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Richard Dienst, Still Life in Real Time: Theory After Television (1994)

Introduction:
last week - photography and the still image - this week television and the moving image
but last week digital, this week analogue - going backwards a bit - next week
cinema/teleconference and cyberspace
then MOOs and virtual reality
Preface
p.x Def of theory - highly mobile culture practice - invention of theoretical images that
link up with images produced by the machine
p. Xiii - theory as the best available technique for remaking televisual images and
reclaiming the pwoer to create images of our own - a call to think about television
differently - like Heidegger
I. Televisual Flows
Ch. 1 The Outbreak of Television
p.4 cant treat TV as derivative of capitalism
Imaginary Totalities
p 5 - TV opens field of total instantaneous visibility - utopia of uninterrupted free trade
p.6 textual protocol for TV - world can be assembled under a single process ***
p. 9 Sartre - human parts are now, with TV, linked through the machine - a serial
unification -- EXPLAIN - vs Cuba - TV as simultaneity and cultural unification
p. 11 three origins of TV - a transparent world; a governing state or unified culture;
exignecies of the market - a map of the systematic relations between televisual
mchanisms and discourses ***
Technical Imaginaries
p. 13 What does it mean that something can be both technology and cultural form?**
Raymond Williams - radio and TV devised for abstract transmission without
content, so..
Content may reverse the character of TV
p. 18 - the key to TV aesthetics is scanning - tranlsates and frames light as information
p. 20 TV is not for producing images (cinema) but to open and frame fields of visibility
where any image can be a point of visibility ****
Itinerary of a Concept-Image: the Vicissitudes of Flow
flow is the unresolved metaphysical impulses in the theory of TV
Another Beginning
Ch. 2 Image/Machine/Image: Marx and Metaphor in Television Theory
possible economies of TV: two poles ->machine & image
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p. 37 - economy - contains axioms of value and structure that guarantee truth-claims


of discourse itself
p. 38 - machinic - the constructions of power in an ordered environment
p.39 - machine now becomes the screen spaces of tv and computers
the question: where does the problem of defining television intersect in a new
understanding of political economy? ****
The Plays the Thing
in Althusser (p.43) representation and machinery are fused into a single conceptmetaphor
Marxmachine
p.45 resemblance between capital as flows in fits and starts and TV transmission of
images *** ???
p. 51 in Marx machinery is bound to labor theory of value and consciousness
we can study TV thru this textual fissure in Marxian metaphorics
Television, a Machine for Our Time
p. 52 since capitalisms machinery is any transfer-point where value can be
reconfigured -- then television images are themselves always values-in-process
Dienst rejects limiting TV to sphere of consumption with its focus on objects in
favor of a metaphorics of the machinic
p. 58 TV is different from the computer in that it can only jperform its tasks for capital in
the old...time of human subjects
The Work of Watching
p. 58 two hypotheses: one, tv works as a machine in Marxs sense; second, tv
incorporates daily life into the body of capital
p. 59 tvs economic role - transformation of material images into units of value thru new
frameworks of circulation
functions of tv - 1. Restructures space 2. New production of time
II Commercial Breaks
Ch.3 History, the Eternal Rerun: On Crime Story
Ch.4 Mondino, MTV, and the Laugh of Madonna
Ch.5 Appetite and Satisfaction, a Golden Circle: Magic and Commerce in Twin
Peaks
III Theoretical Images
Ch.6 The Dangers of Being in a Televisual World: Heidegger and the
Ontotechnological Question
p. 104 TV is at the conjunction of history and technics, metaphysics and science
Heidegger questions the main terms of TV criticism - representation, etc
TV threatens thinking, interferes with truth, etc
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Daseins First and Last Stand


p. 106 The Thing - TV = abolition of remoteness [compare to Virilio]
p. 107 Dasein - a being through whom Being is in question ****** there but not fully
present
p. 109 distance = separation of Daseins everyday spatiality and visibility from the
glowing proximities of Beings `lighting
The Hazards of Being
p.110 early Heidegger dasein besieged by crowds, inauthenticity -- later Heidegger,
dasein besieged by technics - so technics is similar to mass society
p.115 DISCUSS Representational thinking has rendered all objects -- including the
subjects of humankind -- so present, so much at hand, that none can appear as such.
End over End
p.119 from the fourth Bremen lecture (The Turning) - ...we whose hearing and seeing
are perishing through radio and film under the rule of technology. [performative
violence of this sentence is characteristic of Heidegger]
p. 123 TV is the perfect end point...a pure will-to-vision - Dienst sees TV as the pure
violence of the frame - it pushes everything under representation, makes everything
calculable, makes reality seen as produced by man. -- THIS IS WRONG
p.124 TV is the indispensible instrument for a total system of ordering because it
allows for a continual redistribution of `what is real in the objective guise of images,
through the channels of subjectivity. DISCUSS!!!!!
Televisions Last Word
p. 124 Heidegger goes on TV - like us, going for Hot Lists and on MOOs
p. 126 Heidegger chose to make a spectacle of himself DISCUSS re: Second Media
Age Ch.1 on intellectuals critique of distraction = defense of the subject position
(autonomy) of the intellectual
p. 127 Heidegger on TV is recognition of TV as including metaphysics and the
unavoidability of TV for thought - this is another Thesis on Feuerbach
Ch.7 From Post Cards to Smart Bombs (and Back Again): Derrida and the
Televisual Textual System
Preview
p.129 tv is a world where missiles and melodramas are sent through the same space,
the same network of representation, across the signifying chains that link the controlled
spread of culture to the spectre of unrestricted destruction.
- dont newspapers do the same thing? If not, how not?
- is this a postmodern crossing of boundaries?
Cards
p. 130 for Derrida/Goddard post card = image in transit, subject to regulation,
misdirection, profit - this is telecommunication - but are nto all messages like this
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- tvs limits - undecidable


- how TV repositions deconstruction - p.131
Telecommunication
p.131 - writing = how language happens even before we speak of it - a machine
producing excess of signifying potential, indicating that the structuralist sign cannot
contain it
**** all communications theory = perfectly functioning writing machine [DISCUSS] - but it
never works correctly, instead (p.132) it plays
no rule can turn writing into a concept of totality - Derridas privilege
p.133 READ - the sign - communicates uncertain movement of reference
Derrida questions: (1) identity of senders/receivers (2) containment of
meaning/intention in the sign (3) stability of rules to regulate writing
new technologies (p.134) intensify effects of writing rather than deliver us to
transparency ***** TV p.135 does not compose images and sounds into a new metalevel of signs but
instead inscribes a new rule of visibility, with new contextual linkages - opening new
tracks of iterability --- Diensts early Derrida interpretation of TV
Posts
Derridas Post Card is televisual because it deploys and switches between many textual
registers p. 136 - post card is figure of diffusion p.137
flow - law of visibility - everything can be seen but nobody can see it all - hence
instability in tvs mode of appearance p.137 text now = illimitable matrix crossing at variable speeds all cultural, political and
social dimensions - in early Derrida writing is still bound to singular text
but now (1) sending is the central dynamic of representation (2) take the situation of the
marks into account
The Stamp
The Address
p.140 the concept of sending = analysis of the composition of the field in terms of
force, destabilizing the enclosure of the subject
discussion of Althusser, with the addition of interpellations that miss
The Material Support
p.142 the material change from cardboard to electrons introduces a specific
history ***** (re: Archive Fever and Negropontes digital being)
Changes - not just delivery speeds - dematerialization into electrons and
de-literalization - suspension of codes under rule of visible writings *****
The Postal Axiom
Ch.8 Ineluctable Modalities of the Televisual
Gilles Deleuze and the Natural History of Images
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p. 146 cinema - two interconnected functions: formation of subjectivities and projection


of visible spaces in an assemblage of images - TV arrives after this so it doesnt take
this as problem - but TV offers simultaneous inscription and diffusion for Deleuze communication is no longer a stake to be won or lost
the movement-image: relations of visibility, not freestanding pictures with desire
as the unifying force of the cinematic plane
p. 151 language - not signified content in transmission but a machine that
assembles and regulates signifying regimes, binding bodies and enunciations
Aloft in the Stilly Light
p.159 TV as a time machine
proposition: time moves in two directions on television, toward the still and toward the
automatic **** still = breaking one movement of images by a kind of mechanical
movement (inscription) automatic = extention of movement by illumination and scanning
p.160 - still and automatic time = the intensive and extensive limits of the
apparatus itself; p.161 operate as thresholds in an alternating current
p.161 on tv mix replaces cut - means each change of image is potential
displacment - still time is not a capturing of a moment but produced by switching away
from a picture ????
P.163 all tv combines stilling and extending time
still time - especially on music videos and commercials
automatic time - sporting events, televangelism - the level of pure event
archetype of mixed tv time is the news
VCRs simply extend the range of still and automatic time
p.167 TV establishes the mechanics of global representation without being able
to perform it *******