Siegfried Zielinski – […After the Media]: News from the Slow-Fading Twentieth Century


Univocal Publishing, ISBN-13: 978-1937561161, English, 275 pages, 2013, USA

Finally translated from German, this essay by Siegfried Zielinski is very involved with contemporaneity, and it presents a preeminent discourse on current media, taking into account their “relational” quality. Starting with an assumption of their “redundancy”, the author’s analysis of media considers how they process materials in between arts, technologies and sciences. After a strong legacy in the 20th century, media now “exist in superabundance”, and it’s even possible to “create a state with media” – which may or may not also be superfluous. Media still define social hierarchies, but to compensate for the balance of power they create it’s necessary to “reactivate a dislocated point of view again.” Zielinski’s prose peppered with chronologically exposed discoveries, artworks, ‘apparatuses’ and interventions takes the reader on a long, informed and exciting trip, where technologies and media play a substantial role in art at the intersection between culture and society (which is defined as “cultura experimentalis”). His arguments, as usual, transverse his unique and far-reaching media-archaeology discoveries (the establishment of which discipline Zielinsky has contributed to greatly) and contain lucid political visions and views of the role of technology in society, generating concepts like “online existence and off-line being”. This somehow leads to the final chapter, which is a manifesto for the prevention of “psychopathia medialis”, where the need to reach “unconditional connectivity” is stated early. The work ends by stressing the supreme importance of sociality as a positive experience. Alessandro Ludovico