Featuring twelve original essays by leading Beckett scholars and media theorists, this book provides the first sustained examination of the relationship between Beckett and media technologies. The chapters analyse the rich variety of technical objects, semiotic arrangements, communication processes and forms of data processing that Beckett’s work so uniquely engages with, as well as those that – in historically changing configurations – determine the continuing performance, the audience reception, and the scholarly study of this work. Greatly enlarging the scope of earlier discussions, the book draws on a variety of innovative theoretical approaches, such as media archaeology, in order to discuss Beckett’s intermedial oeuvre. As such it engages with Beckett as a media artist and examine the way his engagement with media technologies continues to speak to our cultural situation.
In this chapter anti-computing is introduced, being explored from two connected directions. First it is defined as a series of dissenting responses to computerization, and its social or cultural impacts which have arisen since the 1950s are identified. What these share is that that they refuse the powerful and teleologically inspired myth that computational progress automatically constitutes progress in general, or in common. Dissent takes heterogeneous forms, operates in different registers, and rarely fully succeeds, since digitalization continues to expand its reach globally and at expanding scales – but it persists and rearises, older arguments finding new salience in relation to developing events. Responding to this anti-computing is elaborated as a critical theoretical approach drawing on media archaeology, media theory, and media history, constituting a means through which computational dissent, found ‘on the ground’ or ‘in theory’ can be explored. In the final third of the chapter this approach begins to be operationalized; a series of provisional taxonomies of anti-computing being generated and briefly explored.
media demand social and cultural histories. Making this case she is essentially mapping an established ‘mediahistory’ approach, critical of populist hero histories but also of what it discerns as forms of reductive technological determinism, onto ‘new’ digital mediahistory. Gitelman's work is representative of a form of mediahistory that critiques technological abstraction whilst demonstrating an awareness of medium operations. Another example is found in Kate Lacey's ( 2013 ) work on early radio, which fuses sound studies with institutional histories. Both
Zealand and Canadian personnel in Britain 1946–1952’, MediaHistory 11:3 ( 2005 ).
Albert Moran, Projecting Australia:
Australian Government Film Since 1945 (Sydney: Currency Press,
1991 ), p. 2; Jo Fox, ‘John Grierson, his
“Documentary Boys” and the British Ministry of Information
Beckett's ‘media works’ in the conventional sense, which is not to say that the readings themselves are conventional. Still concerned with the relationship between theatre and broadcast media, Pim Verhulst (Chapter 6), drawing on Anna McMullan's work, shows how Beckett's encounter with radio changed his ideas about drama in general, and embodiment in particular, in his later work for the stage. Re-examining this transformation through the notions of remediation and intermediality, Verhulst's analysis chimes nicely with Harries's critique of a mediahistory pursued ‘as a
we may be deceiving ourselves [if we] contrast
too sharply authentic memory with inauthentic (media-) history.
A new authenticity may be in the making . . . When we ask:
‘Do you remember the day Kennedy was shot?’, do we
not actually mean ‘Do you remember the day you watched
Kennedy being shot all day on the television?’ . . . Or
after the Challenger
been gender history, mediahistory, and studies of systems of power
and organisational systems. The chronological focus has shifted,
and the modern era has been brought into focus. Several analysts,
among them Sylvia Paletschek, have connected this reawakening
within university history to the radical changes in academic reality
around the year 2000. In Germany, in addition, the experiences of
two dictatorships have led to a need for a historical reckoning, a
kind of academic Vergangenheitsbewältigung (approx. ‘coming to
terms with the past’). The many studies of the
– the massive consolidation of the world picture in Heidegger's sense. Endgame is part of Beckett's ongoing critique of the solidity of that picture.
Its breakdown in the plays is the negative image of its power outside them.
Beckett's theatre is the negative staging of the media surrounding it. This has consequences for the theory of media, and in particular for the paired histories of thinking of Beckett's theatre as specific to its medium and of media
Ensuring adolescent knowledge and access to healthcare in the age of Gillick
Hannah J. Elizabeth
Medicine: Department of Public
Health and Policy, November 1996), pp. 4–5.
Ibid., p. 4.
Adrian Bingham, ‘Newspaper Problem Pages and British Sexual
Culture since 1918’, MediaHistory , vol. 18, no. 1 (2012), pp. 51–63,
at p. 53.
Ann Blair and Daniel Monk, ‘Sex Education and the Law in
England and Wales: The Importance of Legal Narratives’, in Lutz D. H. Sauerteig and
Roger Davidson (eds), Shaping
the anti-computing league coincides with (contributes to) rising awareness of the social consequences of automation in the UK, and specifically to anxiety around the computerization of everyday life, and perhaps of ‘life’ itself.
The second aim emerges with the realization that this is a medium history. It is this both in terms of its content – Matusow, like McLuhan, was an early media operator – and because it challenges overly linear genealogies of mediahistory that emphasize, to the exclusion of all else, a shift from