The Physicist of Media Theory – Friedrich Kittler’s Optical Media « Machinology
by Shannon Mattern — The New School
August 04, 2011 – 15:41
"His media theory is not about the media as interpreted, consumed and produced by creative industries, digital humanists, or such, but about the long genealogies of science, engineering and the qualities of matter that allow the event of media to take place. Media is displaced from McLuhanite considerations to “where it is most at home: the field of physics in general and telecommunications in particular.” Kittler is the physicist of media theory.
Optical Media is in that sense reader-friendly (if Kittler ever is) that it takes as its clear methodological point of departure Shannon’s communication theory. Slightly anachronistically Kittler transposes this as a model to understand media history. How coding, channeling and decoding takes places in material channels that are surrounded by noise."