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Daniel Rourke (M, 35)
London, UK
Immortal since Dec 18, 2007
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All things would be visibly connected if one could discover at a single glance and in its totality the tracings of an Ariadne’s thread leading thought into its own labyrinth.
- Georges Bataille
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    How Technology "Reveals" the World
    Project: The Total Library
    “There was a time when it was not technology alone that bore the name techné... Once there was a time when the bringing-forth of the true into the beautiful was called techné. And the poïesis of the fine arts also was called techné.”

    Martin Heidegger, The Question Concerning Technology (1954)

    For Martin Heidegger the essence of technology is to be understood as distinct from technology itself. Etymologically the word technology stems from the Greek techné, "the name not only for the activities and skills of the craftsman but also for the arts of the mind and the fine arts". Techné is to be understood as craft: a “bringing-forth” / a “revealing”:

    “Bringing-forth brings out of concealment into unconcealment... The Greeks have the word aletheia for revealing. The Romans translate this with veritas. We say “truth” and usually understand it as correctness of representation.”

    Martin Heidegger, The Question Concerning Technology (1954)

    This unconcealment of truth is a poïetic process, a bringing about of presence in the craft of creative engagement. This concept of the techné seems to emerge naturally when we look at art, at text, as palimpsestic. The essence of the x-ray as it peers under the surface of the painting reveals - brings-forth - a greater truth to the painting, e.g. what the painter sketched before she layered the oil upon the canvas. Our root in the present, as entities only capable of engaging with art as it appears to us now, is mediated by the essence of technology. The past becomes revitalised as a cross-section through the present.

    “By going back to its own root and almost beyond it, technology is made to disclose its revealing and concealing gesture, and further yet, its deep complicity with poetic creation.”

    Jean-Michel Rabaté, The Future of Theory - 2002

    Any engagement with art that effectively realigns its perceived surface with its palimpsest can be understood as poïetic: as techné.

    This essential mode of technology does not rest naturally with our modern view, yet in the negative of essence, one finds a boundary via which to re-define technology yet further:

    “The product of technology is not a function of a mutual context of making and use. It works to make invisible the labor that produced it, to appear as its own object, and thus to be self-perpetuating. Both the electric toaster and Finnegans Wake turn their makers into absent and invisible fictions.”

    Susan Stewart, On Longing (1984)

    The idea of technology as labour towards product is intrinsic to our modern comprehension. But what of the technology of text? of the written or printed word? The labour which produced the technology of text is irrelevant to the essence of text itself. The essence of Finnegans Wake is in the crafting labour of readership – an active reversal of traditional perceptions. Text as techné reveals nothing less than the boundaries of consciousness, of truth, of humankind:

    “For man, as Julian Huxley observes, unlike merely biological creatures, possesses an apparatus of transmission and transformation based on his power to store experience. And his power to store, as in language itself, is also a means of transformation of experience.”

    Marshall Mcluhan, Understanding Media (1964)

    Language is revealed through text as the mode of our conscious experience – a truth which furthermore transforms the very capacities of the thoughts which think it. Once text, in its essence, is transmitted and elucidated via readership there is transformation “of the process of coming-into-being of the world” :

    “From a phenomenological standpoint... the world emerges with its properties alongside the emergence of the perceiver in person, against a background of involved activity. Since the person is a being-in-the-world, the coming-into-being of the person is part and parcel of the process of coming-into-being of the world.”

    Tim Ingold, The Perception of the Environment (2000)

    [ Note: This is an extract from my MA thesis, which is still in the process of being revealed. I hope you enjoyed it. ]

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    disinfect     Tue, Jul 22, 2008  Permanent link
    process of being revealed :)

     
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