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Video Vortex Reader II: moving images beyond YouTube Editors: Geert Lovink and Rachel Somers Miles Copy Editor: Nicole Heber Design: Katja van Stiphout Cover Image: Team Thursday, Rotterdam Printer: Ten Klei, Amsterdam Publisher: Institute of Network Cultures, Amsterdam 2011 ISBN: 978-90-78146-12-4 Contact Institute of Network Cultures phone: +3120 5951866 fax: +3120 5951840 email: info@networkcultures.org web: http://www.networkcultures.org Order a copy of this book by sending an email to: books@networkcultures.org A PDF of this publication can be downloaded freely at: http://www.networkcultures.org/publications/inc-readers Join the Video Vortex mailing list at: http://www.listcultures.org Supported by: the School for Communication and Design at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (Hogeschool van Amsterdam DMCI). The Video Vortex Reader is produced as part of the Culture Vortex research program, which is supported by Foundation Innovation Alliance (SIA – Stichting Innovatie Alliantie). Thanks to Andreas Treske, Dan Oki, Bram Crevits and the Video Vortex Steering Committee for their valuable input and editorial support. Thanks to our Culture Vortex partners: MediaLAB Amsterdam, Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, Netherlands Media Art Institute, Virtueel Platform, VPRO, Amsterdam City Archives, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, IDFA, and the Urban Screens Association. (http://networkcultures.org/culturevortex/) Special thanks to all the authors for their contributions, and to Nicole Heber for her copy editing. This publication is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial No Derivative Works 3.0 Netherlands License. To view a copy of this license, visit: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/nl/deed.en No article in this reader may be reproduced in any form by any electronic or mechanical means without permission in writing from the author. EDITED BY GEE RT LO VI NK AND RACHE L SOME RS M IL ES IN C READE R #6 MOVING IMAGES BEYOND YOUTUBEReader IIVideo Vortex Video Vortex Reader II MOVING IM AGES BEYOND YOUTU BE2MOVING IM AGES BEYOND YOUTU BE3

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CONTENTS Geert Lovink Engage in Destiny Design: Online Video Beyond Hypergrowth: Introduction to Video Vortex Reader II THEO RY & AESTHETI CSStefan Heidenreich Vision Possible: A Methodological Quest for Online Video Andreas Treske Frames within Frames – Windows and Doors Robrecht Vanderbeeken Web Video and the Screen as a Mediator and Generator of Reality Vito Campanelli The DivX Experience Sarah Késenne Regarding the Sex, Lies and Videotapes of Others: Memory, Counter-Memory, and Mysti˜ed Relations IM AGES ON THE MOVE Gabriel Menotti Objets Propagés: The Internet Video as an Audiovisual Format Andrew Gryf Paterson From a Pull-down Screen, Fold-up Chairs, a Laptop and a Projector: The Development of Clip Kino Screenings, Workshops and Roles in Finland Jan Simons Between iPhone and YouTube: Movies on the Move? COLLE CTION CASE STUDIES Sandra Fauconnier Video Art Distribution in the Era of Online Video Evelin Stermitz ArtFem.TV: Feminist Artistic In˜ltration of a Male Net Culture Mél Hogan Crashing the Archive/Archiving the Crash: The Case of SAW Video™s Mediatheque Teague Schneiter Ethical Presentation of Indigenous Media in the Age of Open Video: Cultivating Collaboration, Sovereignty and Sustainability ASIA ONLINE David Teh The Video Agenda in Southeast Asia, or, ‚Digital, So Not Digital™ Ferdiansyah Thajib, Nuraini Juliastuti, Andrew Lowenthal and Alexandra Crosby A Chronicle of Video Activism and Online Distribution in Post-New Order Indonesia Larissa Hjorth Still Mobile: Networked Mobile Media, Video Content and Users in Seoul 91325355161708195108126132147162178195The INC reader series are derived from conference contributions and produced by the Institute of Network Cultures. They are available in print and PDF form. Video Vortex Reader II is the sixth publication in the series. Previously published INC Readers :INC Reader #5: Scott McQuire, Meredith Martin and Sabine Niederer (eds), Urban Screens Reader , 2009. This reader is the ˜rst book to focus entirely on the topic of urban screens. Offering texts from a range of leading theorists to case studies on artist projects, as well as screen operators™ and curators™ experiences, this collection offers a rich resource for exploring the intersections of digital media, cultural practices and urban space. INC Reader #4: Geert Lovink and Sabine Niederer (eds), Video Vortex Reader: Responses to YouTube , 2008. This reader is a collection of critical texts dealing with the rapidly emerging world of online video Œ from its explosive rise in 2005 with YouTube, to its future as a signi˜cant form of personal media. INC Reader #3: Geert Lovink and Ned Rossiter (eds), MyCreativity Reader: A Critique of Creative Industries , 2007. This reader is a collection of critical research into the creative industries. The material develops out of the MyCreativity convention on International Creative Industries Re -search held in Amsterdam, November 2006. This two-day conference sought to bring the trends and tendencies around the creative industries into critical question. INC Reader #2: Katrien Jacobs, Marije Janssen and Matteo Pasquinelli (eds), C™LICK ME: A Netporn Studies Reader , 2007. This anthology collects the best material from two years of debate from ‚The Art and Politics of Netporn™ 2005 conference to the 2007 ‚C™LICK ME™ festival. The C™LICK ME reader opens the ˜eld of ‚internet pornology™, with contributions by academics, artists and activists. INC Reader #1: Geert Lovink and Soenke Zehle (eds), Incommunicado Reader , 2005. The Incommunicado Reader brings together papers written for the June 2005 conference ‚Incommunicado: Information Technology for Everybody Else™. The publication includes a CD-ROM of interviews with speakers. Download a free PDF of the readers from: www.networkcultures.org/publications/inc-readers Video Vortex Reader II MOVING IM AGES BEYOND YOUTU BE4MOVING IM AGES BEYOND YOUTU BE5

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TECHNOLOGI CAL APP ROA CHES Matthew Williamson Degeneracy in Online Video Platforms Andrew Clay Blocking, Tracking, and Monetizing: YouTube Copyright Control and the Downfall Parodies Tara Zepel Cultural Analytics at Work: The 2008 U.S. Presidential Online Video Ads Rachel Somers Miles Free, Open and Online: An Interview with Denis Roio aka Jaromil Alejandro Duque Streaming Counter Currents: ‚W.A.S.T.E™ POLITI CS & HUMAN RIGHTS Sam Gregory Cameras Everywhere: Ubiquitous Video Documentation of Human Rights, New Forms of Video Advocacy, and Considerations of Safety, Security, Dignity and Consent Elizabeth Losh Shooting for the Public: YouTube, Flickr, and the Mavi Marmara Shootings ONLINE VIDEO AR T Brian Willems Increasing the Visibility of Blindness: Natalie Bookchin™s Mass Ornament Natalie Bookchin and Blake Stimson Out in public: Natalie Bookchin in Conversation with Blake Stimson Linda Wallace non-western and garland Perry Bard When Film and Database Collide Cecilia Guida YouTube as a Subject: Interview with Constant Dullaart Rosa Menkman Glitch Studies Manifesto Albert Figurt The Thin Line Between On and Off: a (re:)cyclothymic exploration APPENDI CES Video Vortex Conferences Video Vortex III in Ankara Video Vortex IV in Split Video Vortex V in Brussels Video Vortex VI in Amsterdam Author Biographies 211219234250258268283293306318322330336348356372Video Vortex Reader II MOVING IM AGES BEYOND YOUTU BE6MOVING IM AGES BEYOND YOUTU BE7

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outcome of the above three scenarios, Video Vortex sends out a call to become platform- speci˜c. What are the unique characteristics of online video? Is it the ability to link and comment on such ˜les? Or rather the indifferent time and space coordinates of the visual experience? In his work An Introduction to Visual Culture , Nicholas Mirzoeff asks: Can the writing of the digital present and its implied futures only be accomplished by a counterhistory that refuses to tell a history of progress? How do we write a history of something that changes so fast it can seem like a full-time job keeping up, let alone learning the softwares? 2 In an age where the gap between subculture and Main St. has closed, the avant-garde can only respond to yesterday™s pop culture. Let™s investigate the myriad smartphones, notebooks, laptops, car LCD screens, ˚ip down monitors, portable video players, pocket PCs and handheld TVs. Beyond the often moralistic critique of gadget fetishism we need to upgrade and focus that which John Berger terms our ‚ways of seeing™, and start to describe what our contemporary culture actually consists of. We are simultaneously pro -ducing and consuming moving images wherever we are. Italian artist Albert Figurt has achieved this in his brilliant Notre Cam de Paris video. 3 We see tourists walking through the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, ˜lming and taking pictures. The video carefully observes the way the bodies of these camera laymen adjust themselves to the camera: arms moving and stretching in order to zoom in or out of the sculptures or glass windows they are trying to capture. Figurt makes us aware not only of the mass production of visual material but of the condition of the image as ˚exible techno-extension of the body. Instead of travelling to and from a visual experience, such as the cinema or PC on a desk, we watch a ˜lm in the subway, car or airplane to kill time Œ and intensify our everyday life. The long predicted ‚totale Mobilmachung™ of visual culture has ˜nally arrived. With the spreading of the videophone and MP4 players, the ˜lm-video-TV complex is now travel -ling with us and is becoming part of the intimate sphere of the Self. We carry the image device in our pockets, close to our body, and watch it within close range of our face. It is the intensity of this solitary watching whilst on the move, in bed, and at the kitchen table that is de˜ning the online video experience. So far it has not been the ‚live™ element that interests us here at Video Vortex. Live stream -ing, though technically within the realm of the possible, has not yet taken off. We watch clips, reports and movies in the time-space coordinates of our liking. Video has gone viral but has not yet deeply penetrated the social networking experience. Even embed -ded, video remains something outside that we recommend and ‚like™. The worlds of user- generated content and the Skype telephone system have not yet met, even though both of them have hundreds of millions of users. The radical banality of Chatroulette has also not yet been seen as a video input signal. We could blame this on the poor image quality and 2. Nicholas Mirzoeff, An Introduction to Visual Culture, 2nd edition, New York: Routledge, 2009, p. 241. 3. http://vimeo.com/18662693. 1) Because of their ˜nancial and legal muscle, television and ˜lm industries will create a coalition with the aim of marginalizing online video platforms such as YouTube. This will not be done by taking them of˚ine or through copyright court cases but by creating appealing online viewing applications that link the comfort of the home theatre with the mobility of smartphones. Easy-to-use payment systems and new models of advertising combined with internet ˜bres into home will do the trick. Online video as we know it right now is still too closely tied to the multitasking practices of the PC-bound computer user who, like a cybernetic commander, sits on a chair behind a desk. In this scenario online video is recognized as a disruptive technology-in-transition, that will nonetheless be unable to survive because its values are too deeply rooted in a white-male-geek cul -ture that doesn™t accommodate the busy lives of the billions who demand easy access to instant infotainment and seamless interfaces. 2) Following the rhetoric of heroism of the mighty battle of Old against New, many insiders believe online video will emerge as the great winner. Google, Facebook and Twitter are the media companies of the Web 2.0 era. But how will this corporate reality translate into future ownership of the visual? Cyber-evangelists emphasize the move away from dead content to interaction and aggregation. It is all about clicking, linking and liking, in short, ‚the social™ that generates value. The more visual material aligns itself with users by facilitating ‚clouds of meaning™, as YouTube and Flickr do, the more they will dominate the future media markets. The parasitic strategy which promotes ‚free™ and ‚open™ helps us to navigate the plenitude of images. The result is a culture of indiffer -ence towards retro-futurism. It no longer matters if content is old or new, as long as we exchange our micro-impressions. 3) In the third scenario we are already in the midst of a Hundred Years Civil War between platforms and corporations competing for the user™s attention. As a never-ending event of non-compatibility and built-in obsolescence, we live in this techno-media drama as an epos without clear winners Œ unless the overall picture radically changes. Right now, market expansion in all directions is still possible through ‚emerging™ markets in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. But this spectacular growth might fool us. The Attention War is real. We all participate by making choices Œ and contribut -ing our micro-data to online video (or not) is only one of many platforms to which we dedicate our time. Online video is merely a manifestation of hardware, software and network con˜gurations, an endless helical chain of codecs, protocols and models that generates its own ‚auto poetic™ aesthetics. In this case, ‚new media™ will co-exist next to television and ˜lm for some time to come. Digital convergence will only happen on a back of˜ce level. Concepts such as cross, trans, locative or geo media will be only short-lived business memes. In this Machiavellian view, media have no ‚telos™. It is all about power and resourcesŠa cynical play that most idealistic and utopian new media actors do not know about, or want to respond to. This reader will offer clues that point in various directions, from comparative platform stud -ies to a theory of windows and frames. Beyond theorizing possibilities, the texts found here move towards the description of concrete artworks and case studies. Regardless of the Video Vortex Reader II MOVING IM AGES BEYOND YOUTU BE10 MOVING IM AGES BEYOND YOUTU BE11

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VISION POSS IBL E: A METHO DOLOGI CA L QUEST FO R ONLI NE V ID EO STEFAN HEID EN REICH Beginnings Early Cinema Beginnings are delusive. When the Lumière brothers invented cinema, they were in a hurry Œ and not only because so many others were about to come up with the same idea. In fact, one year before their famous ˜rst screening in 1895, short movie clips were already on dis -play in Edison™s slot-machines, and Edison™s engineer William Dickson had even proposed projecting these moving images. This could be considered another origin of moviemaking. But the story of cinema took another turn than that which the Lumière brothers anticipated. They were convinced that the moving image would become just another of the short-lived spectacles seen at fairs and markets. Their business idea consisted of the simple plan to reach as many areas as possible with traveling teams before competitors could show up, and before the attention of the public shifted to another attraction. So they conceived an incredible apparatus designed to record, develop, and project the short clips. They trained their cameramen and sent them out to all parts of the globe. That is the reason why there are so many very early ˜lms from different places on earth. But when the cinema became a big industry, the Lumière brothers were caught by surprise and dropped out. Very soon after the Lumières™ ˜rst movie projectors were set up in theatres, people started to screen programs of short clips. During the early years, cinema underwent considerable changes, not only aesthetically but also in the way movies were produced. The famous turn from documentaries to ˜ction is closely linked to demand surpassing supply. This, in turn, led to a wave of professionalization. Soon, early cinema looked like a clumsy predecessor of the smooth continuity introduced by the editing technology to come. Early YouTube Given the unpredictable history of moving images, can the history of early cinema teach us anything about the future of online video? The speed of globalization and the short duration of the early movies due to technical constraints are two of many characteristics shared by early online video and early cinema. Plenty of formal similarities can be found, from the short formats to the focus of attractions and mishaps. There are even similarities between the different genres assembled in the programs of early cinema and YouTube™s classi˜cations. 1 But mere comparison can be a trap, because the early phase of cinema did not disclose much about what happened to its future. Contrary to the assumptions of 1. See in detail Corinna Müller, ‚Variationen des Kinopgramms. Filmform und Filmgeschichte™, in Corinna Müller and Harro Segeberg (eds), Die Modellierung des Kino˜lms , Munich, 1998, p. 43. the high drop-out rate, but more likely it is the single media ideology (in this case recorded video signals) most of us are encapsulated by that prevents us from making the perverse connections that are overlooked by business engineers. During the ˜rst years of online video research, most attention was dedicated to Henry Jenkins™ uncritical appraisal of ‚participatory culture™, and to the ‚cult of the amateur™ response. Despite the criticism supplied by ˜gures such as Cass Sunstein, Andrew Keen and Jaron Lanier, the ‚most watched™ logic is still dominant in the academic cultural stud -ies approaches. Instead of deploying pessimistic judgements against optimistic marketeer talk, it could be more interesting to closely investigate the messy online reality. In the early 1970s Jean Baudrillard de˜ned mass media as ‚speech without response™. These days, messages only exist if they are indexed by search engines, retweeted with shortened URLs, forwarded through emails and RSS feeds, liked at Facebook, recommended through Digg or, we must not forget, commented on the page itself. Media without response seem to be unthinkable. The second Video Vortex Reader takes you to this second stage of the online video experience. Enjoy! REFERENCESBaudrillard, Jean. Cool Memories: Volume 1 , trans. Chris Turner, London; New York: Verson, 1990. Mirzoeff, Nicholas. An Introduction to Visual Culture, 2nd edition, New York: Routledge, 2009. Video Vortex Reader II MOVING IM AGES BEYOND YOUTU BE12 13 THEO RY & AESTHETI CS

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restrictive mode of understanding only, and separates itself from practice. In fact, the present situation almost obliges the humanities to overcome the division between interpretation and production. 3 Media TheoryIn the mid-1980s, most likely at the peak of technological diversity amongst analogue, half- digital and fully digital new media, the traditional humanities in Germany were disrupted by a new focus on technology. Regrettably, what had the potential to lead us out of the trap of a backwards-looking orientation and the split between theory and production soon fell prey to the usual course of academic trends. Less than ten years after Friedrich Kittler introduced the new approach to German literature studies, he was forced to acknowledge the ubiquitous presence of the term ‚media™. 4 Subsequently, the initial impulse was lost in the operational procedures of academic administration. The term media turned into a discretionary keyword without theoretical speci˜city, but with the powerful promise of generating money for re -search. And most of the books considering media theory fell back onto an intellectual terrain from which Kittler had initially tried to depart. 5 The philological method of interpretation and the self-restriction to history prevailed. That is the main reason why media theory rarely had much to say about media after 1950, let alone the internet. 6 Yet, Kittler™s initial impulse would have allowed for something more. The backbone of this approach was Kittler™s newly established cross-breeding of Foucault™s discourse analysis with a media theory as envisioned by Marshall McLuhan. Foucault focuses on epistemological and institutional settings and investigates ˜gures or phenomena such as the author, the gaze, or the archive, according to their rules and practices. Technology remained a ˜eld which Foucault almost entirely excluded from his considerations. But the general approach of discourse analysis allows media and materiality to re-enter the picture. This is the use that Kittler makes of McLuhan™s theory of technology. By stating that ‚the medium is the message™, McLuhan claims that any content may primarily ful˜ll the conditions of a speci˜c technologi -cal setup. In that sense, McLuhan™s approach resembles the perspective of Foucault, with the only difference being that the Canadian sociologist speaks of technology whereas the French philosopher speaks about discourse. Both meet in questioning the conditions for the existence of a statement, or of information.One of the most striking failures of the theoretical approach of subsequent media theory was its inability to recognize the upcoming importance of the internet in the 1990s. Instead, most of the disciples of media theory bothered merely with technical considerations concerning the progress of computing powers. This led to the delusion that simulation would lead the 3. The recent cuts in the funding of U.K. universities speak a clear language here. How to react to that, remains in question. 4. Friedrich Kittler, Aufschreibsysteme 1800/1900 , München: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 1995, p. 523. 5. See Friedrich Kittler, Austreibung des Geistes aus den Geisteswissenchaften , Paderborn: UTB Einleitung, 1980, pp. 7-13. 6. Geert Lovink develops this point in Zero Comments : Elemente einer kritischen Internetkultur, trans. Andreas Kallfelz, Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag, 2008, p.145. some media theorists, these initial moments Œ ‚Urszenen™ Œ do not reveal much about the future. Therefore, one might rather need to ask: What are the lies early YouTube is trying to tell us about the coming of online video? One fact seems certain: in the decades ahead, our contemporary online video culture and its gadgets will look as clumsy as early cinema appeared in comparison to what followed. In hindsight, all early ˜lms look like predecessors and incomplete exercises. If this is what we can learn from the comparison of early cinema and early YouTube, the main task consists of anticipating possible perspectives from which to look back to our present situation. Method After Interpretation When investigating culture, one is accustomed to engaging in a process of interpretation. When researchers write about works of art, literature, theatre, music, or cinema they add layers of comments. They try to understand. But understanding is a strange activity. It requires something to be understood, and so it seems naturally to direct attention towards the past. Rituals of understanding seem to be tied to history. But historicization itself, as just one of many models of organizing an archive, spread to all kinds of disciplines only around 1800. 2 Throughout the 19th century, the memory and historicization of cultural heritage constitutes one of the crucial steps in establishing a legitimate national identity. This shift is accompanied by another crucial turn concerning the invention of the subject in the modern sense. Institutional rituals of understanding were always grounded on the assumption of a divide between the ˜gure of the creator and the passive believer. This divide reappeared under different names: artist vs. beholder, author vs. reader, god vs. believer. However, the divide has not been as wide at all times, and in relation to all institu -tions. Before 1750, the disciplines later to be replaced by the humanities taught rhetoric, dialectics, and grammar, which meant teaching to read and to write at the same time. When the humanities in the modern sense were established around 1800 they followed the exegetic model of theology. Ever since, it has been taken for granted that artists do not understand, whilst academics don™t know how to write or paint or make music. And to return to the question of the subject, a term which had meant a person sub-jected to the state™s power, now entered the scene of illumination and had to be educated in the newly devised read-only-mode. The split between writing and reading eventually came to be viewed as an achievement of the academic reforms in the 18th century. From then on, academic education had to serve the institutional needs of the newly built nation states, shaping their cultural identity and providing for apt bureaucrats. The aesthetic education so emphatically favored by Schiller turned into a governmental effort. However, the discursive control enforcing the separation of practice and theory has weakened signi˜cantly in the last decade. With the declining power of the states one has to ask why we continue to have a cultural theory that follows the 2. See Michel Foucault, The Order of Things : An Archaeology of the Human Sciences, London: Routledge, 2002, pp. 235-240. Video Vortex Reader II MOVING IM AGES BEYOND YOUTU BE14 15 THEO RY & AESTHETI CS

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bricoleur who was active on both sides of the divide, as exempli˜ed by Daguerre, Edison, or more recent ˜gures such as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg. 8Separating the two discursive ˜elds of the social and the technological comes with the advan – tage of being able to observe both without interference. From this axiom, it follows that there is not something one could call a social use of media. Whatever social activities unfold in and through media essentially constitute a mis-use; or in other words, a practice contradicting the initial phantasies or purposes of technology. Far from postulating a strict technological determinism, the assumption of a technological a priori only prepares the ground upon which a great variety of data can circulate. 9 Instead of starting with a social a priori , one is able to describe the social sphere as a result of technologically shaped communication. Therefore media constitute the social sphere, and not the other way around. And media constitute a ˜eld of stability from which a coming environment can be imagined.Hermeneutic Circle, Opposite DirectionMost roads allow for two-way traf˜c. The hermeneutic circle is no exception to that rule. One always has to enter the circle from a given present situation, with a certain intention and with prejudices about what is to be understood. 10 In the circle we go back and forth between the whole and the particular, the single work and its environment, and the work of art and the historical situation it ˜nds itself in. In doing so, we aim to understand both better, and in the end also our own situation. Driving this circle backwards would involve reference to works to come, in their singularity as much as in their environment. Of course, the work does not yet exist; all we can do is to imagine it as a possible outcome. In order to facilitate that, one needs to anticipate an environment in which it could appear and survive. But this coming environment needs to be imagined, just as imagination is required to reconstruct the past.The point of departure remains the same. But what needs to be understood lies ahead. Future as well as past situations constitute a horizon for understanding. Going backwards through the hermeneutic circle, we still operate in front of the same horizon. Does the coming landscape differ from the one we left? We look at both from our present situation: as much as we imagine the horizon of the past in order to understand past works, we may imagine a horizon of coming possibilities. In the end it is us, writing and reading, who by imagination understand something about the present. Seen in hindsight from the possibilities ahead we 8. This of course contradicts Jonathan Crary™s claim that the invention of photography was pre˜gured by a turn of attention: ‚My contention is that a reorganization of the observer occurs in the nineteenth century before the appearance of photography™. Instead the argument would run the opposite way. It was the same use of technology that ˜rst created the conditions for the turn of attention towards the inner vision, as with Purkinje and Goethe, and then led to the random discovery of photography by various inventors at the same time. See Jonathan Crary, Techniques of the Observer , Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1990, p.14. 9. This argument connects to a recent trend of materialist approaches within philosophy. Similar problems are extensively discussed, especially regarding the term arche-fossil, an artifact preceding all human perception, in Quentin Meillassoux, After Finitude , London: Continuum, 2008, p. 16. 10. See Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method , London: Continuum, 1975, p. 270. way, with the replacement of reality by a still-to-be-de˜ned virtual world. Both the miscalcula -tions of the near future and the ignorance toward the internet were rooted in the fallacies of a simpli˜ed idea of linear historicity and the progress in computing power. When the expecta -tions of these theories proved inconsequential for the real world, most proponents withdrew to their academic careers, and returned to history, pre-history and an archaeology of media. After MediaMedia no longer determine our situation, as they did when Kittler ˜rst formulated his posi -tion. 7 This is not because they have lost their power to de˜ne. In fact, media have ceased to exist, at least in their plurality. There are not many media left, but only one medium, as different media have converged and fallen prey to a single network of computers. Therefore, the appearance of new media no longer continues to shape our situation. The media wars of the past are over. If we look at the basics of technology now, there is not much change ahead, and no diversity that would merit a closer theoretical observation. The current changes and developments are initiated by other factors like gadgets, network architectures, databases and applications. Despite this post-media situation, the original impulse of media theory as an approach that enhances discourse analysis with a perspective on technology can still provide for a valid methodological basis. Of course, this method still comes with its own assumptions. One of the most discussed points of medium theory was its so-called technological determinism. The argument as such is based mostly on a misunderstanding. Saying that media de˜ne our situation does not equal the statement that they completely determine it. De˜ning in this respect rather means giving a systematic background for a variety of possibilities. The situation resembles an ecological system, where the conditions of climate and terrain de˜ne an environment for very many different species. In the same sense a technological system provides an environment for many different types of data, formats and contents. On the other hand, early German media theory proposed a clear perspective on the relation of the social sphere to the media. At their fundamentals, the ˜eld of media were thought to be detached and independent from social activities. This is one of the core points at which media theory strictly separates itself from other related approaches, such as Bruno Latour™s actor-network-theory. It is well known that one can describe any type of media as socially con -structed. After all, technologies are invented, constructed, and built by humans. Therefore taking the media a priori seems to make a slightly unrealistic claim. However, considering the history of media, the claim can be supported by viewing the separation as an effect of a discursive break separating a discourse of technological invention from the social use later given to that invention. Historical evidence supports the claim that the discovery of a new technology was never dependent merely on human desire or social need, but mostly hap -pened within a different discursive ˜eld before being more generally applied. The decisive step to bridge the gap between technical research and social practice required the ˜gure of a 7. Kittler™s statement was that ‚Media determine our situation™. See Friedrich Kittler, Gramophone, Film, Typewriter , Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999, p.xxxix. Video Vortex Reader II MOVING IM AGES BEYOND YOUTU BE16 17 THEO RY & AESTHETI CS

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