Stefan Heidenreich on Mon, 4 May 2009 05:47:08 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Debating German Media Theory in Siegen

The greyroom-issue on (n)GMT is indeed remarkable. Not so much for its 
content, but for documenting how most of the Kittler school got stuck in 
media-historical footnotes and some try to escape by replacing media 
with other terms.

After (re-)creating Media as a fashionable academic topic in the late 
80s it quickly became apparent, that much of what came up as so called 
media-theory was mere blabla around a buzzword. I remember Kittlers 
looks of despair after being interviewed by Hartmann or his sighs after 
reading Grau's dissertation. It sounds quite funny to find these two 
being named as examples of media theory.

The main difference might indeed be addressed as Geist. Maybe I got 
Florian and Geert initially wrong there. In terms of Geist as a 
philosophical phantasy of power (hegelian and academic in general) there 
was not much present. In terms of Geist as an awareness to belong to a 
tradition of thinking and the urge to ground the proper thoughts within 
these fundaments - certainly yes. But not like Hartmann by assembling 
philosophical statements about media, but in doing just the opposite: by 
asking how media wrote philosophy and returning to philosophical thought 
from there - through Foucault's back-door opened by the key McLuhan 
lost, if you like ;)

In one sense the term German Media Theory names something that did not 
happen. As there was just a heightend academic awareness around a 
buzzword (Media) in a language (German). I am still a bit puzzled by the 
fact that the core group did not manage to develop the common hypothesis 
of a media apriori further (debatable as it is, but at least a clear-cut 
approach) and to apply it to our present.

But very much like Geert I see a huge potential left, in looking 
backwards, assembling and translating thoughts and texts, as in looking 
forward and developping thoughts further. But it just seems very likely 
that the keywords "German" and "Media" might lead to a collection of 
buzzword blabla.
Reminds me to finally reply to a letter from Cornelia Vismann, who 
remains to be one the most insightful academics of the initial group.


Edward Shanken schrieb:

> Until recently from the other side of the pond, I have a different
> view of these matters.

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