From “Im­ma­te­r­ial” to “Hy­per­ma­te­r­ial”


Session Title:

  • On the Persistence of Hardware

Presentation Title:

  • From “Im­ma­te­r­ial” to “Hy­per­ma­te­r­ial”




  • Panel: On the Persistence of Hardware

    In this pro­posal, it is sub­mit­ted to ap­proach the dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies through the ques­tion of their ma­te­ri­al­ity. To do this, the ref­er­ences will be taken from the­o­ret­i­cal and con­cep­tual propo­si­tions by some french philoso­phers. It means the philo­soph­i­cal con­cep­tions on new tech­nolo­gies con­cern­ing the ma­te­ri­al­ity that emerged from the ex­hi­bi­tion named  “Les immatériaux” or “The im­ma­te­ri­als” by Jean-François Ly­otard in 1985, con­ceived in the con­text of the post­mod­ern con­di­tion, and until the essay  “Econ­omy of hy­per­ma­te­r­ial and psy­chopower” pub­lished by Bernard Stiegler in 2009, and analysed in the sit­u­a­tion that he calls a hy­per­indus­trial so­ci­ety in an ul­tra­mod­ern per­spec­tive, this with­out for­get­ting the speci­fici­ties of dig­i­tal art de­fined by the artist Ed­mond Cou­chot and the philoso­pher Nor­bert Hillaire in their book  “Dig­i­tal art, or when the tech­nol­ogy comes to the art world”, edited in 2003.

    Elec­tronic, com­puter pro­gram, vir­tual in­ter­faces, all con­stituents of the com­puter, make seem the dig­i­tal as im­ma­te­r­ial. Elec­tronic by its in­tan­gi­ble phys­i­cal ap­pear­ance, the com­puter pro­gram by its cal­cu­la­tion and its lan­guages, sys­tems that are al­ready sym­bols, and so, some ab­strac­tions. Don’t we call a com­puter an ab­stract ma­chine?  But, how about that?  The im­ma­te­r­ial has been used by Ly­otard to de­fine the new state of plas­tic art pro­duced with  com­puter, but also its sim­u­lated tex­ture com­posed by com­plex cal­cu­la­tions. And here is com­ing the pro­gram and its cen­tral role in the work­ing of com­puter: it is a speci­ficity of the dig­i­tal, up to Cou­chot and Hillaire. But for Stiegler, the in­vis­i­bil­ity of the ma­te­r­ial does not make it dis­ap­pear : in the con­trary, the in­fi­nitely lit­tle is still a state of ma­te­r­ial, and the prob­lem to con­sider is the form of the ma­te­ri­al­ity as an in­for­ma­tion.  This paper would like to de­velop a sort of his­tor­i­cal de­f­i­n­i­tion and con­cep­tion of the new tech­nolo­gies of in­for­ma­tion through these philo­soph­i­cal con­cepts.

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