Friedrich Kittler, “The City is a Medium”

It has become a commonplace in media studies to point out the visual similarities between cities and circuit boards. In "The City is a Medium," Friedrich Kittler highlights a more conceptual link between urban infrastructures and information technologies. According to Kittler, "a network made up of intersecting networks dissects and connects the city—in particular its fringes, peripheries, and …

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Brian Holmes, “Drifting through the Grid: Psychogeography and Imperial Infrastructure”

Brian Holmes's "Drifting Through the Grid" is a manifesto for disobedience and spontaneity in an age of digital predictability. Updating the Situationist concept of "psychogeography," Holmes adapts the idea of "drifting" around urban environments to "drifting through the grid" of contemporary media environments. "What would it really take to lose yourself in the abstract spaces …

Poetiken der Infrastruktur

I'm very much looking forward to the conference this Saturday on "Poetiken der Infrastruktur. Zum Unterbau medialer Kommunikation," organized by Simon Ganahl, Arndt Niebisch, Martina Süess of the Mediologie@Wien group in cooperation with the Institut für Wissenschaft und Kunst
. In preparation for the event, I'll be posting some of my notes on select sources from network studies, in general, and wireless …

Hans Traub, “Arbeitsrhythmus als Morsezeichen“ (1927)

For Hans Traub, the modern system of Morse code marches to the beat of an ancient drum. The phenomenon of communication (Nachrichten) arises from the primal urge to communicate (Mitteilungsdrang), which, in turn, forms the bonds of community (Gemeinschaft). Hence Traub‘s etymology of the word “message” (Nachricht) as “command” (Befehl) or “instruction” (Instruktion): “Die Nachricht …

Wired Radio and the Telephone Newspaper

One of the most interesting 'roads not taken' in the history of the radio is surely that of "wired wireless." In America, the radio could have gone the path of the telephone and become a wired network that directly connected transmitters to receivers through various operations of switching. In fact, there were several analogous attempts in Europe …

Logos: Wi-Fi vs. Bluetooth

I've been thinking recently about the differences between the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth logos, especially in relation to the more universal symbol for wireless connections. Both the Wi-Fi logo and the Bluetooth logo are trademarks that are supposed to stand in for international standards. (Of course the "fidelity" of "Wi-Fi"—coined in analogy to "Hi-Fi" (High Fidelity)—is largely …