Home > Berlin, German media theory, Kittler > Don’t call him a media philosopher!

Don’t call him a media philosopher!

It was one year ago that Friedrich A. Kittler died. The German newspapers reacted, and slowly, The Guardian too, with a couple of writings and a podcast. I think that was it, for the English-speaking mainstream press. Besides some short notes on my blog, I wrote this short piece for The Guardian.

Academic discussions concerning his work have increased even more: such also include  fantastic pieces like the memoir by Geoffrey Winthrop-Young of the Kittler-before-Kittler (i.e. the early 1980s one) ‘”Well What Socks is Pynchon Wearing Today?” A Freiburg Scrapbook in Memory of Friedrich Kittler’ in Cultural Politics Volume 8, Issue 3, and a forthcoming ZKM conference Of Gods and Scripts around the Mediterranean.

Of last year’s obituaries, some are circulating again online. Here is for instance FAZ: Jede Liebe war eine auf den ersten Blick.

Indeed, Kittler got the human (well, actually “spirit”, “the mind”, Geist – Geisteswissenschaften) out of humanities, and inserted the machine. Suddenly, inside the human(ities) we found all kinds of hardware. Typewriters, gramophones, circuit boards, computer chips, probably even a bit of internet cable in there somewhere.

However, don’t inscribe “media philosopher” on his grave stone.

And no, he did not call himself a media archaeologist either.

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