INTRODUCTION: FRIEDRICH KITTLER’S LIGHT SHOWS John Durham Peters Optical Media may be Friedrich Kittler’s best book for the uniniti- ated. It is breezy . Optical Media provides an accessible introduction to the media theory of Kittler’s middle period as it applies primarĀ¬ ily to the optical realm. (Kittler’s chief interest. Optical Media by Friedrich A. Kittler, , available at Book Depository with free delivery worldwide.

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One night, the sleepless narrator walks by the church – Hoffmann is after all narrating one of his night stories Nachtstiicke – to eavesdrop on the highly dramatic scene between a lanterna magica, a trotnpe Voeil picture, and a technically remote-controlled painter: Most accounts of this prehistory begin with a discussion of cave pictures from the Stone Age or Egyptian funerary inscriptions, kittller supposedly were an attempt to capture sequences of movements from so-called nature in an image or a series of images by artisanal means.

To get to this, as well as the relationship between media and war, I will stay with the example of photography and quote an extremely frledrich passage fromin which as far as I can see something like media-technical information appears for the first time. To make this brief thesis seem plausible, 1 will give you two extremely opposed historical examples: The answer was not the new ionic vowel alphabet, as a media historian like myself would have to answer; rather, the answer was that philosophers philosophized with their souls.

As a device that calculated trigonometrical functions completely automatically, simply because it focused fight into a single bundle of straight lines and then allowed them to follow their course, the camera obscura made the revolutionary concept of a perfect perspective painting possible. The local aim of such arguments is also to prove clearly that Meeia University is fully justified in joining the disciplines of 22 PREFACE media history, art history, musicology, and theater studies into a single faculty.

Devices, then as now, relieve humans of the need to calculate.

Full text of “Kittler, Friedrich A. Optical Media Berlin Lectures Polity ( )”

The popular and thus quite underground history of such theatrical techniques leads directly to the nineteenth century, when the peep show even learned proto-cinematic turns and rotations from the lanterna magica: The professor often reads when he is speaking.

In short, these lectures provide a comprehensive introduction to the history of image production, which is indispensable for anyone wishing to understand the prevailing audiovisual conditions of contemporary culture. For the first, yet certainly not the last time, we are encountering something like a union of media: As Optical Media puts it in one of those reductive dicta for which Kittier is famous: Not to mention the uniformity of computer software, with which my lecture notes and the notes of countless others have been drawn up.

If the eye is the light of the body, then the great star – the sun – as Dante says, is the light of the intelligence. What appeared to spectators and users in three-dimensional space should obey the same principles that Brunelleschi and Alberti had established for the two-dimensional space of the painting. Magic lanterns did not surface until a century later, inwhen their in retrospect unbelievable career began.


As a fully electronic medium, television – if you will pardon this necessary truism – is just as ubiquitous as it is mystifying, and therein lies its much heralded power. The treatment of women in Kittler has always been problematic.

The Medium is the Message Media for Kittier are always about themselves. Music, dance, poetry – indeed all the human arts that involve time – would be nothing without counting, measure, and proportion. As a rule he wishes to have as many hearers as possible; he is not content to have a few, and he is never satisfied with one only. In spite of all the metamorphoses of art scholars into engineers, can there be a history of technology at all within the context of cultural studies?

But if all you see are the mistakes and exaggerations, you risk missing something big if you are interested in understanding media as architectonically important to our life opptical times.

Optical Media

But this eye was as unGreek as it was unchristian. Art has style, media have standards; artistic reproduction yields similar versions, while media copies are identical; art cannot inscribe evidentiary detail, while media are forensic and provide data for witnessing; and art is less easily automated than media this is not necessarily praise for art, of course. As a physical medium, in any case, every channel also generates interference or noise, which is the conceptual opposite of information.

This site uses cookies. When Roman emperors like Caesar or Augustus encrypted their messages, they simply moved all the letters one or two places further along in the alphabet, although Augustus never mastered modulus mathematics and therefore did not code the last letter X as the letter A Suetonious,pp.

Kittler introduced a politics of images, criedrich the effects of images in politics today – the portraits of heads in newspapers and television interviews on Sunday evening, this old absolutist monopoly on light – seem almost weak in comparison.

In the camera obscura model, for example, the tangent corresponded exactly to the projected length of the reflection fredrich an object standing at angle x in relation to kigtler plane of the camera provided that all circles are idealized as a unit circle following Leonhard Euler.

It should also be emphasized that the Jesuit stage and the related Italian opera stage stood as models for all of the new baroque theaters; in other words, mediz theaters of absolutism. This remains the basic principle of polyalphabetic ciphers today. And the simulacrum in the allegory of the cave reproduced everyday objects, whose clay or wood imitations were carried past a single light source by a pair of puppeteers behind the backs of the bound cave occupants.

The Voice Imitator: Friedrich Kittler: Optical Media

A meida, as they kittlre, has no honor in his own country, in part due to the sound ecological principle that any local species has co-evolved with its own natural enemies. Friedric your plugged-in Ethernet cable, it knows the amount of data that goes through it without you pushing even a single key as Wendy Chun reminds us in her Control and Freedom.


To feel in imagination the heat of the flames that play on and burn the [damned] souls. Hegel is, frierdich the way, the first in a long line of German thinkers poorly understood in English; if Kittler kitfler baffling to anglophone readers, he has kittelr company among his countrymen. Others have opted for the opposite approach by claiming iittler the only serious modern criterion for literature is its structural unfilmability.

Dispatched from the UK in 1 business day When will my order arrive? In the Silesian baroque, this golden age of German literature aroundall of the illusions created using the friedrrich magica by Jesuits and traveling entertainers could finally be staged dramatically, which means no longer scaled down: Though much has rightly been made of his links to French poststructuralism a term he dismissesKittler has none of the epistemological hypochondria that some Anglo-American followers – especially of Derrida – take away from the movement.

If Brunelleschi had painted by hand, he could have simply not used the mirror and instead turned the front of his painting towards the observer rather than the back.

Books can be sold, sent, and given away. All that remained for Socrates and his enthusiastic interlocutors enthusiastic because they felt flattered was to explain what the soul itself was. The first painter, who was named Zeuxis, created a painting with remarkably realistic-looking grapes. The book became a medium in which technical innovations as such could take place.

The name for this problem area, which has yet to be negotiated in detail, is standards or norms. His family fled with him to West Germany inwhere from to he went to a natural sciences and modern languages Gymnasium in Lahr in the Black Forestand thereafter, untilhe studied German studiesRomance philology and philosophy at the Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg ikttler Freiburg im Breisgau.

Certain artistic effects would not have been possible without oil- based paints, and therefore without petrochemicals and their world wars. The great breakthrough of analog media is the storage and manipulation of temporal process; the great problem is the lack of interoperability between systems.

Only McLuhan, who was originally a literary critic, understood more about perception than electronics, and therefore he attempted to think about technology in terms of bodies instead of the other way around. Models of a mill or a camera obscura are easier to understand than their so-called reality. The last historic act of writing may thus have been in the late seventies when a team of Intel engineers [plotted] the hardware architecture of their first integrated microprocessor.

On the wall before their eyes, only fleeting shadows come and go, which do not come to rest anywhere. As a model or metaphor for this scanning technique, which was his greatest invention, Alberti employed a semi-transparent veil divided into small rectangles using vertical and horizontal threads of canvas. McLuhan went so far as to write that under audiovisual conditions our eyes, ears, hands, etc. kirtler