Academic journal article New Formations

Glossary

Academic journal article New Formations

Glossary

Article excerpt

technics: Lewis Mumford defines the English term in his bookArt and Technics as 'that part of human activity wherein, by an energetic organization of the process of work, man controls and directs the forces of nature for his own purposes'. ' In Stiegler's work, technics translates the French term la technique which as Richard Beardsworth and George Collins suggest in their translation of the first volume of Technics and Time refers to the 'technical domain or to technical practice as a whole'. It is therefore to be distinguished from 'la technologie' ('technology') and 'technologique' ('technological') which refer to the 'specific amalgamation of technics and the sciences in the modern period'.2 Stiegler uses technics to refer to what he calls Organized inorganic matter'. He explores a history of technics as epiphylogenesis - the preservation in technical objects of non-genetic experience. Stiegler also uses the term mnemotechnics to refer to a type of technics that is specifically 'made for keeping memory'.3

individuation: Stiegler's use of this term draws on the writings of Gilbert Simondon. Simondon's work differs from classical models of individuation, or 'what makes a thing what it is', which place the emphasis on the individual as a substantive or hylemorphic entity. Simondon argues rather that we must 'understand die individual from me perspective of die process of individuation rather than the process of individuation by means of the individual'.4 For Simondon the individual, be it biological, psychic, technical or collective, can only be understood as a metastable entity and he places the emphasis instead on the underlying process or relations from which the individual emerges. Simondon's ideas have been take up by subsequent writers, notably Deleuze and Stiegler, but they have also enjoyed a recent renaissance in work on cultural studies, media studies and politics.5 Simondon also emphasises the 'systematic unity' of the process of psychic (individual) and collective (group) individuation, a process which he calls transindividuation.1'

grammatisation: Stiegler borrows this term from both Derrida and Sylvain Auroux. He uses it to refer to a general process by which technical objects standardise 'gestures, behaviour and movements'. Writing is the obvious example of this, where the written language reduces or standardises the idiomatic and vernacular aspects of the spoken language. However Stiegler's generalisation of this concept would also include, for example, the operation of the Jacquard loom as a standardisation of die actions of individual weavers or the way in which cinema editing represents a grammatisation of the flux of perception. …

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