In the sixth chapter entitled “The End of the Great Bureaucracy,” Bernhard Siegert takes us on a journey from Leibniz to Fourier and Helmholtz, drawing together the “idea of formalism” and mathematical diagrammatics based on infinite series, the “discourse on fluids” and the emerging dynamic mechanics, and the formalization of oscillatory propagations—developments which lead to the rupture (Riss) between representation and the represented and which give passage to the “paralogics” of the theory of signal processing and the digital impulse.
In my second contribution to the Digital Passage blog I wanted to try a more unconventional approach. I once worked a little on mapping techniques as epistemic practices and tools. This includes methods like mind mapping, concept mapping, or spatial hypertext. Nowadays they are used for all kinds of productivity purposes, but they also hold a strong theoretical connection to cognition and knowledge. Basically, such maps try to visualize a space of knowledge to provide a means to get an overview (theoria).
As Peter already hinted at in his contribution last week, it was at a conference on music and technology at Berkeley in May 2014 that the first stones were laid for what was to become this online reading group. There, I presented a paper on a process called ‘dithering,’ called “A Soft Landing into a Bed of Noise. Dithering: Hiding Noise with Noise in Digital Sound” (see the slides for that presentation here). In two paragraphs of that paper I talked about Leibniz, noise and Siegert’s ‘Riß’ (which I translated with “rupture,” but which could of course also be ‘crack,’ or ‘tear’ or something similar). Peter suggested I’d put these two paragraphs on the blog at some point and because of their connections to the issues at hand in the current and previous chapter, here they are…: