Nr. 10/2 (2019)

Blockchain

Eine Medienrevolution finde statt, so hört und liest man, die sich nicht auf kalifornischen Theaterbühnen oder auf Konsumentenelektronik-Messen wie der IFA in Gestalt neuer Gadgets öffentlich präsentiert. Sie spielt sich jenseits der Terminals im unsichtbaren Reich der Vernetzung ab und betrifft subkutan die mediale Instituiertheit der Gesellschaft selbst: die Blockchain. Die Blockchain verspricht einerseits autonomes finanzielles, wirtschaftliches, administratives und politisches Handeln, andererseits aber auch mehr Sicherheit und Transparenz als die sozialen, politischen oder ökonomischen Institutionen, die zu ersetzen sie antritt – und zwar sowohl durch die dezentrale Architektur des Netzwerks als auch durch ihren modus operandi. Dies soll die Blockchain durch drei Kerneigenschaften leisten: eine dezentrale Architektur des Netzwerks, die Eliminierung der Instanz eines vermittelnden Dritten und die Produktion von Wahrheit oder Faktizität durch Konsensbildung.

Außer den Stimmen der Verfechter einer dezentralen, vom Staat unabhängiger Wirtschafts- und Sozialordnung sind indes inzwischen auch kritische Kommentare geäußert worden, die darauf verweisen, dass die Realität der Blockchain erheblich von ihrem propagierten Ideal abweicht. So haben verschiedene Autoren (auch in diesem Heft) auf die Übereinstimmung der Blockchain-Utopie mit der Ideologie einer rücksichtslos Ressourcen verschwendenden neoliberal-anarchistischen Marktwirtschaft hingewiesen (und auf die Tatsache, dass Blockchain-Anwendungen im großen Stil von Amazon, Google, Facebook und Apple vorangetrieben werden). So wichtig diese »ideologiekritischen« Kommentare auch sind, so sehr fehlt es trotzdem bisher an einer medien- und kulturwissenschaftlichen Reflexion der »Blockchain-Revolution«. Die vorliegende Ausgabe der Zeitschrift für Medien- und Kulturforschung will erste Anstöße zu einer solchen Reflexion geben, mit dem Ziel, zu einer diskurs- und machtanalytischen Einordnung des Phänomens Blockchain zu gelangen.

Contents

Editorial Bernhard Siegert, Lorenz Engell

Front Lines of Community. A Postscript to Hollywood War Cinema Hermann Kappelhoff

The Camera Shot and the Gun Sight Anne Eakin Moss

Von Delphi zum ORAKEL. Eine kleine Mediengeschichte der Computer-Demokratie Eva Schauerte

Debatte: Computeranalphabetismus Klaus Zierer/Christina Schatz, Heiko Christians

Dust & Data

Dokumentarische Architektur: Die Bauhaus-Moderne beiderseits der Sykes-Picot-Linie Ines Weizman

Kryptowährungen oder die anarchistische Wende des zeitgenössischen Kapitalismus Catherine Malabou

Vertrauen aus Mathematik Rüdiger Weis

Freiheit, die in Ketten liegt. Zur Philosophie der Blockchain Stefan Münker

Ketten des (Miss-)Vertrauens. Über die Blockchain, Bitcoins und Verwandtes Jan Claas van Treeck

Hype oder Horror. Potenziale und Hürden der Blockchain-Technologie anhand rechtlicher Rahmenbedingungen Cathrin Hein / Wanja Wellbrock / Christoph Hein

Kontrolle ist gut, Vertrauen ist besser, Bezahlung am besten. Zur Souveränität von Blockchains Oliver Leistert

Abstracts

Bernhard Siegert, Lorenz Engell Editorial

Das Editorial zur vorliegenden Ausgabe 10/2 (2019).

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Hermann Kappelhoff Front Lines of Community. A Postscript to Hollywood War Cinema

What kind of world emerges as a common world for the spectator in the staging of the events of war? And how can the film-analytical reconstruction of a sense of commonality open up historical consciousness in the first place? Focusing on the combat report With the Marines at Tarawa (USA 1944) this text shows how the ramifications of genre poetics can be explored as a network of experiential modalities that make history graspable as a continuous process of delineating the limits of community.

Anne Eakin Moss The Camera Shot and the Gun Sight

This article examines the connections between the camera shot and the gun sight in the age of classic Hollywood cinema. Comparing THE LOST PATROL (USA 1934, John Ford) with TRINADTSAT (THIRTEEN, UdSSR 1936, Mikhail Romm), it asks what kind of relationship films from this era strove to establish between the viewer and the gun shot on screen. The ideological and stylistic differences between the films make visible divergent fantasies of agency, community and technology.

Eva Schauerte Von Delphi zum ORAKEL. Eine kleine Mediengeschichte der Computer-Demokratie

In 1971, the WDR broadcasts the show ORAKEL as a social experiment to test participatory democracy using the new media – telephone, fax, television and computer. Developed by Helmut Krauch, who has been conducting futures studies on behalf of the German government with the Heidelberg Study Group for Systems Research since the early 1960s, ORAKEL is based on the Delphi method developed by RAND researchers in the United States. According to Krauch, the format represents a first step on the way towards a computer democracy, the short history of which is traced in this article.

Klaus Zierer/Christina Schatz, Heiko Christians Debatte: Computeranalphabetismus

In education policy debates, there has been a call not only since today to introduce something like ›digital education‹ as a new school subject and many ministries of education are already in the process of forging corresponding curricula. Klaus Zierer and Christina Schatz caution against following this demand immediately and in its entirety. The evaluation of a large number of empirical studies and meta-studies on the subject revealed that the effectiveness of digital media on learning outcomes had only moderate effects on average. The elementary cultural techniques of reading and writing can be learned much more effectively with paper and pencil or a book in hand than on a laptop or tablet. Media, whether digital or analogue, are teaching aids. The professionality of teachers is and remains decisive for learning success. If teachers use technology for the sake of technology, which is currently not uncommon, empirical studies show that digital media can even lead to negative effects. As a result, when it comes to questions of learning, it becomes clear that a revolution at this level will not succeed through digital technology. Heiko Christians, on the other hand, is convinced that the term ›digital education‹ cannot exist in the first place. Today, repeated reading of canonical texts – as a cultural precondition for education – is a counterintuitive, old usage of the latest technical infrastructures. This use is still not excluded per se, but it is more improbable than ever before. And it is only possible at all as long as this use, which obviously originates from other infrastructures and epochs that have been ›overcome‹ today, is maintained in the user’s memory and in their trained reflexes and constantly made plausible. This, however, is precisely what educational institutions would have to do if they still wanted to carry out their old educational mission. The same institutions that once devoted themselves primar ily to the maintenance of various canonical text corpora are today no longer supposed to educate their inmates, but to make them ›fit‹ for the ›digital future‹. In short, this means that there should no longer be any noticeable differences between the technical conditions inside and outside the institutions. The question remains whether one wants to preserve techniques and works from this old book culture or whether education should be defined quite differently today?

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Catherine Malabou Kryptowährungen oder die anarchistische Wende des zeitgenössischen Kapitalismus

John McAfee has drafted a Declaration of Currency Independence in which he proclaims that the time has come to question the state monopoly on the production and control of foreign exchange and its flows and to break the link between geography and currency. In her article, philosopher Catherine Malabou explains the economic and philosophical background leading to her decision to sign this declaration.

Rüdiger Weis Vertrauen aus Mathematik

In times in which stable relationships of trust have been increasingly shaken around the globe for decades, people are looking for new approaches to the ability to trust. The libertarian philosophy behind Bitcoin uses simple and understandable mathematical techniques to create a monetary system without banks and states. The speed and worldwide availability of communication networks thus make for a completely new social experiment.

Stefan Münker Freiheit, die in Ketten liegt. Zur Philosophie der Blockchain

The decentralized technology of blockchains promises its users more freedom and autonomy as well as more security and transparency through its specific network architecture. In recent years, blockchains have thus become a projection screen for democratic and egalitarian utopias. The contribution is a mediaphilosophical analysis of the Blockchain idea and its practical implementation and aims at a critical examination of the promises and expectations associated with Blockchains.

Jan Claas van Treeck Ketten des (Miss-)Vertrauens. Über die Blockchain, Bitcoins und Verwandtes

Blockchain has found its way out of technical obscurity via a largely faded phase of utopian-mystifying enthusiasm to established industry solutions. Blockchain-based crypto currencies have long been accepted as a means of payment and are tentatively being used institutionally as well. Nevertheless, Blockchain solutions still seem to sell a promise that seeks to satisfy a social need—that of trust within systems. A glance at the technicalities of Blockchain, however, allows insights into the possibility of such techno-social promises and their (non-)redeemability.

Cathrin Hein / Wanja Wellbrock / Christoph Hein Hype oder Horror. Potenziale und Hürden der Blockchain-Technologie anhand rechtlicher Rahmenbedingungen

This article summarizes the current status of the legal challenges of blockchain technology. Similar to the World Wide Web, Blockchain represents a kind of basic technology on the basis of which new platforms and business models can be created. However, the question arises as to whether the German legal system is fundamentally capable of mastering the challenges posed by such a decentralized technology. In particular with regard to criminal offences or the new Basic Data Protection Ordinance. The question is how the current negative headlines (e. g. Silk Road) will affect crypto currencies in the long term and, as a result, blockchain technology, not only with regard to illegal content such as child pornography.

Oliver Leistert Kontrolle ist gut, Vertrauen ist besser, Bezahlung am besten. Zur Souveränität von Blockchains

Decentralized, open blockchain technologies manage transactions of data on a protocological level. Cryptographic methods can be used to identify data transactions. This happens—if no software update takes place—without external intervention. Blockchains are therefore presented as sovereign media technologies. They govern themselves. This puts them on a collision course with traditional sovereignties that are allowed to decide what is the case. The emergence of a generic digital form of sovereignty can therefore be observed. Their consensus on the state of their government will be analyzed.

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