Technological forms and communication forms In artefacts and media




Technology, Media, Communication, Art, DADA, Commodity, Machine


Common sense gives us a support to believe that the identity of natural living beings is different from the identity of artifacts. Allegedly, the identity of the artifacts relies on the form ascribed to them by their creators and does not come from within, it is not immanent. Usually, a similar distinction between "organized living bodies" and "organized artificial bodies" is taken for granted. By assuming a human constructive act, the artificially organized body receives its organizing principle and what defines its use from the outside. Works of art are among these objects as well as instruments. In the nineteenth century, some descriptions of manufactures had come to define a machine as an organized body with internal motion, thus motivating the problem of the status of machines among artifacts. It is not surprising that one of the returning problems in current philosophical discussions about technology and art is that of the status of intentional, mental dependence of the artifacts. These discussions have shown that mental dependency cannot be assessed without clarifying the dimension of communication in technical activities. Thus, it can be objected to the authors exclusively concerned with the restricted theme of the intentionality of mental dependence, that they have overlooked the communicative orientation of production, manual or industrial, and its social destiny. The present study intends to show how the platonic heritage of mimesis, exemplified with the “three beds” of Politeia X, 597 b and fll., although assuming a communitarian, restrictive dimension, of the technical making, is present in the assumptions of some contemporary theoretical versions on technology, industrial production and art. The notions of the craftsman, as a producer for the community, the artifact and the machine in industry are clarified to identify the contrasts between different historical ways of understanding the technical making and the corresponding semantic and theoretical resonances. Subsequently, the discourse of the cultural criticism, represented in some texts by Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno and Herbert Marcuse, is depicted as a conservative theoretical orientation towards the autonomy of modern communication, the expansion of automated industrial production according to diagrams and its application to art. Through a scrutiny of the transmorphs of modernist art, particularly the DADA’s transmorphs, it is explained how contemporary art has explored the morphological collisions resulting from the combination of organic, traditional artistic and industrial motives in order to move communication to the center of the artistic making, challenging the intentionality of the author and developing new aesthetic situations. The scope of the conservative attitudes towards modernity, which describe it as one-dimensional and reductionist, is thus limited. Meeting the various dimensions of the remarking of the mercantile and the artistic in the transmorphs of conceptual art, I conclude this work with the thesis that artistic communication, as overcoding of various media, has the ability to redesign the senders, recipients and messages, even when it takes place through standardized or commercialized media.


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