Category Archives: – Intermission –

Winthrop-Young: “More things in theory than heaven and earth are dreaming of” (Interview)

A conversation with Geoffrey Winthrop-Young

by Melle Kromhout and Peter McMurray

As a kind of Christmas-intermission, we conducted an online interview with Professor Geoffrey Winthrop-Young, who has been part of our group endeavor these past couple of months and who recently translated Cultural Techniques; Grids, Filters, Doors, and Other Articulations of the Real, a collection of essays by Bernhard Siegert published by Fordham University Press this month.

Besides translating Friedrich Kittler’s seminal Gramophone, Film Typewriter together with Michael Wutz in 1999 (Stanford: Stanford University Press), Geoffrey Winthrop-Young translated Cornelia Vismann’s Files: Law and Media Technology (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2008) and Eva Horn’s The Secret War: Treason, Espionage and Modern Fiction (Evanston: Northwestern University Press: 2013) and essays by various authors. He is also the author of numerous articles on Friedrich Kittler, German Media Theory and Cultural Techniques, as well as two book length introductions to the work of Kittler: one in German (Friedrich Kittler zur Einführung, Hamburg, Junius, 2005) and one in English (Kittler and the Media, Cambridge: Polity, 2011).

In the interview, we discuss the newly translated collection of essays by Siegert, the concept of Cultural Techniques and its relation to what has been called ‘German Media Theory’ in general and the work of Kittler more specifically, as well as the development of Siegert’s own work over the years. We also briefly tackled the practice of translating this kind of scholarly work, which can of course be regarded as a specific kind of media operation, relying on a specific set of cultural techniques, in its own right.

Continue reading Winthrop-Young: “More things in theory than heaven and earth are dreaming of” (Interview)

Geoghegan: Untimely Mediations (Book Review)

Recently, our group member Bernard Dionysius Geoghegan, media theorist and historian of technology at the Institut für Kulturwissenschaft at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, published a review of Bernhard Siegert’s Cultural Techniques: Grids, Filters, Doors and Other Articulations of the Real and Florian Sprenger’s Medien des Immediaten: Elektrizität, Telegraphie, McLuhan for the literary journal Paragraph.

In addition to the interview about Siegert’s new book of essays that we conducted with Geoffrey Winthrop-Young, we thought it would be nice to refer to this review here as well. Here is the first paragraph. To read the rest, go to Bernard’s website:

Untimely Mediations: On Two Recent Contributions to ‘German Media Theory’

by Bernard Dionysius Geoghegan

“The recent hype over media archaeology — an anti-hermeneutic approach to media history that prioritizes the role of instruments, techniques and machines in producing cultural logics — across the United Kingdom and the United States may justifiably be regarded with trepidation by those germanophone scholars most closely identified with the term.(1) For while this turn in the academic spotlight confers much deserved recognition, such celebrated institutionalizations of an intellectual movement often scrub away the history, context and perversions that lent such methods their initial appeal. In the case of the reception of continental thought within the United States and Great Britain, self-appointed arbiters of theoretical taste often dismiss such delays as evidence of the conservative or belated character of anglophone intellectual interests, as though only ideas already dead could be entombed within the theoretical pantheon.”

Continue reading on Bernhard’s website.