Max Bense: aesthetica IV. Programmierung des Schönen. Allgemeine Texttheorie und Textästhetik (1960) [German]

22 January 2016, dusan

Max Benses informationeile Ästhetik schließt mit einer Allgemeinen Texttheorie ab, die, auf der Grundlage statistischer Untersuchungen von Fucks, Herdan, Mandelbrot u. a., als Modell der neuen statistischen Zeichen-Ästhetik aufgefaßt werden kann.

Die Allgemeine Texttheorie bezieht sich auf jede Art von Text, schließt also die ästhetische Theorie der Poesie und Prosa, aber auch der wissenschaftlichen Sprachen, Werbesprachen und abstrakten Sprachen usw. ein.

Der Begriff Text wird dabei als derjenige sprachliche Zustand aufgefaßt, der statistische bzw. informationelle, semantische bzw. ästhetische Formen meint, aus deren Materialität Poesie und Prosa im klassischen Sinne erst hervorgehen. Der Begriff Text zielt also nicht auf vorästhetische Zustände der Sprache ab, sondern auf vorpoetische und vorprosaische. Er bestimmt gewissermaßen die archaischen theoretischen Fundamente der Literatur.

Allgemeine Texttheorie umfaßt also Textstatistik, Textsemantik, Textphänomenologie und Textästhetik. Der bisher völlig unklar oder falsch verwendete Ausdruck Logik der Dichtung verschwindet zugunsten des genau formulierbaren Ausdrucks Textsemantik, der den Begriff Textlogik mit umfaßt.

Es werden also sowohl numerische wie essentielle Überlegungen zum Begriff Text angestellt.

Die Allgemeine Texttheorie erscheint als Grundlagenforschung für zukünftige Literaturwissenschaft und Literaturtheorie. Sie will exakte Mittel einführen und der beliebigen üblichen Interpretation, soweit sie nicht historische Fakten herausstellt, ein Ende bereiten.” (from the dusk jacket)

Publisher Agis, Baden-Baden and Krefeld, 1960
128 pages
via Mitchell Johnson

Commentary: Reinhard Döhl (n.d., DE).



More on Bense’s aesthetics.

Hillel Schwartz: The Culture of the Copy: Striking Likenesses, Unreasonable Facsimiles, 2nd ed. (1996/2013)

7 March 2014, dusan

The Culture of the Copy is an unprecedented attempt to make sense of the Western fascination with replicas, duplicates, and twins. In a work that is breathtaking in its synthetic and critical achievements, Hillel Schwartz charts the repercussions of our entanglement with copies of all kinds, whose presence alternately sustains and overwhelms us. Through intriguing, and at times humorous, historical analysis and case studies in contemporary culture, Schwartz investigates a stunning array of simulacra—counterfeits, decoys, mannequins, and portraits; ditto marks, genetic cloning, war games, and camouflage; instant replays, digital imaging, parrots, and photocopies; wax museums, apes, and art forgeries, not to mention the very notion of the Real McCoy. Working through a range of theories on biological, mechanical, and electronic repro­duction, Schwartz questions the modern esteem for authenticity and uniqueness. The Culture of the Copy shows how the ethical dilemmas central to so many fields of endeavor have become inseparable from our pursuit of copies—of the natural world, of our own creations, indeed of our very selves.

This updated edition takes notice of recent shifts in thought with regard to such issues as biological cloning, conjoined twins, copyright, digital reproduction, and multiple personality disorder. At once abbreviated and refined, it will be of interest to anyone concerned with proglems of authenticity, identity, and originality.

First published in 1996
Publisher Zone Books, New York, 2013
ISBN 1935408453, 9781935408451
480 pages

Review (Terence Hawkes, London Review of Books, 1997)
Review (Francis Kane, The New York Times, 1997)
Review (Todd Gitlin, Los Angeles Times, 1997)

Google books

Download (removed on 2014-3-20 upon request of the publisher)

Gerd Arntz, Otto Neurath, et al.: Gesellschaft und Wirtschaft: Bildstatistisches Elementarwerk (1930) [German]

26 February 2014, dusan

Economy and Society: Elementary Pictorial Statistics is an early example of socially-engaged piece of graphic design. The work was commissioned by the Bibliographical Institute in Leipzig, an important publisher of reference works and dictionaries, to the political economist and Vienna Circle philosopher Otto Neurath and his initiative, the Museum of Society and Economy.

The city-funded Museum was conceived as an institution for informing the public about the results of sociological and economical research. It staffed Marie Reidemeister, the University of Göttingen educated mathematician, Josef Jodlbauer and others. Since 1928 they also worked with graphic artist and council communist Gerd Arntz. The team developed their own method of visual education, picture statistics, hoping to ensure that even “passers-by [..] can acquaint themselves with the latest sociological and economical facts at a glance,” and later to become known as Isotype.

Economy and Society was made as a collection of one hundred statistical charts printed on loose leaves, depicting the state of world affairs of their day, with thirty text tables of source statistics included in an appendix.

“Isotype was conceived as a picture language for teaching purposes and as a lingua franca, not a universal code. Its signs were constructed as clearly as possible in themselves, so they could be used without the help of words. The signs were arranged into ‘fact pictures’ according to certain rules, which were set up by a ‘chief organization’ – as Neurath called his workrooms at The Hague. Thus a picture language emerged from the consistent use of expert graphic design. Its elements or pictograms were reduced to the smallest possible detail of what they represented, for example starting with the outline of a ‘man’, and if necessary, adding attributes to identify the man as a ‘worker’, a ‘coal miner’ or an ‘unemployed person’, and so on. Perspective was abandoned in the pictures, illustrating details were banned and any use of colors would be standardized. Starting with Gesellschaft und Wirtschaft, the picture books produced show the struggle to build up a visual system of rules and signs. As its goal, Neurath identified the ‘education of public opinion’ and, on the utopian level, access to knowledge for all: ‘The Isotype picture language would be of use as a helping language in an international encyclopaedia of common knowledge’.” (this paragraph is taken from Frank Hartmann, Humanization of Knowledge Through the Eye, 2005)

Elementarwerk. Das Gesellschafts- und Wirtschaftsmuseum in Wien zeigt in 100 farbigen Bildtafeln Produktionsformen, Gesellschaftsordnungen, Kulturstufen, Lebenshaltungen
Publisher Bibliographisches Institut, Leipzig, 1930
130 leaves

Commentaries: Nader Vossoughian (2003), Sybilla Nikolow (2006), Ed Annink and Max Bruinsma (n.d.), Robin Kinross (2008).

PDF (15 MB)

See also International Picture Language: The First Rules of Isotype, 1936