Why did (German) Media Theory miss the Web?

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Back in the times, when (German) media theory was first brought up, major topics discussed included simulation, virtual worlds, and media history (forever!). In the mid 80s, Friedrich Kittler was one of the first to sample McLuhan and Foucault and to turn from philology to media studies. At that time, there was no WWW. 10 years later, media studies had been well established within the German academic field. And the web also was well under way at that time. But it was never considered a serious topic within German media theory.
Then the experimental phase ended quickly, and most of the followers turned back to the history of media, as their academic socialisation required.
Was that all the reason to miss the net? Or is there an inherent obstacle, that prevented German media theory from tackling urgent questions ahead? Or was it a mere misconception of technologies’ future? Or, are we about to repeat the same mistake: in focussing on the web, missing again the future questions?

Media are ontogenetic machines. To put it simply, they are operative things that produce and assemble and reproduce things, including themselves.And what is most surprising about media, and what distinguishes them from pure tools, is that they themselves know all of this.

writes Lorenz Engell,so maybe it was the theorists’ fault not to listen carefully enough to their ontological statements. But shouldn’t theory be able to cope with exactly this issue?


Controlling the Network

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In the light of recent claim of internet activities driving political events the question of how to control a network gained some importance. Controllability of Complex Networks


Bildakt, Kunst- oder Bildtheorie

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Bilder sind nicht Dulder, sondern Erzeuger von wahrnehmungsbezogenen Erfahrungen und Handlungen,

schreibt Horst Bredekamp in seinem eben erschienen Werk Theorie des Bildakts (326).


Some Basics

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The objective of this series of posts is to figure out some fundamentals for a theoretical approach that links a discoursive theory of technical media (Kittler, Foucault, McLuhan) with realist philosophy (Harman, Meillassoux, Latour), basic terms related to programming and the web (relation, link, object), and a political position towards economy (Steve Keen, Heidenreich)


Tool Being and Media Theory

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Graham Harman: Tool Being. To figure out if object oriented philosophy may be linked to object-oriented programming (which would ground it in contemporary practices) and if the materialist approach of German media theory may be linked with speculative realism.