Online Siegert Lectures

The lecture “On Codes and Coding” that Siegert gave at NYU earlier this month and on which Peter already reported, can now be viewed and heard online. It is embedded below. As Peter wrote, this material was originally intended to be a chapter in Passage des Digitalen, but for reasons of time, it was left out.

Additionally, we thought it would be nice to include some other English-spoken lectures by Siegert that are currently online. You can find the four that we found below as well. They were held between 2011 and 2013 and some ended up as a chapter in Cultural Techniques: Grids, Filters, Doors, and Other Articulations of the Reals.

Lastly, there is also a playlist comprised of eight video’s of an interview with Siegert by José Gomes Pinto and Maria Teresa Cruz in Lisbon in 2014.

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Cultural Techniques: A Roundtable Review, Part 1

Cultural Techniques: A Roundtable Review, Part 1

(Jump ahead to our roundtable conversation in Part 2 here)

Siegert, Bernhard. 2015. Cultural Techniques: Grids, Filters, Doors, and Other Articulations of the Real. Translated by Geoffrey Winthrop-Young. New York: Fordham University Press. xix, 265 pp.

Since the turn of the 21st century, the idea of Kulturtechniken, or cultural techniques, has flourished, spreading well beyond Germany and German-language media and cultural studies. Already in Passage des Digitalen, Bernhard Siegert frames his arguments of the digital within a notion of cultural techniques “of writing, reading, drawing and counting” (Passage des Digitalen, 14). Cultural Techniques: Grids, Filters, Doors, and Other Articulations of the Real, serves a dual function of introducing Siegert’s recent work to a wider audience, but also articulating a vision of what this (study of) cultural techniques is or might be. Continue reading Cultural Techniques: A Roundtable Review, Part 1

Cultural Techniques: A Roundtable Review, Part 2

Cultural Techniques: A Roundtable Review, Part 2 

(Read our brief introduction in Part 1 here)

Participants: Maren Koehler, Melle Kromhout, Peter McMurray and Nina Westzaan

Peter McMurray: There’s a ton we might dig into with Cultural Techniques, but let me start with one observation and string of questions about “difference.” To the credit, I think, of Siegert and the cultural techniques crowd, there’s a recurring thread here of difference, much of which happens at a cultural level. Continue reading Cultural Techniques: A Roundtable Review, Part 2

Moseley: Digital Analogies

As mentioned several times by both Peter and myself, it was at “From Bone Flute to Auto-Tune,” a conference on music and technology at the University of California, Berkeley in April 2014 that the idea of what was to become this blog was conceived. Besides my own paper at the conference, primarily Roger Moseley’s wonderful keynote called “Digital Analogies” got us talking about Kittler, Leibniz, and, most importantly Siegert’s Passage des Digitalen. This is why we are very pleased that last week, the Journal of the American Musicological Society published Roger’s extensive article “Digital Analogies: The Keyboard as Field of Musical Play” of which the Berkeley-talk was an early version. Given this history, the fact that Roger has been a silent, but faithful member of our group and of course its relevance to many of the things we have been discussing the past couple of months, we want to highly recommend his article to you all.

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Siegert at NYU: “On Codes and Coding”

Bernhard Siegert is currently in residency at New York University’s Department of Media, Culture and Communication, where he’s giving a series of seminars and talks, including the LeBoff Public Lecture last Thursday, April 7, entitled “Codes and Coding.” The material for the talk, as Siegert explained in personal correspondence, was originally intended to be a chapter in Passage des Digitalen, but for reasons of time, it was left out then.

siegert, on codes and coding

Continue reading Siegert at NYU: “On Codes and Coding”

Geoghegan: Draft Notes for an essay on Information in Formation (Session 10)

For our last session, Bernard Dionysius Geoghegan to attribute a draft version of an essay on the concept of information, which nicely ties into with some of the topics of Passage des Digitalen in general and its last chapter, “Signal Intelligence”, in particular. Please be aware that this is a draft version and Bernard kindly asks not to quote or cite without his explicit permission.

Continue reading Geoghegan: Draft Notes for an essay on Information in Formation (Session 10)

Christensen: The Digital Passengers Find Themselves in a “Raum ohne Passagiere” (Session 10)

The following is an attempt to summarize some of the moves of this wonderful, wide-ranging chapter.

At the close of the final chapter, the reader finds herself in the elemental space of the waves. But this is no sailing trip from Spain to the New World. Instead, we are navigating in a world after Eccles’ and Jordan’s flip-flop, which made its debut in 1918. In this epistemic order, human subjects are “legible as functions of signal-processing instruments, machines, and codes” (416). In this “calculating space,” the smooth and the striated collapse in on each other; “im electronischen Zeitalter wird das Zählen und der Raum aus demselben Medium ereignet, das durch eine leichte Modification entweder zum Raum wird oder zum Schreiber” (417).

Continue reading Christensen: The Digital Passengers Find Themselves in a “Raum ohne Passagiere” (Session 10)

Felinto: The Walking Dead: Spasms as Symptoms of a Soulless Subject (Session 9)

So I was assigned the painful task of commenting on the second part of Spasmen (beginning with “Switch off” on page 330). It’s not that the text is uninteresting or badly written, quite the contrary. However, it’s probably one of the most mathematics-laden parts of the book, making its readability extremely difficult for laypeople like myself. I believe my contribution will have to be very modest and of course I chose not to focus on the mathematical references (maybe someone with expertise in this field will be able to provide some help).

Continue reading Felinto: The Walking Dead: Spasms as Symptoms of a Soulless Subject (Session 9)

Westzaan: Loudspeaker listening, Siegert and Stockhausen (Session 8)

Loudspeaker listening fascinates me. Loudspeakers are everywhere and mediate every daily listening experience. However, a concrete theory of loudspeaker listening is lacking. In my Master thesis I conducted cultural historical/musicological research on the reinvention of loudspeaker experience after the Second World War. In this contribution, I present some sketches of my analysis of the relations between Siegert and Sloterdijk, as an attempt to relate Siegert to a deeper and more profound analysis of Stockhausen’s loudspeaker listener, offering a starting point to dissect the loudspeaker from a media historal and media archeological perspective. Continue reading Westzaan: Loudspeaker listening, Siegert and Stockhausen (Session 8)

McMurray: Sonic Archaeology (Session 8)

I wasn’t expecting to write a post here but with some holiday attrition, here we go. It seems a good opportunity to pick up on some of the questions of sound that Veit Erlmann raised in his engaging post, “The Missing Ear” just before the holiday break, and particularly those tied up with the middle section of Passage, “Riss.”

At risk of stating the obvious (ok, I definitely am), the large-scale motion of the book, as articulated by its major subdivisions, is: “The Great Bureaucracy” to “Rupture” (Riss), arriving at “Electrical Circuits.” Siegert defines the Rupture in several different places, but in broad strokes, it is the moment of passage from the varieties of proto-digital ways of processing the world into a post-Leibnizian world of strange flows that are contingent, (often) continuous, and wavelike. Yet these flows can also be subjected to analysis that reduces them to discrete, composite parts, as well, a seemingly innocuous shift but one with significant consequences.

Continue reading McMurray: Sonic Archaeology (Session 8)