Wolfgang Ernst has demonstrated that the knowledge of time-giving (‘chrono-poetical’) media and their temporal essence enriches the tradition of philosophical inquiry into the nature of ‘time’. This book, a translated and abridged edition of Ernst’s two major volumes, Chronopoetik and Gleichursprünglichkeit, undertakes this on three levels: a close analysis of time-critical moments within media technologies; descriptions of how media temporalities affect and disrupt the traditional human sense of time; and questioning the traditional position of media time within cultural history.
The book brings together two fields of inquiry: the technological analysis of media time processes and the venerable tradition of philosophical inquiry into the nature of time. Ernst argues that the scientific inquiry into the nature of time is enriched by the media-technological context. The book exposes a media theoretical approach to contemporary media culture that derives from the combination of philosophical reflection on the essence of technology and a close analysis of technological devices themselves. Ultimately Ernst addresses a fundamental concern of past, contemporary and future media culture: the position of technology in culture under the focused perspective of its tempor(e)alities.
Introduction / Preface to the Focused English Edition / 1. Introducing “Time-Critical Media Processes” / Part I: Electrotechnical Microtemporalities / 2. Signal Transmission and Delay / 3. Generating Time by Technical Measuring / 4. The Computer as Time-Critical Medium / Part II: Media-Induced Disruptions of the Human Perception of Time / 5. Experiencing Time as Sound: Recorded Voices, Magnetic Tapes / 6. A Close Reading of the Electronic “Time Image” / 7. The Media Timing of Non-Linear Communication / Part III: Re-Thinking “Media Historiography” / 8. The Heterochronic Being-in-Time of Technical Media / 9. Equitempor(e)alities in Media Knowledge / Bibliography / Index
Chronopoetics is not about media history, but offers a close reading of the signal realities of our times. Written by leading media theorist Wolfgang Ernst, this inspiring and provocative book cuts across so-called old and new media as well as between technical details and contemporary theory. Media philosophy unfolds as a microcosmos of temporalities.
Wolfgang Ernst’s Chronopoetics is a voice from the white-hot core of the machine universe. He follows the things themselves with a relentlessness unmatched by any media theorist since Harold Innis. In focusing on signals that shuttle through our technical and natural systems at speeds too fast and intervals too small to be perceived by a human subject, Ernst might, at first, seem provocatively inhumane. But in the end his revelation of the poetics of time-critical processes offers its own stark enlightenment
Wolfgang Ernst is Professor of Media Theories at the Institute of Musicology and Media Studies, Humboldt University, Germany. His many publications include Digital Memory and the Archive (2013).
Anthony Enns, the translator, is Associate Professor of English at Dalhousie University, Canada.