Nr. 07/2 (2016)

Medien der Natur

Der Schwerpunkt der vorliegenden Ausgabe der ZMK – Medien der Natur – scheint den Medienbegriff aus den Grenzen herauslösen zu wollen, die seine konventionelle Semantik ihm auferlegt hat: aus den Grenzen der Kultur und der Geschichte bzw. der Kulturgeschichte. Bisher galt als es als sicher, dass Medien technische Apparaturen und Installationen sind – und das heißt von Menschen geschaffene Artefakte, Zeugnisse der menschlichen Kultur. Diese Sicherheit ist mittlerweile brüchig geworden. Betrachtet man die gegenwärtig vielerorts geführte Diskussion über elementare Medien, pervasive computing, environmental media oder media environments, dann lassen sich in Bezug auf die Frage, ob es Medien außerhalb der anthropogenen Kulturgeschichte gibt, grob zwei Positionen unterscheiden. Beide bejahen die Frage, aber in sehr verschiedenem Sinne. Die eine geht davon aus, dass Medien im Verlauf der Kulturgeschichte der Menschheit emergiert sind, aber seit dem Ende des zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts anfangen, sich mehr und mehr in die Natur einzubetten, die Natur zu durchdringen und diese zu augmentieren. Dabei geht es nicht nur um RFID-Chips, die inzwischen derart miniaturisiert sind, dass sie nicht nur Walen und Zugvögeln, sondern auch Bienen implantiert werden können. Es geht auch nicht nur um die Frage, wann die solcherart technisch aufgerüstete Tierwelt in der Lage sein wird, die Ortungssignale für die eigene intra- oder interspezielle Kommunikation zu nutzen. Es geht vielmehr darum, dass es zunehmend unmöglich wird, Medienumgebungen von natürlichen Umgebungen zu unterscheiden. Tatsachen wie Erderwärmung und Klimawandel, Objekte wie die Ozonschicht oder Prozesse wie der Stickstoffkreislauf sind nicht länger unabhängig von Computersimulationen oder dem Internet beschreibbar. Die Vertreter dieser Position, die meist auch die Anthropozän-These vertreten, sprechen daher auch von einer Natur zweiter Ordnung oder einer Natur nach der Natur. Die andere, radikalere Position geht davon aus, dass Phänomene wie ubiquitous computing uns bloß daran erinnern, dass auch eine als vom Menschen unabhängig imaginierte, ursprünglich gesetzte Natur über Medien nicht nur verfügen müsste, sondern sich nur über Medien überhaupt steuern, regeln, reproduzieren und variieren könnte, kurz: nur durch Medien überhaupt Natur wäre. Ein in seiner Definition über die Kommunikation von Bedeutungen hinausgehender Medienbegriff müsste die Medien der Kultur dann nicht in Abgrenzung von den Medien der Natur, sondern jene in Anlehnung an diese als Umwelten betrachten, die ermöglichen, was wir sind und was wir tun. Medien sind aus dieser Perspektive materielle Möglichkeitsräume und als solche Synthesen aus Natur und Technik.

Contents

Editorial Lorenz Engell, Bernhard Siegert

Portrait of Absence: The Aisthetic Mediality of Empty Chairs Tomáš Jirsa

About Stain(s) Barbara Baert

Die Kraft der Zeitutopie im 19. Jahrhundert. Literarische Medien- und Technikzukünfte bei Edward Bellamy, Kurd Laßwitz und Jules Verne Andreas Ziemann

Debatte: Nicht-Menschenrechte Malte-Christian Gruber und Christoph Menke

Domestizierung im Vergleich Erhard Schüttpelz

Das Internet der Tiere: Natur 4.0 und die conditio humana Alexander Pschera

»Eintauchen!« Ozeanium versus Vision NEMO Roland Borgards

Der unsichtbare Faden. Zu Materialität und Infrastrukturen digitaler Tierbeobachtung Hannes Rickli

Es schleimt, es lebt, es denkt – eine Rheologie des Medialen Gabriele Gramelsberger

Sarcodeströmungen und »Natürliche Zuchtwahl«. Zu den Möglichkeiten und Modellierungen von Ökologie bei Ernst Haeckel Maren Mayer-Schwieger

Tatsachen statt Fossilien – Neuer versus Spekulativer Realismus Markus Gabriel

Karl August Möbius und die Politik der Lebensgemeinschaft Leander Scholz

Abstracts

Lorenz Engell, Bernhard Siegert Editorial

Das Editorial der vorliegenden Ausgabe verfasst von Lorenz Engell und Bernhard Siegert.

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Tomáš Jirsa Portrait of Absence: The Aisthetic Mediality of Empty Chairs

This article deals with the mediality of empty chairs in the works by Vincent van Gogh, Richard Weiner, Egon Schiele, Joseph Kosuth and Eugène Ionesco. These empty chairs are explored as aisthetic-affective figures pervading historical periods and cultural boundaries that offer a specific portrait of absence, which is able to intensify the subject despite its physical non-presence. The argument is based on the dialectic process of dis/appearing, posthermeneutics and the theory of the supplement.

Barbara Baert About Stain(s)

The stain asserts its autonomy as a spot or patch of colour different from the ground. It exists in and of itself. The stain tells us what it means to be the medium of visibility. Hence, every stain is a Metabild, a particular image that explains something about the image as a phenomenon. These properties make the stain a paradigm for the visual medium per se. In this essay I will deal with five factors that could have led to this powerful model: the stain as prototype, Veronica’s stain, the psycho-energetic symptom, Echo’s camouflage and finally, the stain as le désir mimétique.

Andreas Ziemann Die Kraft der Zeitutopie im 19. Jahrhundert. Literarische Medien- und Technikzukünfte bei Edward Bellamy, Kurd Laßwitz und Jules Verne

The paper focuses on the literary genre of utopia and science fiction as empirical and historical material. With reference to selected texts from the 19th century, it outlines which future media, media practices and human life forms are discussed in an often anticipatory way. The thesis is that time utopias act as a model and source of innovative (media) technologies and have a specific power to design new worlds.

Malte-Christian Gruber und Christoph Menke Debatte: Nicht-Menschenrechte

The legal system assumes that human beings – and only human beings – are natural persons. That is erroneous, argues Malte-Christian Gruber, because legal subjectivity isn’t founded in humanity alone. It is moral autonomy that makes man into a “subject whose actions are capable of attribution” (Kant) and thus into a person. Personhood is not identified with being human as such, but by the attribution of actions and legal ownership. Besides human beings, such a functional concept of legal subjectivity can in principle also be applied to other autonomous agents as holder of rights and obligations, e.g. technological artifacts and other non-human agents. Christoph Menke in turn points out that the invention of new rights was the actual law of motion of political emancipation in modern times. This began with the bourgeois revolutions and is still the general model with which politics and theory operate to claim new rights for non-human creatures and artifacts. Just as in the 19th and 20th centuries, the legal emancipation initially led beyond the limits of bourgeois subjectivity and invented social and cultural rights, so should we make a further consequent step and break with the dependence of juridical recognition on the category of human subjectivity. Also bio- and artifacts are to be reconstructed as independent legal entities. However, they lack something that was absolutely fundamental in the emancipatory struggles of the past: to be a subject of rights meant to have demanded rights, indeed, to have been a fighter for rights. One could not be a legal person and holder of rights without having been a political subject as fighter and thinker of rights. To suspend the dependence of legal personhood on human subjectivity so that there may be bio- and artifact-rights also means to dissolve the unity between legal personality and political subjectivity that once defined the modern idea of rights.

Erhard Schüttpelz Domestizierung im Vergleich

Domestication can be defined by a nucleus of three technical activities: controlled reproduction and nutrition as well as protection of animals and plants from damage. If one applies this definition to a comparison of cultures and collectives, two surprises arise: Without being in touch of any kind of domestication, hunter-gatherers develop a ritual domestication or a mythological understanding that their world already is domesticated. And in modernity, possible naturalization arises at the side of technical domestication. The paper draws some conclusions from this typological comparison.

Alexander Pschera Das Internet der Tiere: Natur 4.0 und die conditio humana

In addition to industry, digitalization has also taken hold of nature. The fact that thousands of animals are provided and monitored with GPS transmitters allows to speak of nature 4.0 by way of analogy to industry 4.0. This internet of animals changes our idea of nature. Most of all, it transforms the perception of nature as something fundamentally other. Beside the many cultural problems that the internet of animals implies, it can also outline a new, not at all esoteric planetary post-digital culture that is about to change the human condition.

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Roland Borgards »Eintauchen!« Ozeanium versus Vision NEMO

The Ozeanium and the Vision NEMO are two opposing proposals on how to present the sea and the marine life in a zoo. The Ozeanium is working with conventional large aquariums, in which real fish are swimming, while the Vision NEMO employs the latest transmission and projection techniques to show animated images of fishes. In both projects, media play an important, but also very different role. There is, however, one thing that both projects have in common: They assume that media are an exclusively human affair. Thus, medial processes in the marine animal kingdom don’t come into view.

Hannes Rickli Der unsichtbare Faden. Zu Materialität und Infrastrukturen digitaler Tierbeobachtung

Wildlife observation in life sciences is media based and operates in dependence on infrastructures that are normally not visible or not noticed. On the basis of laboratory examples from Zurich, Austin/Texas and Helgoland, configurations of human and non-human actors are studied from an aesthetic perspective. The material contexts, in which work with digital data is involved, are brought into focus as well as the question of how they can be experienced and negotiated artistically in a “scientificized” society.

Gabriele Gramelsberger Es schleimt, es lebt, es denkt – eine Rheologie des Medialen

Much has been written about media, but the medium of all media has not been studied so far: I am referring to slime. Not just any slime, but the protoplasm of all life, the scientific mystery, which is still regarded as unsolved. And another mystery remains be solved, namely the peculiar coalition of slime and technical media. According to science, slime is not only the origin of the human species, but also the future of technology.

Maren Mayer-Schwieger Sarcodeströmungen und »Natürliche Zuchtwahl«. Zu den Möglichkeiten und Modellierungen von Ökologie bei Ernst Haeckel

Ecology is a term that is much discussed in recent media and cultural studies. This raises the question of the use, the potential and the historical and medial constitution of different concepts of ecology and their respective understandings of nature, organism and relationality. This paper presents an analysis of Ernst Haeckel’s General Morphology and his Sarcodes-experiments and elaborates different models of (inter-)relationality, especially relations between organisms and environment, in ecology.

Markus Gabriel Tatsachen statt Fossilien – Neuer versus Spekulativer Realismus

Speculative Realism starts out from a critique of Correlationism. Its theoretical advantage supposedly is its ability to rethink the ancestral, i.e. that which was before it could be stated as Being. This paper argues against this approach by showing that Speculative Realism is precisely not able to employ the existence of fossils as a metaphysical proof. Subsequently, a neorealist ontology of facts is introduced as a superior alternative and questioned in view of its concept of nature.

Leander Scholz Karl August Möbius und die Politik der Lebensgemeinschaft

The paper reconstructs the historical genesis of political ecology in the 19th century by the example of the zoologist Karl Möbius. The population debate around 1800 is elaborated as a decisive paradigm of its emergence. Against this background, the political-ecological perspective arises through the transfer of classical economic principles on animal com- munities and their retransfer back to a human world that is now understood in zoological terms.