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ZMK Zeitschrift für Medien- und Kulturforschung 11/2020: Schalten und Walten

Zeitschrift für Medien- und Kulturforschung (ZMK) 11/1. 2020. 184 Seiten.
2366-0767. eJournal (PDF)
DOI: 10.28937/ZMK-11-20


  • Editorial

  • Das Museum für zeitgenössische Natur

  • Through the Looking Glass – Dioramas, Bodies, and Performances in New York

  • Global Networking and the Contrapuntal Node: The Project Mercury Earth Station in Zanzibar, 1959-64

  • Debatte: Medienwissenschaft ohne Medien | Medienwissenschaft ohne Medien? vs. Postmedial

  • Axiomata (1944)

  • »Anerkannt oder Ruiniert«: The Intellectual Politics of Max Bense’s Axiomata (1944)

  • Medien und Mathematik

  • Re-Collecting Microbes with Hans Blumenberg’s Concept of »Reoccupation « (Umbesetzung): from Isolating/Cultivating towards Digitizing/Synthesizing

  • Predicting and Shaping or How to Close the Future

  • Martin Heidegger: Force, Violence and the Administration of Thinking

  • Something that Disturbs: Encounters between Animals and Optical Machines

  • Invading/Inviting: From Surveillance to Byzantium

  • Abstracts / Autorenangaben



Emanuele Coccia: Das Museum für zeitgenössische Natur

Im letzten Jahrhundert hat sich das Museum von einer Institution, die sich auf die Vergangenheit und ihre Bewahrung konzentriert, zu einem Instrument der Wahrsagerei über die Zukunft von Kunst und Gesellschaft gewandelt. Der Aufsatz schlägt vor, ebenso die Museen für Naturgeschichte zu transformieren und für das Konzept einer Zeitgenossenschaft der Natur mit den entsprechenden Untersuchungsinstrumenten zu öffnen, sodass sie sich zu neuen Museen für zeitgenössische Natur entwickeln können.

During the last century, art museums evolved from institutions focussing on the past and its preservation to instruments of soothsaying about the future of art and society. This article suggests transforming museums for natural history in the same way, introducing them to the concept of a contemporaneity of nature via proper investigative tools in order to help outdated museums transforming into modern institutions, showcasing contemporary nature.

Noémie Etienne: Through the Looking Glass. Dioramas, Bodies, and Performances in New York

Dioramas are multimedia installations used in museums and popular culture since the 19th century. I study two sets of anthropological dioramas: the ones made for the Museum of Natural History in New York by Franz Boas; and the ones fabricated at the New York State Museum in Albany by Arthur C. Parker. As I will show, dioramas are not only visual dis- plays but also installations with a proper materiality and temporality: they are the stage of multiple performances and work as contact zones between objects, models, makers, and beholders.

Lisa Parks: Global Networking and the Contrapuntal Node: The Project Mercury Earth Station in Zanzibar, 1959–64

In 1960, the US government and British protectorate of Zanzibar signed an agreement that allowed US contractors working for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to build an earth station that would support Project Mercury, the first manned US satellite mission. This article focuses on the development of the Project Mercury earth station in Zanzibar during 1959-1964. To historicize the earth station’s establishment, the focus lies on the geopolitical and sociotechnical relations that resulted in the Zanzibar station.

Debatte: Medienwissenschaft ohne Medien

Der Beitrag von Claus Pias geht von zwei Beobachtungen aus: einem Zurücktreten des Medienbegriffs innerhalb medienwissenschaftlicher Forschung und eines Desinteresses sogenannter ›Digitalisierung‹ ihr gegenüber. Er untersucht, inwiefern Medientheorie (von McLuhan und Kittler bis zu den sogenannten Digital Humanities) durch einen starken Medienbegriff an der Herausbildung von Zeitsemantiken und Narrativen von ›Digitalisierung‹ beteiligt war und von ihnen profitiert hat. Als Konsequenz fordert Pias zu medienwissenschaftlicher Grundlagenforschung auf, die mit einer strategischen Revision und Aktualisierung von ›Medien‹ als Begriff und Gegenstand einhergeht.

Der Beitrag von Kathrin Peters stimmt mit dieser Lagebeschreibung nur teilweise überein. Die Skepsis gegenüber den Zukunfts- und Dringlichkeitsrhetoriken gegenwärtiger Digitalisierungsoffensiven wird von ihr geteilt, dass allerdings vor allem eine Medienwissenschaft des ›medientechnischen a priori‹ eine Antwort auf den gegenwarts- und an- wendungsfixierten Digitalisierungsdiskurs liefern könnte, erscheint Peters als zu kurz gegriffen. Andere medienwissenschaftliche Ausrichtungen sind dazu ebenso in der Lage: medienwissenschaftliche Analysen zu Kolonialität und Postkolonialität, feministische, gen- der- und queertheoretische Fragestellungen, eine medienwissenschaftlich informiert Wissenschaftsforschung und Affekttheorie – um nur einige zu nennen. Es geht um Konzepte von Medienwissenschaft als Fragestellung, die ihre Gegenstände in den verschiedensten Bereichen hervorbringen, dabei aber zugleich als Mittel und Mittler immer wieder unsichtbar werden.

Debate: Media Studies without Media

Claus Pias’ article starts out from two points of observation: a recession of the term media within the field of media studies and a dis- interest of the so-called digitalization in this particular term. Pias examines the impact media theory (ranging from McLuhan and Kittler to the so-called Digital Humanities) had on the development of time semantics and the narratives of ›digitalization‹ due to the use of a strong media term, and how media theory profited from it. mAs a result, Pias calls for establishing basis research in media studies, going hand in hand with a strategic revision and update of media, as a term as well as a subject.

In her article, Kathrin Peters only partially agrees with this evaluation. She shares the scepticism concerning future-rhetoric as well as priority-rhetoric, both featuring heavily in current digital offensives; however, in her opinion it is not enough to hope for answers on today’s digitalization-discourse from media studies hailing the media-technical a priori. There are other approaches in media studies which are able to offer these answers: analysis of colonialism and post-colonialism, feministic, gender- and queer-theoretical questions, a media-informed science of knowledge and affect theory, just to name a few of them. It is all about concepts of media science being perceived as problems which bring forth their own subjects in various areas of research, yet as a tool as well as an intermediary, they are frequently overlooked.

Alexander R. Galloway: Medien und Mathematik

Unter Bezugnahme auf Philosophie und Mathematik schlägt dieser Artikel allgemeine Formeln für das Digitale und das Analoge vor, wobei das Digitale als das Verhältnis der diskreten Terme (a/b), das Analoge als eine Verhältnisgleichung (a/b = c/d) definiert sind. Mit diesen allgemeinen Formeln zur Hand werden wir in der Lage sein, zwei der häufigsten operativen Ontologien (Digitalität und das Analoge) zu erforschen und gleichzeitig ein ontologisches Szenario zu enthüllen, in dem keines der beiden zutrifft.

Taking into account both philosophy and maths, this article suggests general formulas for both the digital sphere and the analogue, defining the digital sphere as a relation of discrete terms (a/b) whereas the analogue is described as a proportion (a/b = c/d). Falling back on those general formulas, one will be able to study two of the most frequently used operative ontologies (the digitality and the analogue) while at the same time unveiling an ontological scenario to which none of the aforementioned ontologies apply.

Alexander Waszynski and Nicole C. Karafyllis: Re-Collecting Microbes with Hans Blumenberg’s Concept of »Reoccupation« (Umbesetzung): from Isolating/Cultivating towards Digitizing/Synthesizing

Based on Hans Blumenberg’s philosophical concept of »reoccupation«, the study analyzes why the microbe has never really been situated in the world, demarcating ontological shifts in modeling microbes. The shifts are related to techniques such as sequencing and digitizing, to microbe banks acting as world models, and to metaphysical vacancies co-created. These can be operated on a historiographic level, as highlighted by the world formula of bacterial photosynthesis. It allowed for imaginations of the Early Earth and an Iron-Sulfur-World. In sum, collecting and cultivating are shown to be crucial pre-operations for operative bio-ontologies, exemplified by a case study on the German Collection of Microorganisms (DSMZ).

Christina Vagt: Predicting and Shaping or How to Close the Future

Behavioral design of so called »persuasive computer technologies« is the result of a merger between psychology, economics, and computer engineering. The article discusses its genealogy from the strategic response of military, governmental, and academic players to the general problem that the behavior of complex systems such as humans, societies, or markets is difficult to predict, and that controlling these complex systems means shaping them by designing their technological and social environments.

Adam Knowles: Martin Heidegger: Force, Violence and the Administration of Thinking

In 1929, Martin Heidegger announced a new fundamental term in his thinking: Wal- ten. Heidegger uses Walten to designate the primal ontological force of nature, but also brings it into connection with administration (Verwalten), specifically linking it to university administration. The article argues that in the Black Notebooks Heidegger develops a philosophical conception of administrative practice in the midst of his own administrative practice as university Rector in the era of Gleichschaltung.

Pauline Chasseray-Peraldi: Something that Disturbs: Encounters between Animals and Recording Optical Machines

Images of encounters between animals and drones or Google Street View cars are quite viral on the web. This article focuses on the different regimes of animacy and conflicts of affects in these images using an anthropo- semiotic approach. It investigates how other- ness reveals something that exceeds us, from the materiality of the machine to systems of values. It suggests that the disturbance of ani- mal presence in contemporary digital images helps us to read media technologies.

Ulrich Meurer: Invading/Inviting: From Surveillance to Byzantium

While border surveillance produces geopolitical realities and distinctions between types of human life, Richard Mosse’s video installation INCOMING (2017) uses a military high-grade thermal camera to challenge this onto-political project. Recording refugee camps and crossings via the Mediterranean into Europe, his techno-images’ specific mosaic structure, tactility, and luminous flatness evoke the visual mode of Byzantine icons, thus switching from a paranoid, invasive world/view to an economy of mediation and contact with the Other.