Nr. 06/1 (2015)


The title of the focus of this issue of ZMK can be a thing, a material or a property. As an adjective, however, ‘textile’ not only specifies certain arts such as weaving, embroidery, braiding, knotting, knitting or crocheting and many more, but more recently, it also refers to media. Speaking of “textile media” apparently aims at a different aspect of the concept of media than those formed by the triad of “storing, transmitting, processing”, namely on the material, not the function. This concept of media can simply be understood, as in art history, as referring to materiality in the sense of the image carrier. On the other hand, however, by emphasizing the materiality rather than the functionality, alking about “textile media” defers the focus on a specific mediality of textiles and beyond that on a mediality of the material itself. This is the very reason for the enormous stimulus of the textiel in fields as diverse as art, art history, or technical and social anthropology.

Proclaiming a “textile turn”, as some writers have done, reduces the textile to a current fashion and draws from the fact that it has been a critical figure of thought since antiquity, which (as in Homer, Plato , Pindar or Ovid) has acted as a positive or negative model for thinking the plan or artifice (mêtis), the art of governing, the art of and art in general as a gift of the goddess Athena.

For Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, for example, the tissue in Mille Plateaux (1980) generally acts as a “model of the art”. Implicitly they remind of the etymology of “textile”, which goes back to the Latin “texere” on which the word “technique” is also based. Recently Tim Ingold advocates for a fundamental reconsidering of the concept of technology with Deleuze and Guattari following the model of the textile and to understand "textility" as the technical structure that underlies all “Making”.


Editorial Lorenz Engell, Bernhard Siegert

On the Documentary Harun Farocki

Bilder nehmen. Harun Farocki: »Über das Dokumentarische« Volker Pantenburg

Genäht oder gegraben, ephemer oder in die Erde versenkt. Divergente architektonische Modi der kollektiven Existenz Heike Delitz

Schwarze Lichter? Bild­logische Operationen bei Michelangelo und Matisse Wolfram Pichler

Bauen Knoten Verbinden Timothy Ingold

Textile Diagrams. Florian Pumhösl’s Abstraction as Method T’ai Smith

Sewing as Authority in the Middle Ages Kathryn Rudy

Klangteppiche. Trans­mediale Verhältnisse zwischen Weberei und Musik Birgit Schneider

Couleurs à la mode. Impressio­nism as an Effect of the Chemical Industry Wolf Kittler


Lorenz Engell, Bernhard Siegert Editorial

Textil: Der Titel des Schwerpunkts der vorliegenden Ausgabe der ZMK kann ein Ding, ein Material oder eine Eigenschaft bezeichnen. Als Eigenschaftswort spezifiziert textil indes nicht nur bestimmte Künste näher (den Begriff der textilen Kunst gibt es spätestens seit Gottfried Semper) und umfasst so die Weberei, die Stickerei, das Flechten, Knoten, Stricken, Häkeln, Wirken und vieles andere mehr (Semper zufolge auch die Anfänge der Baukunst), sondern neuerdings auch Medien.


Harun Farocki On the Documentary

The remarks »On the Documentary« that are published here are not supposed to explain conceptually what exactly the documentary is and by which means it can be distinguished from the fictive, but what the film itself counts to be documentary and how the doc- umentary is produced by film. An essential difference between fictional and documentary film is the difference between an anticipating and a pursuing camera.

Volker Pantenburg Bilder nehmen. Harun Farocki: »Über das Dokumentarische«

»On the Documentary« must be regarded as the last publication of the director, video artist and film thinker Harun Farocki. The observations contained in »Taking Pictures« see themselves as a commentary to this essay, which Farocki had to leave uncompleted. In addition to a reconstruction of the circum- stances and background of Farocki’s text, some of the characteristics of his perspective on the »documentary effect«, which can be explained most clearly with reference to spe- cific camera gestures, are considered.

Heike Delitz Genäht oder gegraben, ephemer oder in die Erde versenkt. Divergente architektonische Modi der kollektiven Existenz

What social effects does a tent architecture have, in which mode of collective existence do nomadic societies such as the Tuareg live? And what kind of fictionally instituted society is accompanied by an architecture that produces a non-gestalt of the collective – such as the buried houses in the Chinese Loess? Such analyses show the social positivity of architecture; and they show ex negativo, which kind of social life goes along with immobile constructions.

Wolfram Pichler Schwarze Lichter? Bild­logische Operationen bei Michelangelo und Matisse

In certain artifacts, which can be classified as images, suspicious phenomena such as ›black highlights‹ have been spotted, and paintings are said to exist, in which black plays the role of a ›color of light‹. Who has persuaded himself that such phenomena are in fact detectable, and would like to find out by which operations they are produced, is referred to basic distinctions of image theory, such as the difference between ›image vehicle‹ and ›image object‹.

Timothy Ingold Bauen Knoten Verbinden

The paper follows Gottfried Semper’s thesis that building – just like the textile – originates in practices of the knot. A comparison of the knot with dominant metaphors of the construction stone, the chain and the container shows how knotting is inscribed in the fields of material, movement, perception and human relations. But the knot connects things with each other, instead of simply adding them; it is a connection by sympathy rather than by joints. That leads to a comparison of tectonic and stereotomic aspects of building, especially of the wall. Is the wall constructed on the ground, like the skyscraper, or is it a fold in the ground itself, like the mountain? If one pursues the idea of the knot, one arrives at the latter conclusion.


T’ai Smith Textile Diagrams. Florian Pumhösl’s Abstraction as Method

For Viennese artist Florian Pumhösl »abstraction is a method«, not a category. Or rather, if abstraction is the defining category of modernism, the objective is to reproduce modernism’s problems and limits and exploit relationships among its parts. Considering what Pumhösl calls the »textile complex« of modernism, this essay examines the artist’s work in parallel with Charles Sanders Peirce’s diagram concept and Gottfried Semper’s use of textile diagrams throughout Style in the Technical and Tectonic Arts.

Kathryn Rudy Sewing as Authority in the Middle Ages

This essay considers medieval sewing in light of Austin’s speech-act theory. Analysing manuscripts, relics, indulgences, and even a bishop’s mitre, the article argues that stitching was a way to enact, or intensify, the ritual purpose of objects, whether that was ceremonial, devotional, or authoritative. Whereas a speech act functions by its utterance, stitches act by forming visible and often ceremonious attachments between materials in order to aggrandise, embellish, assert and layer authority, or swathe an object in textiles as if it were a relic.

Birgit Schneider Klangteppiche. Trans­mediale Verhältnisse zwischen Weberei und Musik

Based on Greek mythology, the multiple relationships between singing and weaving, »Flechttanz« (»weaving dance«) and the structural similarities of forms of notation and principles of control in music and weaving are explored. It is found that the relationship between music (as a temporal art) and weaving (as a spatial art) goes far beyond that which the metaphor of »sound tissues« points at. Rather, the relationship between art forms and media expresses mythical and spiritual levels. The transformation of tissues in music or, respectively, music in tissues, makes the creative potential of transposition productive.

Wolf Kittler Couleurs à la mode. Impressio­nism as an Effect of the Chemical Industry

The invention of aniline and other synthetic dyes in the second half of the nineteenth century is the beginning of a new epoch. The new colors produced by the fledgling chemical industry are not only brighter than most of the traditional dyestuffs, but also much cheaper. They change the appearance of women on the streets of the modern city. Among the first media to notice and document this revolution are fashion magazines, realist novels, and Impressionist paintings. I argue that the bright colors on the new palette of Impressionist painters are a direct effect of the chemical industry.