Academic journal article New Formations

Technics beyond the Temporal Object

Academic journal article New Formations

Technics beyond the Temporal Object

Article excerpt

Abstract ThL· essay focuses on the phenomenological origins and limitations of Bernard Stiegler's media philosophy. No critic has more thoroughly and convincingly hid bare the deep correlation of human life and technical culture: from the first volume of hü Technics and Time to hL· recent study of attention and technics (Taking Care), Stiegler has explored the co-evolution of technics and life and has managed to articulate a powerful neo-phenomenologkal model of media centered around the adaptation of the Husserlian figure of time-consciousness for thinking contemporary "technical temporal objects" and their role in mediating our subjectivity. With his contention that technics impacts human life first and foremost by contaminating the innermost intimacy of human time-consciousness, Stiegler retains a crucial commitment to the integrity of human agency: while he does recognize the specificity of twenty-first century media - its operation at levels beneath that of consciousness - StiegUr focuses hü attention on how interaction with microtemporal technics impacts higher-order human experience. ThL· focus forms both the strength and the weakness of Stiegler's work. With hL· appreciation for the specificity of contemporary digital technics, Stiegler L· in principle ready and able to recognize the necessity for rethinking human agency along the lines suggested above: namely, as a hybrid composition of overlapping processes - of which consciousness L· simply one among others - operating at different timescales and leveb of complexity. And yet he L· prevented from doing so because ofhL· overly narrow conception of time-consciousness, which L· equally to say, because ofhL· fidelity to a certain Husserl: the orthodox Husserl of the phenomenological epoche. There L·, in other words, a fundamental tension at the core of Stiegler's position: while hL· analysL· of technics pinpoints its operation beyond the grasp of consciousness, hL· argument for technical contamination retains consciousness as the exclusive scope for thinking technics.

Keywords Husserl, time-consciousness, microtemporal experience, sensibility, technical contamination, temporal object, computation, ErlebnL·

It is hard for me to convey just how great was my excitement at discovering the work of Bernard Stiegler. For me, this discovery - initially of Technics and Time, volume 1 and the short essay on the cinema - was a veritable revelation, one of those all-too-rare moments when disparate threads suddenly come together to leave a sense of coherence that has, alas, itself proven to be all-too-fleeting. Yet Stiegler has stuck with me and I can only now perhaps properly appreciate the full significance of my encounter with his program to reverse the forgetting of technics in Western philosophy. What this encounter afforded me was nothing less than a chance to revisit and re-conceptualize my own training as a literary and cultural theorist - to return to and revalue what I learned as a graduate student at UC Irvine, during the Derrida days, when I worked my way through and - so I thought - out of deconstruction. Though I did not appreciate it then, my encounter with Stiegler gave me a chance to take stock of the reciprocal impact of my then current work and my prior training upon one another, and as such, it implicated me directly in a living instance of the bi-directional circuit that Stiegler institutes between primary retention and secondary memory in 'The Time of Cinema'. Just as new primary retentions retroactively modify the very past memories that they grow out of, so too were my own recent interests - with the aid of Stiegler's core insight - able retroactively to modify my past engagement with a deconstruction-tinged phenomenology and indeed to revalue this latter as a positive component in my own thinking of media.

To put it in more concrete terms, my encounter with Bernard Stiegler gave me the means to reconnect my own (post-graduate school) turn to new media with the poststructuralism in which I had been schooled and from which I had in some sense sought to distance myself. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.