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Media and Materiality in the Neo-Avant-Garde

Edited By Jonas Ingvarsson and Jesper Olsson

Media and Materiality in the Neo-Avant-Garde explores the materiality of media technologies and their impact on the avant-garde of the late twentieth century.
The essays of the volume range between different art forms (literature, film, music, visual art, performance) and bridge the same contested cultural divides – high and low, ideology and form, art and everyday life – that were once challenged by the avant-garde. Ranging in topics from the Beach Boys to Herbert Eimert, from Scandinavian forests to Warhol’s Factory, the perspectives established and the operations performed in Media and Materiality in the Neo-Avant-Garde thus traverse a network of art and technology that has been crucial for more than half a century, and still is today.


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Introduction: Media and Materiality in the neo-avant-Garde 7


7“But I didn’t get married until 1964 when I got my first tape recorder. My wife. My tape recorder and I have been married for ten years now. When I say ‘we’, I mean my tape recorder and me. A lot of people don’t understand that.” (Andy Warhol, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol) “Media determine our situation”.1 Friedrich Kittler’s laconic statement from the late 1980s has been hovering over the discussion of art and media history for some time by now. And despite the well-grounded resistance to simplifying theorizations of the relationship between the meaning-making mechanisms of cultural practices, on the one hand, and the material technologies for producing, storing, and disseminat- ing such work, on the other – most notably, perhaps, manifested in the critique of determinstic models in Mark Hansen’s “new” media theory – it is hard to neglect the impact that this Kittlerian intervention into the humanities has had.2 The re-reading of the writings of Walter Benjamin, Claude Shannon, and Marshall McLuhan, in conjunction with a keen eye on philosophers such as Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida, that was initiated in the late 1970s in Germany (besides Kittler, names such as Jochen Hörisch, Norbert Bolz, and Niklas Luhmann, 1 Friedrich A. Kittler, Gramophone, Film, Typewriter, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997, tr. Geoffrey Winthrop-Young and Michael Wutz, XXXIX. 2 See, for example, Mark F. Hansen, New Philosophy for New Media, Cambridge: MIT Press, 2004. IntroductIon Media and Materiality in the neo-avant-Garde 8 Ingvarsson & olsson can be mentioned)...

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