Armin Medosch's blog

More Lennon than Lenin: Imaginal Machines by Stevphen Shukaitis


It is not often that left-wing politics is associated with attributes such as humour and wit. Stevphen Shukaitis' book Imaginal Machines (2009) is not only abundant with it but shows that certain strands of imaginative revolutionary politics in the 20th century were also endowed with those precious qualities. This journey through the radical imagination of the left, written in a compelling and entertaining style, is definitely worth a read for everybody interested in radical and antagonistic politics.

Technological Determinism in Media Art (republished)

The most influential discourse on media art up to and around 1995 uncritically based itself on techno-science and the techno-imaginary which it creates. It offers a technologically deterministic interpretation of the relationship between societies and social change. This discourse was successful in institution building and is still very influential today, even though its foundations can shown to be problematic. This is the essence of my 2005 MA thesis on "Technological Determinism in Media Art" which I republish here due to difficulties with my old site.

Review: Labor and Monopoly Capital. The Degradation of Work in the Twentieth Century, by Harry Braverman


Special tag: 

This excellent book by Harry Braverman revolves around the main thesis, that labour in the 20th century has become 'degraded'. The combined effects of mechanization, scientific management and other control techniques allowed management to wrest control from workers and enforce, under ever changing circumstances, alienating practices onto workers across all industries, including office and service jobs.

On Periodisation: Some thoughts on waves of techno-economic and cultural change


Following on to Brian's listserv post, I would like to add a few more points on periodisation. Although Kondratieff cycles or long waves do play a role here, the intention is not an in-depth discussion of the long wave theory. The intention is rather to create a foundation for a narrative that describes the second half of the 20th century as an interplay of economic, political, technological and cultural forces, seeking out turning points that allow to identify specific characteristics of techno-economic changes as an explanatory framework for specific cultural or artistic phenomena, such as participatory media and / or media art and technology practices.

45 Revolutions Per Minute (media history on heavy rotation)


This text riffs on the theme of revolutions thereby referring less to the political act of one class wrestling power from another one but rather to cycical motions caused by the interplay of industrial, scientific, cultural and political motive forces. This approach challenges the prevailing viewpoint according to which class struggle has been replaced by media technologies as the subject of history in technologically advanced free-market democracies. Instead, it tries to develop a more complex understanding of the forces that shape history by working out the dialectical relationship between technological rationality as a means of power and domination and as a means of human emancipation at the same time.

Notes on "The Postmodern Condition, A Report on Knowledge"

The Postmodern Condition, A Report on Knowledge, by Francois Lyotard, first published in French in 1979, was not the first book to carry the word postmodern in its title, but probably one of the most influential ones in the long term, with both its warnings and sometimes its overly optimistic assumptions about the future of knowledge in a computerised society. Reading it now what is perplexing is the rather one-sided reception it has got. While Lyotard's critique of meta-narratives and the proposed switch to language games has characterised the postmodern debate, his ambiguity about the development of science and the university under the condition of neoliberalism appears to have been given much less consideration by his followers.

How We Became Post-Modern

Notes on Das Altern der Moderne1124 by Peter Bürger. Peter Bürger, Professor emeritus for literature and aesthtic theory, author of the Theory of the Avant-Garde1123, a seminal text in art theory of the 20th century, in this collection of articles written between 1983 and 2000, re-examines some of the main concepts already at the heart of his earlier work, such as the difference between Modernism and the avant-garde, the historic avant-garde's often repeated ambition of bringing art and life together, and what constitutes the failure as well as the success of those movements. While the hopes of the historic avant-garde of permanent transformations of the social world were not rewarded, avant-garde ideas, slogans, strategies and aesthetic methodologies of the Futurists, dadaists and Surrealists have found a permanent place in the cultural 'history' by having entered the endless recycling relationships of contemporary culture via popular culture. Slightly different the case, then with Modernism, because it never had, or purpoted not to have, such a strong social agenda, yet here the name of the art movement is identical with the name of an age: modernity. In this respect, Bürger asks the fascinating question about the aging of modernity and how we became postmodern (or not).

Notes on Bauhaus: Community of Creative Workers

In this text a collection of notes on the book Bauhaus (1999), by Jeannine Fiedler and Peter Feierabend (editors) and in particular the introduction Bauhaus - geschichtlich by Andreas Haus, is used as a starting point for further reasonings about the ideas and motivations of the historic avant-garde in general and Bauhaus in particular, and why that matters for contemporary practices. Key issues are the development of arts and arts and crafts within an increasingly industrial economy, art/-isanal working methodologies and relationships with science and new technologies, and the notion of the artistic or artisianal community as a driver of social change.

"Die Zeit" und die "intellektuelle Finsternis"


Die sogenannte Heidelberger Erklärung und die Kampagne namhafter deutschsprachiger Medien gegen Open Access und Google Books verrät nicht nur ihre Arroganz und Borniertheit gegenüber neuen Formen der Produktion und Dissemination von Kultur und Wissen, sondern offenbart auch anti-liberale, autoritäre Züge - die bürgerlichen Medien haben ihre liberalen Wurzeln wohl vergessen oder verdrängt. Die "intellektuelle Finsternis", die von FAZ und Die Zeit auf Grund der "unheimlichen Kräfte" des Internet befürchtet wird, ist bereits da und von ihnen selbst mitverschuldet. Was jedoch wirklich gebraucht wird, anstatt drakonischer Urteile und Netzsperren, sind neue Wege der Vergütung kultureller Produktion, die an den etablierten, im Niedergang befindlichen Instanzen vorbei gehen.

Thenextlayer at Getting Published Tuesday 28th April


Getting Published Tuesday 28th April

This panel discussion will bring together a range of speakers who will
highlight different routes into getting published within and external to
academia. It will be followed by a discussion around the benefits and
challenges inherent in these routes in particular in relation to new
possibilities afforded by new media/ web 2.0.

Chaired by Kenneth Armstrong, Professor of Law, Queen Mary, University of
London. Speakers include:


Subscribe to RSS - Armin Medosch's blog