On the Capabilities of Media: Towards a Poetics — Fall Lecture Series Part 2

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Research into ‘historical’ or ‘early’ media but also of pre- or non-digital modern media has been recognized as of genuine significance to the understanding of today’s media-bound world. This lecture series both recognizes the important historical research that has already been conducted in this field and departs from its principal concerns, in the interest of what Professor Yves Abrioux proposes to call a poetics of media. Consequently, it will engage in a series of close readings of works of literature and art but also of other artifacts, both past and present.

Lecture 2: From Medium Specificity to Medium Technicity

The notion of pure or ‘specific’ media, which was highly influential in defining the moment of modernism, had the effect of foregrounding the expressive possibilities of any given medium, beyond that of abstract painting to which the term medium specificity originally applied. Its continuing relevance is anything but obvious in a ‘post-media’ world in which digital media have developed the capacity to subsume all other technological media–and indeed promise, in some readings, to provoke the disappearance of media (and the human) as such, in favor of the autonomous proliferation of self-sufficient data streams.  A concept of medium technicity can, however, be derived from the French philosopher Gilbert Simondon’s analysis of the history of technology, that allows for an intensification of the capabilities of media and underlines their continued relevance in an environment in which binary code is held to reign supreme.


  • Workflow Status:Published
  • Created By:ntippens3
  • Created:10/13/2016
  • Modified By:Fletcher Moore
  • Modified:04/13/2017