Nr. 08/2 (2017)

Operative Ontologien

Der Themenschwerpunkt »Operative Ontologien« der Zeitschrift für Medien- und Kulturforschung 8/2 (2017) widmet sich dem zentralen Thema der zweiten Forschungsphase des IKKM und schaltet mit dem Konzept der Operativen Ontologien von der Beobachtung der Relationen zwischen Menschen und Dingen unter hochtechnischen Bedingungen auf die Beobachtung von Operationen zwischen Menschen und Dingen um. Als Begriff erscheinen »Operative Ontologien« einerseits als widersprüchlich, denn im Rahmen des klassischen Ontologie-Verständnisses (das unter Sein ein unveränderliches Wesen versteht) kann er nur als contradictio in adject aufgefasst werden, insofern ein operationales Denken (wie z.B. in der Systemtheorie) sich in aller Regel als anti-ontologisches Denken versteht. Andererseits entspricht dieser Begriff jedoch dem Stand gegenwärtiger posthumanistischer und posteurozentrischer Kulturtheorien und Anthropologien, die sich als »vergleichende Ontographie«, »différents modes d’existence«, »ontologische Regime« oder »Dispositionen des Seins« verstehen. Im Rückgriff auf diesen state of the art birgt der paradoxale Charakter des Begriffs der operativen Ontologie gerade das Potential, die Frage nach der medientechnischen Verfasstheit der Beziehung zwischen Menschen und Dingen im Hinblick auf Forschungsdesiderate in neuer Weise fruchtbar zu machen. Um dieses Potential auszuloten, sind die Beiträgerinnen und Beiträger des Themenschwerpunkts gebeten worden, zwei initiale Texte der Herausgeber zum Thema mit eigenen Beiträgen kritisch zu ergänzen, zu kommentieren und weiterzuschreiben. Das Ziel dieses Versuchsaufbaus war es, gemeinsam nach der Hälfte des zweiten Forschungszeitraums eine erste Zwischenbilanz über den Stand der Arbeit an einem Leitthema des IKKM zu ziehen und auf dieser Basis eine breitere Diskussion über das Konzept der »Operative Ontologien« – über mögliche Ausbau- und Anwendungsfähigkeiten, über Paradoxien und Aporien – in den Medien- und Kulturwissenschaften zu eröffnen.

Contents

Editorial Lorenz Engell, Bernhard Siegert

Gene, Gehirn, Archiv. Über den Ort der menschlichen Natur im Humanethologischen Filmarchiv Vinzenz Hediger

Javier Cercas’ 23-F. Ein historischer Kippmoment im Romanformat Monika Dommann

Die Rede von der Sharing Economy Wolfgang Sützl

Eine Ökonomie des Teilens ist überlebensnotwendig – doch sie kann nur jenseits des Kapitalverhältnisses erkämpft werden Tomasz Konicz

Ein Sermon von dem neuen Testament, das ist von der heiligen Messe Martin Luther

Kommentar Daniel Weidner

Versetzungen. Das Diorama als ontographische Apparatur Lorenz Engell

Öffnen, Schließen, Zerstreuen, Verdichten. Die operativen Ontologien der Kulturtechnik Bernhard Siegert

Ein gelassen-dreifaches Hoch auf ›operative Ontologien‹ Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht

Die Rettung des Ontologischen durch das Ontische ? Ein Kommentar zu ›operativen Ontologien‹ Sybille Krämer

»Operative Ontologien«: Technikmaterialismus als prima philosophia ? Petra Gehring

Das ontologische Debakel oder was heißt: Es gibt Medien ? Astrid Deuber-Mankowsky

The Ontology of Media Operations, or, Where is the Technics in Cultural Techniques? Mark Hansen

Operative Ontologien – ein Versuch, einen klaren Begriff zu verunreinigen Gertrud Koch

Am Anfang war die Operation John Durham Peters

Abstracts

Lorenz Engell, Bernhard Siegert Editorial

Das von den Herausgebern verfasste Editorial zur vorliegenden Ausgabe der ZMK 8/2 (2017)

Download

Vinzenz Hediger Gene, Gehirn, Archiv. Über den Ort der menschlichen Natur im Humanethologischen Filmarchiv

The film archive of human ethology is a collection of about 800 hours of footage and 2000 hours of sound recordings, compiled by behavioral scientist Irenäus Eibl-Eibesfeldt and his collaborators over a period of four decades. Human ethology is understood as biology of human behavior and asks about the phylogenetic conditions of complex motor processes, which are investigated in a comparative perspective on culture. But what exactly is archived in the film archive of human ethology? The paper tackles this question by asking about the operational ontologies of human nature and the photographic evidence incorporated into the research design of human ethology.

Monika Dommann Javier Cercas’ 23-F. Ein historischer Kippmoment im Romanformat

Javier Cercas’s novel Anatomia de un instante is centered upon a gesture: Adolfo Suárez, returning to his chair at the beginning of the coup in the midst of shots, sits down and leans back, surrounded by empty armchairs. Using the example of Cercas’s recounting a tipping moment of Postfranqism, the paper illuminates the return to the event as historical heuristics in the light of knowledge and media histories. Furthermore, it sketches the characteristics of a historiography, which, since 1970, has been interested in the excessive description of a micromoment.

Wolfgang Sützl Die Rede von der Sharing Economy

With the digital media, new forms of the circulation of goods have been established on the basis of social networks, summarily addressed under the term ‘sharing economy.’ The enforcement of these online transactions is accompanied by a euphoric discourse, ascribing to the sharing economy utopian potentials to commonly generate added value. Wolfgang Sützl’s contribution emphasizes that the rhetorical effect of sharing and its idealization distract from exchange as basic economic form. With reference to theories of gift exchange, he shows how sharing (by denying the expectation of equivalence) reaches its limits by being confused with giving, and how it also conceals the value-creation processes of companies as well as the exploitation of resources. Tomasz Konicz also picks up on the idea that the sharing economy tends to an ‘economization of everything,’ seeing in it an ‘anomalous’ desire for alternative forms of economy in the face of the ‘crisis of capital.’ On the other hand, from a Marxist perspective, Konicz points to the ‘processing contradiction’ of technology development and its devastating implications, which also form the basis of the sharing economy. In this respect, the search for alternatives still goes on.

Download

Tomasz Konicz Eine Ökonomie des Teilens ist überlebensnotwendig – doch sie kann nur jenseits des Kapitalverhältnisses erkämpft werden

With the digital media, new forms of the circulation of goods have been established on the basis of social networks, summarily addressed under the term ‘sharing economy.’ The enforcement of these online transactions is accompanied by a euphoric discourse, ascribing to the sharing economy utopian potentials to commonly generate added value. Wolfgang Sützl’s contribution emphasizes that the rhetorical effect of sharing and its idealization distract from exchange as basic economic form. With reference to theories of gift exchange, he shows how sharing (by denying the expectation of equivalence) reaches its limits by being confused with giving, and how it also conceals the value-creation processes of companies as well as the exploitation of resources. Tomasz Konicz also picks up on the idea that the sharing economy tends to an ‘economization of everything,’ seeing in it an ‘anomalous’ desire for alternative forms of economy in the face of the ‘crisis of capital.’ On the other hand, from a Marxist perspective, Konicz points to the ‘processing contradiction’ of technology development and its devastating implications, which also form the basis of the sharing economy. In this respect, the search for alternatives still goes on.

Download

Lorenz Engell Versetzungen. Das Diorama als ontographische Apparatur

Following Merleau-Ponty, one may ask about the possibility of an ‘ontography,’ which would register both the existent and its way of ‘being’. Such reflections on an “écriture de l’être” can transgress the field of graphical or diagrammatic notation. As a dispositive that not only registers being but also ‘assembles’ it, this paper analyses the habitat diorama of natural history. The focus is on the ontographic operation of ‘displacement,’ from which specific effects of evidence and immediacy emerge.

Download

Bernhard Siegert Öffnen, Schließen, Zerstreuen, Verdichten. Die operativen Ontologien der Kulturtechnik

The debate on the agency of objects, lead by philosophy, ethnology as well as cultural and media studies, has triggered a boom of ontologies, deconstructing the traditional concept of ontology. The contribution follows this shift of ontology, which no longer conceives of the media and media artifacts as substances, but as concatenations of practices and operations that are generated by media objects in the first place. To ask for ‘operational ontologies’ means to ask for the concrete ontical operations which first of all produce ontological distinctions – e. g. between form and matter, image and object, thing and process, figure and background. These ontical operations form the core of what we call cultural techniques. The contribution illustrates and explains this thesis with reference to hybrid objects from the material culture of the late Middle Ages and Early Modernity.

Download

Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht Ein gelassen-dreifaches Hoch auf ›operative Ontologien‹

‘Operative Ontologies’ appear as a highly plausible present-day reaction to the history of Western epistemologies since Early Modernity, based on the meta-theoretical premise that such frameworks, instead of imposing themselves as ‘necessary,’ have become an object of choice today. In this spirit, the IKKM’s choice of ‘operative ontologies’ has a number of compelling existential, intellectual, and aesthetic reasons speaking for itself.

Sybille Krämer Die Rettung des Ontologischen durch das Ontische ? Ein Kommentar zu ›operativen Ontologien‹

The concept of ‘operative ontologies’ is not easy to understand. The article tries to explore the potential and limitations of this idea. The methodological approach of operative ontology aims at the fact that the ‘ontic’ (in the sense of the phenomenally given) determines and produces the ‘ontological’ (in the sense of the comprehensibility of the world): The ontic gives birth to the ontological. The meaning of this statement is reconstructed with reference to Bernhard Siegert’s concept of ‘cultural technique’ as well as Lorenz Engell’s notion of ‘ontography’ and is furthermore critically commented upon.

Petra Gehring »Operative Ontologien«: Technikmaterialismus als prima philosophia ?

The article responds to Bernhard Siegert’s programmatic text on “operative ontologies,” questions some fundamental preconceptions of Siegert’s “Technikmaterialismus,” and critically deals with his ontological aims as manifested in the theme of the technical medium as “thing.” Not least, the lack of a precise concept of technique is noted that would mediate between media, practice/operation and “thing” (as well as “articulation” and “culture” in the composite term “cultural technique”) in a sufficiently clear manner. Above all, however, the author advocates to abandon the ontological perspective as it is necessary neither for media or technology-oriented micrological analyses nor for “Technikmaterialismus.”

Astrid Deuber-Mankowsky Das ontologische Debakel oder was heißt: Es gibt Medien ?

The current turn to new ontologies in media and cultural studies is accompanied by an effort to base ontology on pragmatics and thus to dissolve it in practices, processes and acts. Such attempts, however, run the risk that pragmatism turns into functionalism and the ontological question is answered in functional terms. This danger is evident in the concept of an ‘operative ontology,’ which was already used in computer science as early as the 1990s in the context of the automation of stored knowledge. By going back to Willard Van ZMK 8 |2 | 2017 Quine’s notion of an ontological debacle, this paper asks about the opportunities that lie in the ontological crisis for a media philosophical approach beyond a functionalist and thus technical solution.

Mark Hansen The Ontology of Media Operations, or, Where is the Technics in Cultural Techniques?

My aim in this paper is to develop an ontology of media operations that is rooted in Gilbert Simondon’s theory of individuation. I position this media operative ontology in contrast to Bernhard Siegert’s understanding of operative ontology as a cultural technique. Drawing on Wolfgang Ernst, Henri Atlan, and Michel Serres, I argue that Siegert’s position compromises the extra-cultural operationality of technical media, and of techniques more generally, in its bid to redirect media theory from its Kittlerian trajectory. With his theory of information as reception of environmental singularity by a metastable receiver, Simondon provides a mechanism for theorizing how extra-cultural operationality of technical media informs the production of culture and the distinctions upon which it rests, without compromising the alterity of technics.

Gertrud Koch Operative Ontologien – ein Versuch, einen klaren Begriff zu verunreinigen

This article presents operational ontologies as communicative situations in which media and technology are part of a practice, but do not simply coincide with it. Ontology refers to a temporary constellation, for example a link between machine, body and image, which shifts the ontological question of anthropology in perspective time and again. This thesis is further illustrated by a case study of the motion capture technique, whose merging of live action movie and the animated world of visual effects leads to a permanent modification of our notions of the human being and human environment.

John Durham Peters Am Anfang war die Operation

Directed by Marx’s Theses on Feuerbach, the article examines the Left Hegelian motives of the agenda of ‘operational ontologies.’ Bernhard Siegert’s attempt to attribute “ontological distinctions” to “ontical operations” finds a surprising parallel in Feuerbach’s enterprise “to dissolve the religious world into its secular foundation.” At the same time, a technically amplified echo of Marx’s idea of the primacy of practice can be perceived in the postulate of a precedence of cultural technological operations.