Bernhard Siegert: Cultural Techniques: Grids, Filters, Doors, and Other Articulations of the Real (2015)

9 June 2015, dusan

“In a crucial shift within posthumanistic media studies, Bernhard Siegert dissolves the concept of media into a network of operations that reproduce, displace, process, and reflect the distinctions fundamental for a given culture. Cultural Techniques aims to forget our traditional understanding of media so as to redefine the concept through something more fundamental than the empiricist study of a medium’s individual or collective uses or of its cultural semantics or aesthetics. Rather, Siegert seeks to relocate media and culture on a level where the distinctions between object and performance, matter and form, human and nonhuman, sign and channel, the symbolic and the real are still in the process of becoming. The result is to turn ontology into a domain of all that is meant in German by the word Kultur.

Cultural techniques comprise not only self-referential symbolic practices like reading, writing, counting, or image-making. The analysis of artifacts as cultural techniques emphasizes their ontological status as “in-betweens,” shifting from first-order to second-order techniques, from the technical to the artistic, from object to sign, from the natural to the cultural, from the operational to the representational.

Cultural Techniques ranges from seafaring, drafting, and eating to the production of the sign-signal distinction in old and new media, to the reproduction of anthropological difference, to the study of trompe-l’oeils, grids, registers, and doors. Throughout, Siegert addresses fundamental questions of how ontological distinctions can be replaced by chains of operations that process those alleged ontological distinctions within the ontic.

Grounding posthumanist theory both historically and technically, this book opens up a crucial dialogue between new German media theory and American postcybernetic discourses.”

Translated by Geoffrey Winthrop-Young
Publisher Fordham University Press, New York, 2015
Meaning Systems series
ISBN 0823263762, 9780823263769
xiv+265 pages

Review: Geoghegan (Paragraph, 2014).



More on cultural techniques.

Bad Object-Choices (eds.): How Do I Look? Queer Film And Video (1991)

5 May 2015, dusan

“The papers and discussions published here comprise the proceedings of a conference held at Anthology Film Archives in New York City, October 1989, organized by Bad Object-Choices, a reading group formed in the spring of 1987 to address questions of gay and lesbian theory. The proceedings were edited by the following group members: Terri Cafaro, Jean Carlomusto, Douglas Crimp, Martha Gever, Tom Kalin, and Jeff Nunokawa.” (from the Preface)

The publication was prepared as a special issue of October journal, but ultimately rejected by the editors; and further delayed as more than twenty printers refused to print the book–at issue were images in the Patton, Mercer, and Fung essays. It was eventually printed in Germany. (see interview with Douglas Crimp and p. 10)

With essays by Cindy Patton, Stuart Marshall, Judith Mayne, Richard Fung, Kobena Mercer, and Teresa de Laurentis.

Publisher Bay Press, Seattle, WA, 1991
ISBN 0941920208
295 pages

Reviews: Jennifer A. Machiorlatti (Journal of Film and Video, 1993), Thomas Dukes (Journal of the History of Sexuality, 1994), Lauri Mullens (Int’l Gay & Lesbian Review).


PDF (65 MB, no OCR)

Foucault / Blanchot: Maurice Blanchot: The Thought from Outside / Michel Foucault as I Imagine Him (1966/1986–) [FR, ES, EN, GLG, CZ, SR, BR-PT, PT, HU, RU]

6 April 2015, dusan

“In these two essays, novelist/essayist Maurice Blanchot and philosopher Michel Foucault reflect on each other’s work and develop a new perspective on the relationship between subjectivity, fiction, and the will to truth. The two texts present reflections on writing, language, and representation which question the status of the author/subject and explore the notion of a ‘neutral’ voice that arises from the realm of the ‘outside.’”

Foucault’s essay first published as “La pensée du dehors”, Critique 229 (June 1966), pp 523-546. Blanchot’s essay first published as Michel Foucault tel que je l’imagine, Fata morgana, Paris, 1986.

English edition
Translated by Brian Massumi (F) and Jeffrey Mehlman (B)
Publisher Zone Books, New York, 1987
ISBN 0942299027, 9780942299021
109 pages

Foucault’s essay
La pensée du dehors (sur Maurice Blanchot) (French, 1966/1994)
El pensamiento del afuera (Spanish, trans. Graciela Ortiz, 1986)
Maurice Blanchot: The Thought from Outside (English, trans. Brian Massumi, 1987)
El pensamiento del afuera (Galician, trans. Manuel Arranz Lázaro, 1988/1997)
Myšlení vnějšku (Czech, trans. Miroslav Petříček, 1996/2003)
Mišljenje spoljašnjosti (Serbian, trans. Vladimir Milisavljević, 2005)
O pensamento do exterior (Brazilian Portuguese, trans. Inês Autran Dourado Barbosa, 2009)

Blanchot’s essay
Michel Foucault tel que je l’imagine (French, 1986)
Michel Foucault as I Imagine Him (English, trans. Jeffrey Mehlman, 1987)
Foucault como o imagino (Portuguese, trans. Miguel Serras Perreira and Ana Luiza Faria, 1987)
Michel Foucault, tal y como lo imagino (Spanish, 1992, HTML)
Michel Foucault – ahogy én látom (Hungarian, trans. Mihancsik Zsófia, 1997, HTML)
Mishel Fuko, kakim ya ego sebe predstavlyayu (Russian, trans. V.E. Lapitsky, 2002, DJVU)

For more from Foucault see Monoskop wiki.

Ben van Berkel, Caroline Bos (eds.): ANY, 23: Diagram Work: Data Mechanics for a Topological Age (1998)

21 March 2015, dusan

A special issue of the magazine ANY (Architecture New York) focusing on the diagram and diagrammatics (page 14 onwards).

With contributions by Ben van Berkel and Caroline Bos, Stan Allen, R.E. Somol, Peter Eisenman, Manuel De Landa, Christine Buci-Glucksman, Andrew Benjamin, Karl Chu, Brian Massumi, Greg Lynn, Mark Rakatansky, Sanford Kwinter, and Wes Jones.

Publisher Anyone Corporation, June 1998
ISSN 10684220
62 pages
via waskleist

Commentary: Hélène Frichot (2011).


PDF (13 MB)

Tristan Garcia: Form and Object: A Treatise on Things (2011–)

19 February 2015, dusan

“What is a thing? What is an object? Tristan Garcia aims to overturn 100 years of Heideggerian orthodoxy about the supposedly derivative nature of objects to put forward a new theory of ontology that gives us new insights into the world and our place in it.

Garcia’s original and systematic formal ontology of things strips them of any determination, intensity or depth. From this radical ontological poverty, he develops encyclopaedic regional ontologies of objects. By covering topics as diverse as the universe, events, time, the living, animals, human beings, representation, arts and rules, culture, history, political economy, values, classes, genders, ages of life and death, he shows that speculative metaphysics and ontology are alive and well.”

First published as Forme et objet. Un traité des choses, PUF, Paris, 2011.

Translated by Jon Cogburn and Mark Allan Ohm
Publisher Edinburgh University Press, 2014
ISBN 0748681493, 9780748681495
462 pages

On Graham Harman’s System and My Own by Garcia (2013), Harman’s response.
Interviews with Garcia: by Liam Jones (Figure/Ground, 2014), Philosophical Readings (2014).
Reviews and commentaries: Jean-Clet Martin (2012, FR, ES), Harman (Continent, 2012), Nathan Brown (Radical Philosophy, 2014).

Wikipedia (FR)


Recent comments
Recent entries
More resources