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.
– juxtapositions whose seductiveness and continuing influence doubtless owe much to the work of figures like Marshall McLuhan and, especially, Friedrich Kittler.
Kittler was the key figure in the development of what has come to be known as ‘new German mediatheory’, often prefixed with the phrase ‘so-called’, indicating that the label really only has descriptive value outside German-speaking academia, and that in reality we are dealing with several different schools of thought (Horn, 2007 ; Winthrop-Young, Iurascu and Parikka, 2013 ). German mediatheory
Heterogeneous temporalities, algorithmic frames and subjective time in
mechanical reproduction of cultural artefacts that leads to a detachment from
tradition and authorship. He uses the example of film to explain how the new
medium introduced a new temporal structure leading to a shift in perception
from concentration to ‘[r]eception in the state of distraction’ (Benjamin, 1969:
240), well in line with the increased pace of mechanical industrial work and the
Half a century later, Friedrich Kittler makes the notion of new media forming
novel structures of space-time into an essential part of his mediatheory. In his
while Marianne reads
to him from her notebook in Scenes from a Marriage (1973), the
book Isak reads to the children in Fanny and Alexander , and so
on. All the same, I will focus on a book that is not just any book, but
the ‘book of books’. Although there are probably already
too many analyses of The Seventh Seal , I will venture to offer
one more. Despite the large number of interpretations, few critics seem
to address the fact that The Seventh Seal is also a film about
mediatheory, and, more specifically
transport of data through fibre-optic networks.
Of course, as Bernhard Siegert (2011: 14) notes, a mediatheory of mapping
cannot understand the map as a mere representation in its own right; conversely, it should instead be ‘concerned with the way changes in cartographic
procedures give rise to various orders of representation’, arguing that ‘[i]nstead
of representing cultural predispositions’, the map is ‘their very basis of production’. To map trade routes in the fashion described above is not merely
to re-present a pre-existing reality, formed in the shifts and
.forensicarchitecture.org/case/drone-strikes/ (accessed 4 December 2017).
See Brian Eno’s argument in his essay ‘The big here and long now’ (Eno, 2004).
Ironically, urban theorising moves away from place-based container views towards
a networked epistemology of cityness (e.g. Brenner and Schmid, 2015), and mediatheory after the ‘spatial turn’ becomes increasingly location-specific and situational.
Yet common ground remains shaky.
Adam, B. (1990) Time and Social Theory. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Temple University Press.
Adam, B. (2008) Of timespaces, futurescapes and timeprints. [Online] Available at
Reading practices and participation in digital and medieval media
to inform the history of books and reading with the approaches
of contemporary digital mediatheory and criticism. As the critic
Thomas Pettitt has suggested when arguing for the idea of a
‘Gutenberg Parenthesis’, in which pre- and post-print media
share more in common with each other than either does with print
media, medieval literature and modern digital culture intersect
in a variety of ways. As I trace these historical intersections of
medieval and digital media studies through participatory practices,
I show how experiences now perceived as characteristic
uses the notion of ‘image’ in order to tackle the basic problem of a simplified mediatheory which draws a sharp distinction between technical apparatus and content or, in more traditional terms, between form and content (Uhlmann, 2006 ). Nevertheless, the concept of media seems to be helpful for understanding Deleuze's claim. One can, of course, define the medium as a device for representation, as technical apparatus, as a system of symbols or as an interplay between representation, symbols and apparatus. Beckett, however, has subtracted from theatre, radio, film
Beckett’s media mysticism in and beyond Rough for Theatre II
, which denoted a courier in the ancient Persian postal network, an early relay system of message delivery. The play builds on this etymology, which already contains the germ of a mediatheory: ‘Angels remain in a medial position; […] they are messengers’ with a ‘relay function, […] they are switchpoints’ (Vismann, 2008 , 88). Or, as Michel Serres argues in his book which sets out to explicate the concept of mediation on the model of angelic contact, ‘communication, interference, transmissions […] work in the same way as angels’ (Serres, 1995 , 43), either connecting