Armin Medosch: Technological Determinism in Media Art (2005)

28 February 2009, dusan

“Technological determinism is the belief that science and technology are autonomous and the main force for change in society. It is neither new nor particularly original but has become an immensely powerful and largely orthodox view of the nature of social change in highly industrialised societies. In this paper I analyse the presence of technological determinism in general discourses about the relationship between social change and science and technology.

I show that techno-determinist assumptions underlie developments in what is called technoscience, a term describing new practices in science and technology with particular relevancy for the related fields of genetic engineering and computer science. Those areas create a specific set of narratives, images and myths, which is called the techno-imaginary. The thesis of my paper is that the discourse on media art uncritically relies on many elements of the techno-imaginary. A specific type of media art, which is identifiable with people, institutions and a period in time, is particularly engaged with the tropes of the techno-imaginary. This strand, which I call high media art, successfully engaged in institution building by using techno-determinist language. It achieved its goals but was short lived, because it was built on false theoretical premises. It made wrong predictions about the future of a ‘telematic society’ and a ‘telematic consciousness’; and it missed the chance to build the foundations of a theory of media art because it was and is contaminated by the false assumptions behind technological determinism.”

Keywords: technological determinism; media art; techno-utopianism; artificial intelligence; artificial life; cybernetics; art; progress; critical theory

Master’s thesis
Ravensbourne College / Sussex University
57 pages


PDF, PDF (updated on 2015-7-23)

John Armitage (ed.): Virilio Live: Selected Interviews (2001)

27 February 2009, pht

“Edited by one of the leading Virilio authority’s, this book offers the reader a guide through Virilio’s work. Using the interview form, Virilio speaks incisively and at length about a vast assortment of cultural and theoretical topics, including architecture and `speed-space’, `chronopolitics’, art and technoculture, modernism, postmodernism and `hypermodernism’, the time of the trajectory and the `information bomb’. His thoughts on Foucault, Baudrillard, Deleuze and Guattari, the performance artist Stelarc, the Persian War and the Kosovo War, are also gathered together.”

Published by SAGE, 2001
ISBN 0761968601, 9780761968603
218 pages


PDF (added on 2013-6-11)

Mark B. N. Hansen: Bodies in Code: Interfaces with Digital Media (2006)

27 February 2009, pht

Bodies in Code explores how our bodies experience and adapt to digital environments. Cyberculture theorists have tended to overlook biological reality when talking about virtual reality, and Mark B. N. Hansen’s book shows what they’ve been missing. Cyberspace is anchored in the body, he argues, and it’s the body–not high-tech computer graphics–that allows a person to feel like they are really “moving” through virtual reality. Of course these virtual experiences are also profoundly affecting our very understanding of what it means to live as embodied beings.

Hansen draws upon recent work in visual culture, cognitive science, and new media studies, as well as examples of computer graphics, websites, and new media art, to show how our bodies are in some ways already becoming virtual.

Published by CRC Press, 2006
ISBN 0415970164, 9780415970167
336 pages

google books

PDF (updated on 2013-12-10)