London; New York.

p.267

The act of finding meaning in the photograph is, of course, to engage photography as representation. This, in turn (if it is not to be an innocent reading), inevitably entails a measure of academic discipline and methodology: the semiological scrutiny of images treated as texts, with the aim of revealing or interpreting the meanings included within them.

With regard to photography, this is a developed practice that, over the last 30 years or so, became almost synonymous with photography theory.

Now the ongoing convergence of photography with computing and the rapid development of photography as a networked and computational medium have rendered photography radically more transient, relational, dynamic and polymorphous; we have witnessed a kind of supercharging of what it already was!

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Orientations Towards Objects

Sara Ahmed, ‘Orientations Towards Objects’, pp.25-64, in:

Ahmed, S., 2006. Queer phenomenology: orientations, objects, others. Duke University Press, Durham.

p.27

[…] by showing how phenomenology faces a certain directions, which depends on the relegation of other “things” to the background, I consider how phenomenology may be gendered as a form of occupation.

We are turned toward things . Such things make an impression upon us. We perceive them as things insofar as they are near to us, insofar as we share a residence with them. Perception hence involves orientation; what is perceived depends on where we are located, which gives us a certain take on things.

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Towards a philosophy instigated by photography

Henri van Lier, ‘Towards a philosophy instigated by photography’, pp.9-10, in:

Van Lier, H., 2007. Philosophy of photography, New ed. ed, Lieven Gevaert series. Univ. Press, Leuven.

p.9

A philosophy of photography could be taken to mean the act of philosophizing on the subject of photography.

One could enquire into its links with perception, imagination, nature, substance, essence, freedom and consciousness. The danger of such an approach is the projection onto photography of concepts created long before photography’s emergence, concepts which might prove to be ill-suited to it.

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Technical Mentality

Gilbert Simondon, ‘Technical Materiality’ (previously unpublished essay), pp.1–15, in:

De Boever, A., Simondon, G. (Eds.), 2013. Gilbert Simondon: being and technology. Edinburgh Univ. Press, Edinburgh.
p.1
Leaving Antiquity aside, technology has already yielded in at least two ways, schemas of intelligibility that are endowed with a latent power of universality: namely in the form of the Cartesian mechanism and of cybernetic theory.

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The Camera That Ate Itself

Matthew Fuller, ‘The Camera That Ate Itself’, 55-85 in:

Fuller, M., 2007. Media ecologies: materialist energies in art and technoculture, 1st MIT Press paperback edition. ed, Leonardo. The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts London, England.

p.55

This persistent whimsy that labor-saving technology will of itself release people into a helter-skelter world of self-determined fun is less a theory than a suburban myth.

Nevertheless, Flusser’s Towards a Philosophy of Photography insists we play along. Having been liberated from the necessity, if not from the compulsion, to work, people are available for play.

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Staying with the Trouble

Haraway, Donna J. “Introduction” in:

Haraway, D.J., 2016. Staying with the trouble: making kin in the Chthulucene. Duke University Press, Durham.

https://monoskop.org/media/text/haraway_2016_staying_with_the_trouble

Trouble is an interesting word. It derives from a thirteenth-century French verb meaning “to stir up,” “to make cloudy,” “to disturb.”

Mixed-up times are overflowing with both pain and joy—with vastly unjust patterns of pain and joy, with unnecessary killing of ongoingness but also with necessary resurgence. The task is to make kin in lines of inventive connection as a practice of learning to live and die well with each other in a thick present.

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Future Texts

Alondra Nelson. ‘Future Texts’, pp.1-15 in:

Nelson, A. (ed.), 2002. Afrofuturism. Duke University Press, Durham.

p.1

Forecasts of a utopian (to some) race-free future and pronouncements of the dystopian digital divide are the predominant discourses of blackness and technology in the public sphere.

What matters is less a choice between these two narratives, which fall into conventional libertarian and conservative frameworks, and more what they have in common: namely, the assumption that race is a liability in the twenty-first century—is either negligible or evidence of negligence.

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Metaphor and Materiality

Judy Wajcman, ‘Metaphor and Materiality’, pp.102-130, in:
Wajcman, J., 2004. TechnoFeminism. Polity, Cambridge ; Malden, MA.

p.102

Technology is an intimate presence in our lives and increasingly defines who we are and how we live. Just as the typewriter and the automobile were icons of freedom for women in the discourse of modernity that presaged first-wave feminism, so cyberspace and cyborgs have become ubiquitous postmodern symbols for feminism today.

Women’s lives have changed irrevocably during the twentieth century, rendering traditional sex roles increasingly untenable.