Wolfgang Ernst: Temporalizing Presence and »Re-Presencing« the Past
Temporalizing Presence and »Re-Presencing« the Past
(S. 145 – 159)

The Techno-Traumatic Affect

Wolfgang Ernst

Temporalizing Presence and »Re-Presencing« the Past
The Techno-Traumatic Affect

PDF, 15 Seiten

I Media-Induced Affect and Trauma

Traumatic memory from within technological media

In the context of well-known phenomenological analysis of human experience of presence, the media-archaeological approach focuses on micro-technologically induced (re-)presencing. Traumatic irritations of temporal experience arise from frictions, from the intrusion of real timing into the symbolical order of cultural time. Media-induced chrono-affects are time-critical, choque-like escalations of temporal sensation. They are equivalents to Marcel Proust’s notion of mémoire involontaire, which refers rather to what is known as transients in signal engineering than to narrative experience. The time-critical momentum as Leitmotiv in Proust’s A la recherche du temps perdu looks contingent but can be identified to be indexical of a hidden chrono-sensation. A specific affect of temporality arises from the medium itself; against any anthropocentric fixation, this is its real technological message. While G. W. F. Hegel considers the process of digestive remembrance to be the mental interiorization of the past (Er-Innerung) which is supported by the symbolic order of historiographical narrative, Walter Benjamin concentrates on involuntary memory that makes the subjective sense of temporality implode and dislocates the orderly concept of history. In his well-known essay on The Work of Art in the Age of Reproduction (1936), he coined the term “physical shock” as subliminal perception of the cinematographical image.1 Different from the photographically fixed moment in time, the affective momentum in cinematographic image sequences is temporal movement – thus close to the phonographic voice. Whereas a single image can endure motionless, a recorded sound cannot.

“Presence” in its fleeting character has long proved resistant to being captured by scientific analysis. Faced with the impenetrable difficulty of recording ephemeral cultural articulations, humanities have largely focused on written texts, just like musicians have largely focused on notes instead of sound. With the emergence of signal recording media like photography, phonograph, cinematography, magnetic tape and finally digital recording, however, technical media allow for “archiving presence,” resulting in an unforeseen disposal of micro-temporalities both in experience and for analysis – time shiftings and time axis manipulations. There are specific media-induced ways of regenerating presence, of “re-presencing”2 which – while apparently having been smoothly integrated into everyday cultural practice – still result in perceptual shocks which the cultural unconscious has not yet fully digested.

Due to the formerly evanescent nature of its object, the study of presence has become inseparable from the study of its recording media which mold human sensation of presence: analogue signal-recording media and more recently digital signal-processing (DSP chip based) are provided with a specific power to evoke the affective temporal experience. Recording technology made it possible for the first time to store, repeat, and manipulate presence. An escaping moment – the physical signal – thus became an object that could be replicated and analyzed.

The traditional textual archive has been technologically challenged by non-alphabetical media recording, starting with photography and the phonograph, not only allowing for simply “archiving” presence in the symbolical mode, but for restoring presence on the affective, signal-based level of perception. The different ways of storage thus result in different ways of restoring presence both in individual and collective memory. Collections of recorded sound and vision are fast emerging as vital records of cultural memory. With a focus on the ways presence is being a(r)chi(e)ved both within human cognition and with technological media, a reverse aspect turns up: the phenomenon that storage media can re-create the affect of presence in human temporal perception. The analysis thus zooms between the technological and the phenomenological domain.

The notion of techno-traumatic presence refers to the specific coupling of testimony and media, and more generally to re-presencing as timing effect caused by signal recording and data-processing technologies. The basic assumption is that symbolical or technical inscription of traumatic temporal experience is not only bound to specific historical situations like wars or accidents but also already rooted within the technicity of media themselves. The methods developed within the context of traditional trauma studies differ from the techno-traumatic research operated by media archaeology. Whereas studies like Thomas Elsaesser’s Terror and Trauma focus on traumatic Holocaust memory and their post-traumatic transformation by public performative media (notably in postwar German film), the media-archaeological approach shifts attention to an even more fundamental level of operativity, focusing on traumatic affects as immediate functions of the technological pre-conditions. When coupled to human sensation, these electronic and algorithmic media operations result in specific temporalities. From the photographic punctum whose affective temporal indexicality is a direct function of photosensitive chemicals, or from the cultural choque induced by the first recordings and replay of voices by the Edison phonograph, to the modeling of the human unconsciousness according to binary machinic logics (as declared by Jacques Lacan), the traumatic irritations of the formerly accustomed cultural sense of temporality springs from the technological condition.

Traditional and posthuman understanding of affect

Media archaeology describes non-discursive practices within the techno-cultural archive, while media phenomenologists analyze how phenomena in various media appear to the human cognitive apparatus, that is, to the mind and senses.3 Deleuze identifies affect as the becoming nonhuman of humans just like a technological function.4 Such an insight is techno-traumatic indeed: Maurice Blanchot interprets Homer’s Siren motive in the Odyssee as the traumatic experience of the beauty of the human voice resulting from monsters. Such sonic signals and their contemporary versions (artificial voices) address the human nervous system directly – a sensation “that exists in itself and reveals a state of becoming-nonhuman.”5

The cybernetic assumption of co-originality of signal processing in animals and machines6 resulted in human-machine systems which extended the self-regulatory control function of organisms in order to adapt it to new environments by incorporating exogeneous components. This counts for the temporal coupling of humans and chrono-technologies as well. Once human sensation is tightly coupled to a technical medium, it is subject to its technological temporalities. The affordance (Heidegger’s Zuhandenheit) of new time technologies not only shapes but generates temporal consciousness. This affective temporality is of a different kind than the well-defined discursive separation between presence and past, actuality and history. The temporal affect is connected to the Lacanean “real” as a temporeal(ity) with its proper chrono-quality.

The micro-temporal momentum

A materialist understanding of affective regimes stems largely from nineteenth-century physiology and experimental psychology with its variety of scientific and experimental measurements of the capacities deeply embedded in the body of perception. “In other words, there is a media-archaeological side to the notion of affect as well.”7

Since photography (as the first technical medium in its modern sense), the sense-affective, presence-generating power of signal-based media cuts short the distance which has always been the prerequisite for historical analysis, in favor of mnemonic immediacy – the “electric” shock. Technologically induced micro-affective moments escalated with the rupture between mechanical cinematography and electronic (analogue) images: “With film, the brain does not ‘fill in’ the images on the screen – it fills in the motion between images. With television, the brain must fill in (or recall) 999.999 percent of the image at any given moment, since the full image is never present on the screen.”8 The “given moment” becomes time-data. This corresponds with Caruth’s definition of the trauma as lacuna (as opposed to Freudian “desire”). Absence is being micro-temporalized, towards the tempo-real. “While the concept of information itself implies the possibilities of storage and retrieval (as in computer technology), the notion of such storage is, for television, largely an alien idea. […] Reused images […] undermine the appeal to the ‘live’ and the instantaneous which buttresses the news.”9

It is not time as a general term which affects the subject; it is the accidentality of time which is the form or rather dynamis of affect – different from spatial endurance. Affect is not only a mode of temporal experience, but itself a radically time-critical form of sensation. According to Brian Massumi, affect precedes consciousness within human signal-processing, as can be demonstrated by registering an electric impulse on the skin.10 Thus a disruptive gap between affective and conscious (“thoughtful”) perception of one and the same micro-event takes place, resulting in an affective/cognitive dissonance – the traumatic tempo-momentum. For Massumi, the “missing half-second” is not a lack, but a redundancy: “pastness opening onto a future, but with no present to speak of. For the present is lost with the missing half-second, passing too quickly to be perceived, too quickly, actually, to have happened.”11 The tempo-real manifests itself in the time-critical field. The affective experience of temporal presence and past is a signature of modernity, which according to Charles Baudelaire is experienced as transitory, volatile and contingent12 – just as it is implemented in electronic circuits.

Theodor W. Adorno in his fragmentary writing Current of Music describes the “radio voice” which creates a strong feeling of immediate presence. “It may make the radio event appear even more present than the live event”13 – a form of hyper-presence, which in the age of digital signal processing, is being succeeded by real-time: “This feeling of presence necessarily means a feeling of immediacy, too. There is no gap and no mediation between the time something is going on and the time at which you are listening to it.”14

Hermann von Helmholtz detected that the run-time (the speed of propagation) of signals in the motoric nerves of a frog counts at around 24 meter/sec. This speed recalls a synchronization problem within humans, when technical audio-visual synchronicity might lead to irritation when compared to physical signal run-times in real nature;15 a lightning stroke is seen more immediately than the accompanying thunder is heard. For the temporal domain of human perception, the media psychologist Hertha Sturm once experimentally explored that while every day perception always includes a slight temporal delay of reaction involving a kind of inner speech (“subvokales Ansprechen”),16 electronic media force their audience into immediate affection. Immediate media interfaces deprive humans of their natural chance of delayed perception.17 Does nothing or everything happen within this half-second? Electronic immediacy, the almost missing micro-temporal gap, is comparable to the essential “time of non-reality” (Norbert Wiener) in digital switching between zero and one.18 There is asynchronicity in signal processing time regarding humans on the one hand and electronic machines on the other, a difference in phase delay of signal transfer between technology and human physiology. But quasi-technological timing can be detected within human neuroprocessing itself, a kind of chrono-engineering. Preemptive activity is what apparently is stimulated in the pre-frontal cortex of the brain which does not simply react to incoming sensations but time-critically tends to anticipation (familiar from the difference between “live” and “real-time” signal transmission within communication media).

(Mass-)media-induced “Trauma”

Let us define trauma in the present context as the kind of shock in temporal experience which has not yet been or cannot be digested by smooth memorization whatsoever and cannot be contained by historical discourse (narrative ordering of sequential time). Trauma according to Sigmund Freud refers to stimulations from outside which are strong enough to break the internal stimulus protection (“Reizschutz”).19 On the level of so-called “collective memory,” the symbolic order of history is then unable to shelter discourse against rivaling temporal affects by their narrative reorganization. The emergence of trauma studies has not only been related to psychoanalysis since 1900 but to media culture itself. Trauma is among the essential experiences of technoculture, since its defining characteristics are the disruption of time and space. In addition, technical communication and storage media now serve themselves “as the main site to represent, witness, or even actually produce trauma at a global scale.”20

In trauma studies, pauses and interruptions in recorded speech count as symptoms – symptoms which can be better identified by ultra-sensitive and DSP-based audio analysis software than by human psychoanalysts. From the media-archaeological point of view, speech and pauses are equally forms of signals. “A series of dots […] indicates a pause in speech.”21 The real involuntary memory archaeo-logically (no speech / logos) articulates itself by silence as a temporal interval. Nowadays – in times of digital sound recording and processing – no more “noise” (traumatic intrusions of the real) in electronic music appears.22

“The very nature and function of the new media reproduce the experience of trauma, in that they produce new ways of experiencing time and space that resemble the structure of trauma. […] Contemporary media technologies serve as the major site wherein contemporary trauma is not just witnessed but actually produced and registered as traumatic in the first place.”23

In Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy of temporality, an event in time needs a witness in order to exist; that is, it needs to be affectively validated as micro-traumatic re-presencing of the drama of entropic past. Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast by Pink Floyd, as a studio creation, starts existing for a listener only when she or he puts the recording on and presses play. “Even if a recording has been released thirty years ago, it will stay out of our perceptual and temporal sphere until it will reach our ears and mind.”24 Latency in recording reminds of the difference between mental temporalities and the concept of linear, chronological time (history as narrative) – a cognitive-(“historical”)-affective (media-induced) dissonance.25

II Sonic Irritations of the Human Sense of Presence

Sonic media temporalities from analog to digital

With the media-archaeological approach (a close reading of technology in terms of material hardware, signal recording and symbolic software) a specific variance of trauma analysis emerges: the irritation of the chronological and autobiographical temporal order in favor of subjective immediacy. This immediacy becomes especially apparent in the phonographic momentum.

There is a tight alignment between the unrepresentable Lacanian real and the physiology of the voice as phonographic recording. The dis-embodied voice has got into the focus of engineering, psychoanalytic and historiographical analysis, particularly in its capacity to engender a sense of heightened presence (as compared with written records). Presence has been considered an inevitable fugitive, infinitesimally uncapturable time momentum for the longest time in occidental tradition; the human voice especially has embodied and allegorized this fugit tempus experience of presence. An early newspaper article announcing the invention of the gramophone disc by Emile Berliner starts with the remark that volatile speech has finally been “imprisoned” by the new recording technology, making it not only repeatable for aesthetic or bureaucratic use, but accessible to scientific speech analysis on a micro-level of formation which – different from the human physiological options of memorizing delayed presence – only measuring media can capture, register and thus keep for time axis manipulations. On the darker side of this widening of research topics for humans, with this option goes the traumatic experience that the voice can be preserved as a dis-embodied event.

It has been a shock to occidental metaphysics that effects of presence can be derived from the technological archive, resulting in an irritation of the cultural conception of time(s). The option of arbitrary, artificial time-axis manipulation results in media-induced shocks which constantly reshape the epistemology of presence, especially in the “sonic” media archive.26 In many discussions of affect as aesthetic-epistemic figure in the psychoanalytic, tempor(e)al and technological dimension, the sonic dimension is missing almost completely, privileging the visual evidence.27 Roland Barthes has analysed the momentum (punctum) in the perception of photography from the past as opposed to its intellectual cognitive studium which refers to its contextualization in history: “This actually has been” is the affective presence of the past. There is an instantaneous affective consciousness when viewing a photograph.28 What relates to the visual regime here in fact belongs to what Marshall McLuhan once termed the “acoustic space.” While archives of visual evidence (photography, cinematographic frames) represent a static archive (endurance), the sonosphere of recorded sound and electric circuits stands for processual temporalities. While on the level of user interfaces the digitization of sound sources from the analog archive is mostly unnoticed in the everyday media practice, it is of utmost importance to point out the deep rupture which sublimely takes place when qualities like analog “live” transmission is being replaced by “real time.” Such calculations create ultra-short intermediary archives which look like presence in the narrow time window of what physiologically counts as presence. The authenticity of the indexical signal is being challenged once it gets processed digitally. Acoustic, oral and even musical experience within that context serves as a privileged field for analysis. While recent research has discovered that the specific phonetic alphabet which is in current use today was invented to record, store and transmit the musicality of Homer’s poetic voice,29 a different kind of alphabet – the digital code – nowadays dominates most processing of cultural communication. The conversion of analog to digital sound recordings is not just another mode of cultural memory but a dramatic transformation of its essence. Algorithmic re-presencing needs thorough reflection by both media and cultural theory. Ironically, by analog-to-digital conversion or sampling, the symbolical code previously represented by the textual alphabet returns in mathematical forms (alphanumeric algorithms), asking for a refreshed grammatology of the theory and practice of “archiving presence.” Digitization of archived presence does not only require a very close reading of its impact on micro-temporal operations but might result in a redefinition of the Archive in Motion itself.30

Acousmatic media temporalities as irritations of presence

A primal affective irritation (Freudean Urszene) of presence was the moment when the human voice, which represented for a long time the most transient articulation phonographically,31 could be stored and replayed even beyond the death of the voice-bearer. Edison’s invention of 1877 allowed not only for the symbolical (phonetic writing in vocal alphabet) but also the physical (the acoustic signal) recording of the disembodied individual voice. This resulted in a cultural shock, which – although it soon became part of everyday sound-consuming culture – has still not been digested within the cultural unconscious. What seems natural to an animal (the well-known dog Nipper listening to His Master’s Voice at the gramophone funnel) for humans leads to a traumatic dissonance between cognitive knowledge (the historicity of the recording) and neurophysiological affect, which perceives the gramophonic voice as pure presence.32

Media-archaeological research on genuinely media-induced traumata of perception of presence focuses on acousmatic sound which is perceived from a hidden sound originating source. As long as it is not being supplemented (or merged) with an optical perception like the visible display of loudspeakers, this leads to an essential lack of the sense of origin. When Pierre Schaeffer, the father of musique concrète in Paris, defined the acousmatic,33 he reused a term once coined to describe the teaching method of Pythagoras who concentrated (“heated up” to use McLuhan’s term) on the human audio channel of communication by hiding behind a veil (or in a cave) while speaking. This acoustic purism is truly archaic in the media-archaeological sense: letting the pure, disembodied voice emanate while the sound-generating human or machine is hidden. For the listener it is undecidable whether there is human presence, radio transmission or a gramophone record behind the veil. The visual absence of the sound source does not only refer to space but to temporal irritation as well. An ongoing (even if apparently accommodated) paradigmatic shock took place with the invention of the phonograph (and the answering machine); all of a sudden, the voices of the dead could be heard again in replay: temporal acousmatics. In addition, there is an additional micro-temporal dimension of acousmatics; irritation of perception takes place when a corresponding visual source can be noticed but is not synchronized with the acoustic event, well known from problems in lip synchronization in sound film. Acoustic, oral and even musical experience within that context deserves a privileged analysis.

The sono-traumatic shock

The affect of presence in recording and transmission of sounds past is being achieved with its implementation in physical vibrations. What had merely been a cognitive or symbolically notated concept thus starts to haptically affect the human sense of temporal presence. From this material implementation emanates the power of phonographic sound recording media to re-presence past performances.

The Freudian identification of trauma to a large degree already refers to the acoustic – noise and signals. Whereas the cinematic and TV image is always perceived as framed and thus contained (as a kind of quote / quotation mark of reality), the acoustic signal is never minimized but cuts directly, even aggressively into the ear. The radio voice is not perceived as representation of the “real” (physically present) voice but as identical with the human voice itself.

The phonographic recordability of the (human) voice has not yet been inserted into the symbolic order. This signal recording and replay of the human voice may be non-assimilable to subjective cognition and thereby fulfills the criterium of trauma, against which stands the effort of historiographical or autobiographical narrative. Benjamin’s term for the instantaneous, literally accidental experience of media time in modernity is “shock”, better suited than the psychoanalytical term trauma perhaps. With the Edison phonograph, the auratic uniqueness of the volatile voice was replaced by iterability, which is deferred logocentrism (in Derrida’s sense).

To convince the audience of the sonic fidelity of phonographic reproduction of music, the Edison Company staged an experimental setting in New York’s Carnegie Hall in 1916, placing a mahogany phonograph alone on the vast stage. In the midst of the initial silence a white-gloved man emerged from behind the draperies, solemnly placed a record into the machine, wound it up and vanished. Then an opera singer stepped forward and while leaning one arm affectionately on the phonograph began to sing an air from Verdi’s Tosca.

The phonograph also began to sing ‘Vissi d’ Arte, Vissi d’Amore’ at the top of its mechanical lungs, with exactly the same accent and intonation, even stopping to take a breath in unison with the prima donna. Occasionally the singer would stop and the phonograph carried on the air alone. When the mechanical voice ended Mme. Rappold sang. The fascination for the audience lay in guessing whether Mme. Rappold or the phonograph was at work, or whether they were singing together.34

According to another report from the same year in the Boston Journal, “it was actually impossible to distinguish the singer’s living voice from its re-creation in the instrument.”35 The chrono-Sirenism of His Master´s Voice which is phonographic signal recording and reproduction induces the illusion of being-present.

As long as the archival records consist of strings of symbols (i.e. alphabetic writing), a cognitive distance – in spite of the auratic qualities of handwritten manuscripts or autographs – can be more or less kept since an act of decoding has to take place which involves the cognitive apparatus. But once photography and phonography – the first apparative media in its modern sense – became subject of the archive, the sense-affective, presence-generating power of signal-based media cuts short the distance which is a prerequisite for historical analysis, in favor of mnemonic immediacy – the electric shock.

With Valemar Poulsen’s presentation of the wire recorder as telephonic message-keeping machinery at the Paris World Exhibition 1900, the telephone line – which stood for the subjectively experienced immediate transmission of telegraphic and telephonic communication – all of a sudden turned out to be a storage medium for delayed replay. From that resulted an irritation in the trust of presence in electric tele-communication.

“Live” dissolving into “real -time”

Physiological sensations which address human perception are faster processed affectively than cognitively by the brain.36 Time-critical processes that are characteristic of technological media are in alliance with the temporal nature of affect.37

Breaking news, as a special time-critical feature of news media, represents what cannot be contained within a historiographical (narrative, symbolic) ordering of temporality.38 But whether analog “live” or digital “real-time”, human senses cannot distinguish without additional metadata between what is actually immediate and what is reproduction, separated from its temporal origin – a chrono-traumatic irritation indeed, resulting in a cognitive-affective dissonance between what is conceived as historical and perceived as present.

The option of arbitrary, artificial time-axis manipulation relates to a variety of media from photography over the phonograph and cinematography to electronic sound recording, “live” television transmission and video recording. The media-induced shock resulting from such technologies constantly reshapes the epistemology of presence, culminating in the digitization of presence by immediate recording. Not only that the authenticity of the indexical signal is being challenged once it gets processed digitally; the metaphysics of presence is lost within that technologically oscillating temporality itself.

III The Momentum of “Messianic” Time

Techno-sonic irritations of presence of(f) history

Phonographic recording is Benjaminian “Jetztzeit” caught on vinyl or tape.39 Whether media-induced affects are identified as symptoms of a “Messianic time” (positively), or as traumatic in terms of war or genocide (negatively), they are already caught within a discourse. The media-archaeological approach to involuntary memory, on the other hand, locates the symptom in the technology itself.

As happens with the replay of an old phonographic recording of Caruso’s voice, the phonographic record allows for temporal suspense against the physical and cognitive law of the irreversibility of history. “New media, as vehicles that carry our senses and bodies across the space-time continuum, introduce to us old modes of experience […]. Media thus bear the messianic power, in Benjamin’s special sense of that word, to forever alter the past.”40

The historicist obsession with origins is attached to sound in a focused way, such as Patrick Feaster’s celebrated reconstruction of a “first recording”41 of a gramophone recital of a Schiller ballade by Emile Berliner himself (optically read from the photographic illustration of the record in a contemporary newspaper, then translated into the vocal signal again).

If the inscribed phonographic sound on wax cylinders from Edison’s days is opto-digitally retraced, a formerly inaccessible recording becomes audible again. Frozen voices, confined to analog and long-forgotten storage media, wait for their digital unfreezing. Is there a hidden “Messianic” message in media archaeology? A counter-reading frees this from the “Messianic” in favor of media-induced temporeal(ity) effects and affects. If for this reanimation of dead sounds and images in media of suspended time I dare to use the word “redemption”. This is not simply a reference to Walter Benjamin’s “Messianic” historical materialism but we might phrase it the other way round: Benjamin’s awkward phrasing is now itself redeemed by technical media.

Temporal shortcuts: Sono-chronic tunneling of historical distance

Electronic storage media for audiovisual replay generate a presence of the past by actually addressing the perceptual nerves within the human in signals, not in symbols (such as historiographical texts) which require decoding and address the cognitive mind (where historical modelling takes place). To a large degree, the crisis of the symbolic order is induced by signal recording.42 Traumatic time suspends the culturally accustomed modes of the temporal order.43

Sonic recollection is arbitrarily triggered by technological replay such as a music recording at the press of a button. What happens then is “the re-living of an event that has already happened in linear time as if it were happening now in repetitive or cyclical time.”44 The more such a technically induced presence is acousmatically perceived, the more it is mandatory to reveal its invisible technological conditions for any critical analysis of such temporal affects.

In contrast to reading textual records from the past which need to be cognitively decoded (alphabetic symbols and words), with every listening to an ancient recording, a gap between time-affective and historio-cognitive perception opens. Ears can perceive nothing but presence, while the historical order of time (or imagination) takes place exclusively in the mind. In between lies the literal “sense” of history as identified by Johan Huizinga for musical memory; the media-archaeological sense of arché tries to dislocate this acoustic imaginary. Günther Stern45, in his unpublished habilitation thesis Die musikalische Situation (1929), differentiates musical Eigenzeit as “enclave” even from shock.46 It is this being-off-history which correlates operative media time with sonic temporality. The replay of recorded sound is a Leibnizean temporal fold in its technological materialization, enabling direct contact between events that are separated when history time is stretched out on a continuous line. If both affective and traumatic temporality are non-narrative by definition, media time traumatizes historical discourse and the imaginary of history itself.

The ultimate vanishing point is a quasi-Lacanian holy grail of establishing a direct micro-physical and -temporal link between the real and symbolic at the complete expense of the imaginary. […] A whole infrastructure of links and short-circuits is emerging next to and beyond human history – it may indeed obsolesce history as we know it. […] [T]he medial recursions extend far beyond minor century-old short-circuits connecting turntables to i-pods, they go back millenia. And the greatest media-based madeleine moment will lead us all the way back to the Sirens.47

This text partly results from thoughts developed within the joint research project Archiving Presence between Humboldt University Berlin and Hebrew University Jerusalem. For intellectual input I owe thanks to my project partner Amit Pinchevski.

1 Walter Benjamin, Illuminations, ed. Hannah Arendt (New York: Schocken, 1969), p. 217–251.

2 Vivian Sobchack, “Afterword. Media Archaeology and Re-presencing the Past,” in: Erkki Huhtamo and Jussi Parikka, eds., Media Archaeology. Approaches, Applications, and Implications (Berkeley/Los Angeles/London: University of California Press, 2011), p. 323–333.

3 See also: Kjetil Jakobsen, “Anarchival Society,” in: Eivind Røssaak, ed., The Archive in Motion. New Conceptions of the Archive in Contemporary Thought and New Media Practices (Oslo: Novus, 2010), p. 127–154.

4 Marie-Luise Angerer, Vom Begehren nach dem Affekt (Zürich/Berlin: Diaphanes, 2007), p. 33. English translation Desire After Affect (London: Rowman & Littlefield International, 2014).

5 André Piuerre Colombat, “Deleuze and the Three Powers of Literature and Philosophy,” in: Gary Genosko, ed., Deleuze and Guattari. Critical Assessments of Leading Philosophers (London/New York: Routledge, 2001), p. 207–222 and p. 216.

6 See also: Norbert Wiener, Cybernetics or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1948).

7 Jussi Parikka, What is Media Archaeology? (Cambridge/Malden, CA: Polity Press, 2012), p. 30.

8 Tony Schwartz, The Responsive Chord (Garden City, NY: Anchor, 1974), p. 16.

9 Mary Ann Doane, “Information, Crisis, Catastrophe,” in: Patricia Mellencamp, ed., Logics of Television. Essays in Cultural Criticism (Bloomington/Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1990), p. 222–239 and p. 226.

10 Timothy Scott Barker, Time and the Digital. Connecting Technology, Aesthetics, and a Process Philosophy of Time (Hannover, NH: Dartmouth College Press, 2012), p. 87.

11 Brian Massumi, “The Autonomy of Affect,” in: Paul Patton, ed., Deleuze. A Critical Reader (Cambridge, Mass./Oxford: Blackwell, 1996), p. 217–239, here p. 224.

12 See also: William Uricchio, “Storage, Simultaneity, and the Media Technologies of Modernity,” in: John Fullerton and Jan Olsson, eds., Allegories of Communication. Intermedial Concern from Cinema to the Digital (Rom: John Libbey, 2004), p. 123–138, here p. 123.

13 Theodor W. Adorno, Current of Music. Elements of a Radio Theory [1940], ed. Robert Hullot-Kentor (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 2006), Chapter V “Time - Radio and Phonograph,” p. 120–128, here p. 120.

14 Ibid.

15 See also: Uwe Sander, “Die ‘fehlende Halbsekunde’,” in: idem, ed., Handbuch Medienpädagogik (Berlin/Heidelberg /New York: Springer, 2008), p. 290–293, here p. 292.

16 Hertha Sturm, “Wahrnehmung und Fernsehen: Die fehlende Halbsekunde. Plädoyer für eine zuschauerfreundliche Mediendramaturgie,” Media Perspektiven 1 (1984): p. 58–65, here p. 61.

17 Hertha Sturm, Fernsehdiktate. Die Veränderung von Gedanken und Gefühlen. Ergebnisse und Folgerungen für eine rezipientenorientierte Mediendramaturgie (Gütersloh: Bertelsmann-Stiftung, 1991), p. 55.

18 See also: Claus Pias, “Time of Non-Reality. Miszellen zum Thema Zeit und Auflösung,“ in: Axel Volmar, ed., Zeitkritische Medien (Berlin: Kulturverlag Kadmos, 2009), p. 267–282.

19 Sigmund Freud, Gesammelte Werke, Vol. XIII, ed. Anna Freud et al. (London/Frankfurt am Main: Fischer, 1999), p. 29.

20 Aris Mousoutzanis, “Introduction,” in: Aris Mousoutzanis and Daniel Riha, eds., New Media and the Politics of Online Communities (Freeland, Oxfordshire: Inter-Disciplinary Press, 2010), p. ix-xix, here p. xvii f.

21 Ben Anderson, “Recorded Music and Practices of Remembering,” Social and Cultural Geography 5.1 (2004): p. 18.

22 Morten Riis, “Machine Music. A Media Archaeological Excavation” (Ph.D. thesis, Aarhus University & The Royal Academy of Music Aarhus, 2012).

23 Aris Mousoutzanis, “Cybertrauma and Technocultural Shock in Contemporary Media Culture,” in: Mousoutzanis and Riha, New Media, p. 173–180, here “Abstract.”

24 José Van Dijck, “Remembering Songs through Telling Stories: Pop Music as a Resource for Memory,” in: Karin Bijsterveld and José van Dijck, eds., Sound Souvenirs: Audio Technologies, Memory and Social Practices (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2009), p. 107–199, here p. 109.

25 See: Thomas Elsaesser, Terror und Trauma. Zur Gewalt des Vergangenen in der BRD (Berlin: Kulturverlag Kadmos, 2007), p. 198f.

26 The term “sonicity” is used here in a neo-logistic way as a category of reverberative objects of knowledge, referring to all kinds of time-based media events which as electro-mechanical and high-electronic operations share with acoustic events its radical temporal condition.

27 On the neglect of the auditive dimension in research on affect see: Angerer, Vom Begehren, p. 35.

28 Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida (London: Vintage, 1993), p. 55.

29 See: Barry Powell, Homer and the Origin of the Greek Alphabet (Cambridge: University Press, 1991).

30 Compare: Røssaak, The Archive in Motion.

31 Since Plato’s criticism of writing until the deconstruction of occidental logocentrism by Jacques Derrida’s Grammatology (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998).

32 See: Mladen Dolar, A Voice and Nothing More (Cambridge, Mass./London: MIT Press, 2006), Chapter 2 “The Metaphysics of the Voice,” p. 34–57, and Chapter 3 “The ‘Physics’ of the Voice,” p. 58–81.

33 Pierre Schaeffer, Traité des Objets Musicaux (Paris: Seuil, 1966), p. 91.

34 “Edison Snares Soul of Music,” New York Tribune, April 29, 1916, p. 3.

35 Emily A. Thompson, “Machines, Music, and the Quest for Fidelity. Marketing the Edison Phonograph in America 1877–1925,” The Musical Quarterly 79 (1995): p. 131–171, here p. 132. See also: Peter Wicke, “Das Sonische in der Musik,” PopScriptum 10 (2008). Online: “Das Sonische. Sounds zwischen Akustik und Ästhetik,” (retrieved February 25, 2014).

36 See: David S. Miall, “Anticipation and Feeling in Literary Response: A Neuro-Psychological Perspective,” Poetics 23 (1995): p. 275–298.

37 See: Wolfgang Ernst, Chronopoetik. Zeitweisen und Zeitgaben technischer Medien (Berlin: Kulturverlag Kadmos 2012).

38 See: Doane, „Information, Crisis, Catastrophe,” p. 233.

39 Amit Pinchevski, “The Audiovisual Unconsciousness: Media and Trauma in the Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies,“ Critical Inquiry 39.1 (Autumn 2012): p. 142–166, quoting Walter Benjamin, “Theses on the Philosophy of History,“ in: idem, Illuminations, p. 253–263, here p. 263.

40 John Durham Peters, “Helmholtz, Edison, and Sound History,” in: Lauren Rabinovitz and Abraham Geil, eds., Memory Bytes. History, Technology, and Digital Culture (Durham/London: Duke University Press, 2004), p. 177–198, here p. 195.

41 As declared at the Ars Electronica exhibition in Linz, September 2013.

42 For a critical position towards this perspective, see: Elsaesser, Terror and Trauma, p. 201.

43 See: ibid., p. 191–207.

44 Anderson, Recorded Music, p. 17.

45 Alias Günther Anders, son of the psychologist Wilhelm Stern who himself developed a non-historicist model of time as experience.

46 See: Veit Erlmann, Reason and Resonance. A History of Modern Aurality (New York: Zone Books, 2010), p. 325f.

47 Geoffrey Winthrop-Young, “Siren Recursions,” in: Stephen Sale and Laura Salisbury, eds., Kittler Now (Cambridge: Polity Press, forthcoming), note 5, 2011/05/winthrop-young-siren-recursions.pdf (retrieved February 25, 2014).

  • Präsenz
  • Epistemologie
  • Erinnerung
  • Affekte
  • Trauma
  • Wahrnehmung
  • Zeitlichkeit
  • Medien
  • Technikgeschichte

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Wolfgang Ernst

ist Professor für Medientheorie am Seminar für Medienwissenschaft des Kunst- und Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

Weitere Texte von Wolfgang Ernst bei DIAPHANES
Marie-Luise Angerer (Hg.), Bernd Bösel (Hg.), ...: Timing of Affect

Affect, or the process by which emotions come to be embodied, is a burgeoning area of interest in both the humanities and the sciences. For »Timing of Affect«, Marie-Luise Angerer, Bernd Bösel, and Michaela Ott have assembled leading scholars to explore the temporal aspects of affect through the perspectives of philosophy, music, film, media, and art, as well as technology and neurology. The contributions address possibilities for affect as a capacity of the body; as an anthropological inscription and a primary, ontological conjunctive and disjunctive process as an interruption of chains of stimulus and response; and as an arena within cultural history for political, media, and psychopharmacological interventions. Showing how these and other temporal aspects of affect are articulated both throughout history and in contemporary society, the editors then explore the implications for the current knowledge structures surrounding affect today.