Optical Media. Friedrich Kittler. 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.
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This is one of the crucial points that a German perspective to media studies has promoted; media are not only the mass media of television, newpapers, and such, but a technical constellation that at its core is based on scientific principles of coding, channeling, and decoding of signals. Optical media is based on a lecture series he gave Humboldt university, Berlin in This book is an investigation into man-made images. For Kittler, media are about science and engineering, and some of the confusions relate how people are tyring to read and apply him out of those contexts.
But about the long genealogies of science, engineering, and the qualities of matter that allow the event of media to take place. Kittler is the physicist of media theory. It can also be described as a history of technologies used to trasnmit, process, and store images-essentially looking at light.
But predictably for Kittler, this is not at all a sociological or economical history of technology. The book goes on with inspired research on the history of photography, film and television and ending with the computer, as a convergent media, where all the optical singular media die in a new sublimation of the omnipresent algorithm.
Discorse Network has remarkable insights about the role of mothers in producing romantic reading subjects- the mother serving as a kind of media relay between text and child, ear and eye, alphabet and voice- Gramophone, Typewriter has similarly stunning observations about how the typewriter desexualized the tradional division of labor in the act of writing. In other words, art and technology represent two different ways of shifting the boundaries of visuality, by either misuing or circumventing the sun.
Mechanical-chemical image recording, mechanical storage, and mechanical playback are out of place in a century that is defined premarliy through the conversion of tradiontal media to electricity. First, Technical media either store, transmit, or process signals and second that the computer is the only medium that combines there three functions- stroage, transmission, and processing-fully automatically, it is not surprising that the endpoint of these lectures mmust be the integration of optical media and the universal discrete machine known as the computer.
MaLuhan understood more about perception then electornics, and therefore he attempted to think about techology in terms of bodies instead of the other way around.
According to McLuhan, media extends and amputates itself at the same time. Taking up McLuhan seems even more advisable because German media studies typically proceeds on entirely different grounds and with entirely different fundamental hypotheses.
We would always only be able to grasp the external facade that the electronics industry consciously displays, while the interior of the apparatus would remain concealed beneath its cover, whose instructions permit it to be opened only by an expert.
The acoustic media are increasingly networked with optical media. The development of optical media closely parallels the development of acoustic media, and in some casaes they even developed in conjucntion with one another. One must therefore consider developmental teams, subsequent develpments, optimizations and improvements, altered functions of individual devices, and so on. IN other words, technical media are models of the so-called human precisely because they were developed strategically to override the senses.
Standards determines how media reach our senses. Technical media and only technical media — according to the thesis of these lectures, -destroyed this postulate of visibility. Being, in an eminent sense, allows iteslf in principle not to be seen today, although or because it allows the visible first to be seen. In this way, the history of optical media ins a history of disappearance, which also allows me the freedom to disappear for today.
The concept of information itself as a military, strategic component. It is no accident that the age of media technologies is at the same time also the age of technical warfare. Paul Virilio has made this point quite clearly, especially in the case of optical media.
Camera obscura made the revolutionary concept of a perfect perspective painting possible. Alberti mathematized old manual techniques like painting and writing, and at the very least he had explicitly made reference to this modernization before Gutenberg.
It was the unique medium that set other medium free. The only thing that absolutely did not exist before the development of photography was a technology for storing images, which would allow image to be transmitted across space and time and then sent againt to another point in space and time. Since Newton, however, there is alo additive color synthesis where the sum of many colors is brighter than its addends. Printing technique that corresponds to this new formet or uniformat: rotary printing.
Gutenberg flat relief plates no longer printed letters on an equally flat and limited paper sheet, but rather an endlessly turning print cylinder revolved over an endlessly long paper cynliner, which in unrolled underneath. This technical innovation naturally evokes the image of rolls of film. Daguerre first painted so-called panoramas, and he personally developed the dioramas in Paris. Bourgeious realism was thus not only a style in literature and painting, but also in everyday life.
From this one can also infer the complementary need for media, which will compensate the aristocracy for this loss of face in the eyes of their secret bourgeois admirers. As a metaphorical model, however, photography also appears to have had real effects on writing.
Technical media are never the inventions of individual geniuses, but rather they are a chain of assemblages that are sometimes shot down and that sometiemes crystalize. Edward Muybridge and Marey Edison built the first film studio in the history of media. Cinema thus tranformed from the very beginning into an illusionary medium..
In contrast to the scientific experiments of a Muybridge, which were supposed to replace everything imaginary or figurative in the eyes of people with the real, and in contrast to the phonographs as well, which could only reproduce the reality of noise for lack of cutting or editing possibilities, a new imaginary sphere emerged. It was no longer literary, but rather technogenic. The fantastic experienced a triumphant resurrection through film.
The systematics of optical mobilization is in the first instance more important. First, the step from a static to a mobile camera had eliminated every similarity between film and the ancient art of theater. As I have repeatedly emphasized, media technologies emerged in the 19th century form psychological and physiological research on a very emporical.
At the end of the war, the first color film material was provided to the propaganda companies that had been systematically established in all of the armies. In contrast to WW1, these propaganda companies were ordered to take part in the combat with weapons. For this reason, the introduction of stereo sound and widescreen after the war was only a small step that ended color film to be able to deceive the tree-dimensionality of ears and eyes.
First, it was a fully electronic converter of images into currents, and thus a television signal source. Second, it was a fully electronic transmission circuit, and thus a television channel. Third, it was a fully electronic converter of current into images, and this a television receiver.
Its Fourth function, which only deveploped much later, was also to serve as an electronic image storage device. The political effects of this new image and sound medium were also similar to the effects of sound film. TV became a medium of national and domestic politics because it was transmitted in national languages and its extremely high transmission frequencies. It was clear since the Renaissance that perspective was closely related to firearms and balllistics.
Photography was also applied to criminology and cryptography. WW1 reconnaissance planes even connected film cameras to machine guns, and sound film was also developed on the basis of war technologies.
But the high-tech medium of television is the only one among all of these optical media that functions according to its own principle as a weapon. For this reason, it would not have risen to world power without WW2. To begin with, telepresence means widening the practically sqaure pixel size to that it fills both eyes or at least engages them like a wide screen film, and the television thus loses its peep show character.
Larger angle of vision, and telepresence can thus be described as an invasion or conquest of the retina through an artificial paradise.
There are no longer any differences between individual media or sensory fields: if digital computers send out sounds or images, whether to a so-called human-machine interfaces or not, they internally work only with endless strings of bits, which are represented by electrical voltage.
Everything that is swithable also becomes feasible. In contrast to film, television was already no longer optics. The eyes can only access these signals at the beginning and end of transmission chain, in the studio and on the screen. Digital image processing this ultimately represents the liquidation of this last remainder of the imaginary. Computers, as they have existed since WW2, are not designed for image-processing at all. Accordin to Flusser, one-dimensional texts have been replaced by 0-dimensional numbers or bits.
When seen form this perspective, computers represent the succeussful reduction of all dimensions to zero. So much for the algorithms of random, namely digital data in the domain of image.
It the world war between algorithms and recources, the year old war between algorithms and alphabets and between numbers and letters has practically faded into obscurity. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email. VR can of course also be understood as an expansion of the operational possibilities.
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Optical Media: Berlin Lectures 1999
This is one of the crucial points that a German perspective to media studies has promoted; media are not only the mass media of television, newpapers, and such, but a technical constellation that at its core is based on scientific principles of coding, channeling, and decoding of signals. Optical media is based on a lecture series he gave Humboldt university, Berlin in This book is an investigation into man-made images. For Kittler, media are about science and engineering, and some of the confusions relate how people are tyring to read and apply him out of those contexts. But about the long genealogies of science, engineering, and the qualities of matter that allow the event of media to take place. Kittler is the physicist of media theory. It can also be described as a history of technologies used to trasnmit, process, and store images-essentially looking at light.