Author: Sonia de Jager
Full Title: Manual Override: Reflections into mediation and mediatization
Published: April 2016. Originally published 2015 by Studio 47 Press
The concept of the ‚post-digital‘ is addressed multifacetedly by Manual Override, an experimental thesis which explores questions concerning technology, culture and language by analyzing the dis/continuities between them under the tentative structural umbrella of „media.“ As digitality and computer-based practices become naturalized, the monolithic authority of the printed word gives way to a much more fluid type of expression. We do not yet comprehend the full effects of this on the future of communication, and we struggle greatly with systematizing the rationale and intelligibility of these new technologies and practices.
This thesis interrogates the definitional determinacy and clarification of so-called post-digital practices, while displaying through its format a manner of all sorts of post-digital aesthetics and tropes which do not fail to be recognized as such, and thus cross-examine interrogations and assumptions about the concept. The post-digital is hereby conceived as the ethic and aesthetic results on media objects, as emerging from their treatment through digital technologies. The definitions, inner workings and historical background of said digital technologies are precisely what becomes questioned in light of the plurality of media we swim in nowadays.
Basing the premises on the work of Marshall McLuhan, Friedrich Kittler, Vilém Flusser, and others, the main issues investigated are: When does culture become technology, technology a form of culture, or either of them a specific form of communication? How can these three concepts, when conceived together as media, elucidate their structures under a different light? Do post-digital studies further illuminate these matters or do they rather complicate our understanding thereof? The answers to these questions are partly explored by the format the writing takes, and partly by analyses into phenomenology, film theory and optics. The concept of immediation, i.e. the inescapability of our mediated nature -examined not as an approach but as facticity- is introduced as a possible theoretical tool to approach the plurality of purported media presented.
A note on the format: parts of the final printed thesis were re-edited by hand, scanned, re-edited digitally, printed, edited manually again, and scanned once more. The final form this thesis takes plays on the theory, and vice versa. The result is a cross-breed between the classic tactile draft, handwritten notes, computer writing and formatting glitches, all of which can be consumed as an image and as a text simultaneously. The infamous conflict between the ‚material‘ and the ‚digital‘ is cross-examined by way of visual explorations into the traits commonly recognized as belonging to either one of these perceptibilities.
About the Author
S. de Jager (Buenos Aires, 1988) is a Rotterdam-based researcher working at the intersection between philosophy of technology, philosophy of language, media studies and cultural analysis. Graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in 2011, and from Universiteit Leiden in 2015, de Jager has developed a number of projects, both ‚artistic‘ as well as ‚academic‘, centered around subjects ranging from visualization matters in high-energy physics laboratories, to the philosophical implications of possible artificial intelligences, to the endlessly debatable nature of our technological situation. Most recently de Jager’s work has been steered toward the idea of language as a technology that models human perception; issues of intentionality in communication; Searle’s theory of speech acts; and in general questions that interrogate the banality of all that has been written in an effort to teach, in contrast with all that has been read and the actual reality of what has been learned.