Toward the end of the nineteenth century, the hegemony of the printed word was shattered by the arrival of new media technologies that offered novel ways of communicating and storing data Previously, writing had operated by way of symbolic mediation all data had to pass through the needle s eye of the written signifier but phonography, photography, and cinematography stored physical effects of the real in the shape of sound waves and light The entire question of referentiality had to be recast in light of these new media technologies in addition, the use of the typewriter changed the perception of writing from that of a unique expression of a literate individual to that of a sequence of naked material signifiersPart technological history of the emergent new media in the late nineteenth century, part theoretical discussion of the responses to these media including texts by Rilke, Kafka, and Heidegger, as well as elaborations by Edison, Bell, Turing, and other innovators Gramophone, Film, Typewriter analyzes this momentous shift using insights from the work of Foucault, Lacan, and McLuhan Fusing discourse analysis, structuralist psychoanalysis, and media theory, the author adds a vital historical dimension to the current debates over the relationship between electronic literacy and poststructuralism, and the extent to which we are constituted by our technologies The book ties the establishment of new discursive practices to the introduction of new media technologies, and it shows how both determine the ways in which psychoanalysis conceives of the psychic apparatus in terms of information machines Gramophone, Film, Typewriter is, among other things, a continuation as well as a detailed elaboration of the second part of the author s Discourse Networks, Stanford,As such, it bridges the gap between Kittler s discourse analysis of thes and his increasingly computer oriented work of thes Gramophone was pretty over my head, but I liked Film and Typewriter a lot One of those books that issuggestive than systematic, but an entertaining read He s got a wry sense of humor that I found quite enjoyable. ,,. In Berlin, a boisterous and antagonistic Communist poet told me, I fucking hate Kittler But friends in NYC swear by him, so when I got to Lisbon and found a cheap copy at a street stall, I bought it I wanted to prove the Communist poet wrong wanted to show him that there sto theory then Adorno or Benjamin I also wanted to see why my former girlfriend and another few friends love this guy.But I hate it.I dislike it so much that I m not even going to try and analyze why I ll just say In Berlin, a boisterous and antagonistic Communist poet told me, I fucking hate Kittler But friends in NYC swear by him, so when I got to Lisbon and found a cheap copy at a street stall, I bought it I wanted to prove the Communist poet wrong wanted to show him that there sto theory then Adorno or Benjamin I also wanted to see why my former girlfriend and another few friends love this guy.But I hate it.I dislike it so much that I m not even going to try and analyze why I ll just say that Kittler reminds me of sloppy pop theorists like Terrence McKenna or Malcolm Gladwell sloppy thinkers who make HUGE intellectual leaps and blithely toss about loaded words like soul If you re going to use words as vague as soul, you better tell me how you re defining the word But nope Kittler can t be bothered Gladwell and McKenna are better writers and theorists At least their ideas are either audacious mushrooms helped our species develop or important for our time can we just agree that the idea of an individual genius is fucking stupid and dangerous and move on But Kittler is warmed over McLuhan Oh, thank you Dr Kittler, I didn t realize technology effects the way we approach the world.Anyway, I plodded through the gramophone section, made it half way through the part on film, which is a topic I m obsessed with, and finally put the book down At one point Kittler footnotes Pynchon s Gravity s Rainbow as a fucking original source and not as fiction, but as a source for how WWII German spy busters could recognize the unique ways individual spies would use morse code I mean, seriously Why couldn t Hr Kittler pick up the Gravity s Rainbow Readers Guide, find the source text, and quote that The only great thing about the book are the very long quotes, stories, and essays he pulls from other writers He has a really wonderful short piece from Rilke, and a couple of great short stories by authors I ve never heard of e.g., a really great science hero story about a scientist who recreates Goethe s voice Read the sourced stories ignore the rest It speaks poorly of academia that this guy is in vogue Playful, narrow, paranoid.The gramophone, film, and typewriter are storage technologies, ways of recording life that skew increasingly toward the digital, with computing situated at the end of history History ends because people cease to have an influence over its fate, or so goes the narrow, paranoid argument Sure, we can all relate to the fact that no one memorizes phone numbers any our phones themselves are surrogate memories but that doesn t make the technology valueless It s hard Playful, narrow, paranoid.The gramophone, film, and typewriter are storage technologies, ways of recording life that skew increasingly toward the digital, with computing situated at the end of history History ends because people cease to have an influence over its fate, or so goes the narrow, paranoid argument Sure, we can all relate to the fact that no one memorizes phone numbers any our phones themselves are surrogate memories but that doesn t make the technology valueless It s hard to read the bottom line of the book as being much deeper than Terminator not that Terminator wasn t deep, but its point was articulated quite a while ago I guess this book was written around the same time, which makes sense The cover should haveneon.In any case, the most compelling parts of the book are the instances in Gramophone where he talks about how then recent musical technologies the vocoder etc were invented for military purposes encryption, usually These are just interesting anecdotally I don t at all buy his insinuation that their historical situation makes human reception irrelevant or even less relevant AND the other compelling things are the colorful fictions and historical anecdotes he uses sometimes reprinting them wholesale within the text to illustrate this or that point It s also illuminating to consider modern collections of knowledge as media themselves, particularly in the internet age where the things that make the media equivalent to the message have as much to do with systems of logic as with the materiality of storage devices, which now and probably for a long time into the future are 1 s and 0 s To Kittler, this is the end of the reign of humanity, the point at which the logic of the machine surpasses us, leaving behind any possibility for a Romantic Classical resurgence We can certainly see instances of this in things like Spam poetry, whose purpose is wildly abstracted from our lives and essentially makes up one side in an ongoing probably endless war between purely computational entities But we still make determinations I was happy to read that article in Wired this month about how Second Life isn t working out like the brave new world that some corporations hoped, because its engines are outdated and no one is there Undoubtedly, Second Life will be replaced by a better metaverse, and it will be abandoned Don t the 1 s and 0 s disappear when we pull the plug