Current German Media-Theory and their Ancestors: Benjamin and Brecht

Niels Werber, Université d’Ottawa, Carleton University, 19. 3. 2003

In 1972, Jean Baudrillard published his “Requiem of the media”, actually intoning his requiescat in pace not to media, but to certain media-theories.[1] At the end of a close examination of German media theoreticians like Walter Benjamin, Berthold Brecht, and Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Baudrillard states that all these approaches have at least two things in common: a massive overestimation of the social consequences driven by technical possibilities of new media on the one hand and a immense underestimation of the social constraints regulating the utilization of new media on the other hand.

Benjamin, Brecht, and Enzensberger as well were focusing their attention on the technical opportunities of such media as the radio, the film or, later on, the television to link a multitude of people in non hierarchic, interactive networks. Because, on the level of the circuits of radio-technology, every microphone could function as a loudspeaker and vice versa every loudspeaker could be used as a micro, the common fascist or capitalistic practice of broadcasting and one-to-many communication should be replaced by interaction of all participating users. “Every receiver”, Enzensberger claims, “is a potential sender”.[2] The technical option of such a “interactive” circuit would enforce a new practice of dealing with media, and that practice, which for the first time would enfold the true inherent possibilities of new media and put an end to the obsolete hierarchy of one sender and many passive and manipulated receivers. Enzensberger firmly believes that new electronic media “know no principal difference between sender and receiver” (S. 99). The contrary is true, he suggests: the factual technical potential of the new media – in opposition to old media such as the painting, the novel, the stage, the opera – that very potential of new media is only waiting to be aroused, and if aroused, new media will change the virtually fascist system of broadcasting into a progressive network of “interacting free producers” (S. 107). Once more, I want to emphasize the technical aspect of Enzensberger’s argument, because Baudrillard will counter right this aspect; Enzensberger declares, that “new media are principally egalitarian”, if seen from a technical and “structural perspective” (S. 107). And to quote him once again: New media have an inherent desire or inbuilt telos of being used in “interactive networks” (S. 112, 115). As a consequence of this interactive organization of the masses, the whole society will reorganize too – and, I am following the list Enzensberger gave, society will be deliberative and emancipative instead of totalitarian and repressive, it will not manipulate consumers but mobilize and stimulate active participation, it will not alienate individuals from each other but bring them together in collectives (S. 116). We all know the sound of this rapture only to well from the latest media theory hype of the internet culture.

So, to recapitulate the structure of Enzensberger’s argumentation, the technical analysis of media is furnishing the theory with prognostic powers, considering the future of the whole society. As soon as Enzensberger’s media theory has understood the telos of new media in the right way, he calmly and self-confidently could predict the future evolution of society from a capitalist and alienated one into a network of self-organizing collectives. It’s the technology stupid! Enzensberger shares with his predecessors Benjamin and Brecht this conviction that one could forecast development on a firm basis, and together they are joining a genuine teleological and more or less Marxist perspective on history. The short formula for this perspective is the famous statement, that “being determines consciousness”. This means, as outlined in the “German ideology”, written by Marx and Engels, that the cultural surface or the superstructure of society is an effect of the hidden deep structure behind. It is well known that Marx grasped that ominous “being” behind the surfaces of culture and consciousness primarily in economic terms in order to deduce from this deep structure the surface of the superstructure. If you only know what is going on at the level of the hard economic facts and methods of production, if you know what kind of machines and organizations are used to produce goods, you can predict with what kind of society you have to deal with and how it will develop further. Because the social software is recognized as a effect of economic and technological hardware, Marx and Engels knew only too well what was going to happen on the socio-cultural level if they detected certain changes at the level of hardware. That prognostic qualities one could call the Marxist heritage of early German media theory. It´s just as Enzensberger argues: the technical opportunities have changed – and the forms of organizing society and culture will follow, because these forms are considered as effects of a technological deep structure.

Baudrillard’s critic from 1972 was exactly directed against this Marxist heritage. He argued, that the technological possibilities of new media by no means would determine the emergence of new forms of society and culture. Media such as the radio or the television, Baudrillard remembers that media are always mediating – and that includes to keep a difference between sender and receiver, a medium always presupposes a separation of alter and ego. He doesn’t believe in Enzensberger’s vision of an “interactive” network. He states that electronic media are always mass-media, and that means to send messages to recipients who could not answer. Media, he defines, are channels of communication which per se exclude the possibility of answering (S. 91). Of course you can make a call in call-in-shows or write letters to the editor, but never there will be a authentic feed-back, Baudrillard claims, which is not just pre-calculated and allowed for in the scripts of broadcasting. You always have to fit in the framework of the media format, you are not free to respond as you like. Mass-media, Baudrillard sums up, mass-media are excluding any genuine interchange of people, who would really answer to each other (S. 99, 110). New media are unilateral, mono-directional, one point to many points distributors, Baudrillard states. Interaction via media is impossible – true interaction is only possible if the persons are present, able to answer to each other without directing scripts or schemes.

Baudrillard has made himself perfectly clear. Interaction is by no means possible using the new media of radio or television, as Enzensberger has declared and hoped and as once upon a time Brecht and Benjamin had declared and hoped. The recent German media theory accepted this analysis – and nevertheless looked out for new media at once, which could allow them to carry on the old hopes. Of course, in the recent past it was the internet which helps to rise new hopes which all contain the old wish, that a medium might be found which could surmount the hierarchic and asymmetric forms of communication and substitute them with symmetric and lateral forms of interaction. Vilém Flusser, a German based media theoretician, in 1985 found in the still very young internet a new medium for the good old revolutionary hopes. He declared, that in a so called “telematic society” of interconnected computer users, the asymmetric difference between a few centralized senders and a majority of receivers will be abolished. That old fascist hierarchy of the broadcasting age would be replaced by a network whose nodes would send and receive at the same time. No privilege and no distinguished level would make a difference, each node would participate, access always provided, as you would expect. Decisions, Flusser believes, would than be made within the interacting network, which comes to solutions as a neuronal system or like parallel processing networks. The internet is comprehended here by Flusser as a word wide neuronal network, called the “Noo sphere”.[3] In this sphere, mankind finally is integrated, not divided, mankind is working together as a network, and is not longer alienated or estranged from another. It is obvious: Flusser is taking massive consequences out of his analysis of the technical infrastructure of the internet. The world will unit and interact together, he believes, if only every body is connected to the world wide web. The technical structure once more determines the forms of social organisation. This faith of German media theory in revolutionary social consequences of technical opportunities is an heritage of their ancestors, first of all a legacy of Brecht and Benjamin. It was Walter Benjamin, who follows in his essay on the “Work of art in the age of its technical reproduction” the Marxist argument, that the development of the social superstructure can be foresaid if one observes the actual deep structure of the current means of production.

Benjamin’s "Preface" tells us that the "present conditions of production" shape not only the "developments and trends in art", but also those in all other cultural spheres. This occurs, however, with a certain delay  caused by the fact that a "radical change in the superstructure take much longer than one in the substructure" (471) .[4] The being, the world has changed, but culture, arts or ideology are following with some delay only. But it is just this temporal difference between being and consciousness, between surface and deep structure the provides Marxist theory with its prognostic powers. Benjamin’s futurology arises from the analysis of the actual conditions of production, which prompts him to make "certain prognoses " (WB35 435).

Paul Virilio, the French media theorist, recently declared that "Marxism has become the sacrifice of high technology".[5] My argument against this point of view is based on the fact that the latest reflections on media theory – following Benjamin’s Artwork essay – reformulare this specific Marxist distinction between being and conciousness, even if the radix of this model can not always be identified easily. In order to be able to categorize "postmodern" media theorists such as Norbert Bolz or Friedrich Kittler (although, of course, entirely against the way they see themselves), I will first examine the Benjaminian method of prognostication and the direction of its impact; then I will raise the question as to what the new school  of contemporary media studies inherits from it.







Without a doubt, Bertolt Brecht  also belongs to the old school. As early as 1931 – that is, well before Benjamin – Brecht links the analysis of the new medium of film to utopian expectations. “A film must be the work of a collective”, he demands.[6] Brecht goes on to add that a film could not be produced by anything but a collective, because technology forces financiers, directors, technicians, writers, and others to submit to the division of labor – implying modern sympoesis instead of individual authorship. This, according to Brecht, rules out "art" in the conventional sense, because art in a capitalist society implies the unique creation of an individual author usually estranged from his audience. The new technology, he says, has abolished bourgeois art: “These apparatuses are predestined to be used for the surmounting of the old untechnological, anti–technological ‘auratic’ art, which was closely related to religious practices. The socialization of these means of production is a vital matter for art”.[7] The suitability of film for socialism lies not only in its collective production, but also in a new mode of reception. Only a collective, Brecht explains, can “create works of art which transform the ‘audience’ into a collective as well”.[8]

Benjamin takes off from this starting point in 1935, although without even mentioning Brecht. The original and unique, auratic and autonomous work of art created by an individual author, he argues, has been liquidated by modern “means of reproduction” (WB35 441–442). The “illusion of autonomy ... has ceased to exist forever” (WB35 447). Art as it has been known since the end of the eigthteenth century becomes obsolete by an new technical medium. Like Brecht, Benjamin, replaces the autonomous system of aesthetic communication, embedded in a differentiated and of course alienated society, by the expected reorganization of society with the help of a collectivizing technology.

At the same time, Benjamin expects the abolition of the typically modern one-to-many communications, which imply a quantitative and qualitative asymmetry between producer and recipients, between sender and receivers. The differentiation of communication into these functional roles, he says, is abolished for two reasons. First, members of the audience assume the same attitude towards the actors in the film as a editor or a cameraman (488). They do not feel with the actors, as they once did while watching a play on stage, but copy the “perspective” of the “apparatus” (488). The technical apparatus of film establishes a symmetry between the perceptions of the audience and those of the producers. Secondly, Benjamin does not forget to point out that film, as a matter of principle, gives “everyone a chance to be promoted from a mere passerby to a walk–on part. ... Today`s people have every right to expect to be filmed” (493). Benjamin stresses that the newspaper industry had already leveled the centuries–old asymmetry between author and reader because, “with the expansion of the press ... an ever–increasing part of the readership changed –– at first cautiously –– into writers” (493). He has already abandoned his hopes of 1929 concerning the surrealists, whose works were intended to lead to a collective “innervation” and, consequently, to a revolutionary eruption, because the audience received even the avant–garde both contemplatively and distinctly.[9] Yet the “most reactionary” viewer of pictures will be the “most advanced” cinema–goer (496). This is, Benjamin explains, because film inevitably gives rise to a “simultaneous collective reception” (497) and, therefore, to the progressive self–organization of the masses into a collective (498).

At this point, Benjamin again follows Brecht, whose “radio–theory” provided the essential motivation for Benjamin’s essay on the work of art. At first (in 1927), Brecht merely smiled at the discovery of the radio. "It was a gigantic triumph of technology to be, at last, able to open up both a Wiener waltz and a kitchen recipe to the whole world. ... A sensational affair, but what for?"[10] However, by 1932 he had discovered ist revolutionary potential and he hoped that art and radio would be capable of curing –– therapeutically, so to speak –– the deficit capitalist society which he thought was based on the alienation and isolation of man.[11]

“Art must start work where something is defective”.[12]

Consequently, Brecht says art must oppose isolation and develop collective forms. For the radio, this means that it no longer be allowed to expose a host of individuals to a constant stream of nonsense, but rather include all members of the audience and weld them together into a collective. In 1932, Brecht notes:

... the radio has only one side where it should have two. It is an apparatus of distribution, it merely allocates. Now, in order to become positive –– that is, to find out about the positive side of radio broadcasts –– here is a suggestion for changing the function of the radio: transform it from an apparatus of distribution into an apparatus of communication. The radio could inarguably be the best apparatus of communication in public life, an enormous system of channels –– provided it saw itself as not only a sender but also a receiver. This means making the listener not only listen but also speak; not to isolate him but to place him in relation to others.[13]

Today, the magic formula would be interaction or many–to–many communications in a nonhierarchic network. With the aid of this concept, Brecht wishes to abolish the gap between one single sender and numerous receivers. Such a symmetrization, he continues, is revolutionary and directly implemented in technology itself: “Being unfeasible in this particular social system but feasible in another, these suggestions, which are really a natural consequence of technological development, serve to propagate and form a different social system”.[14] While other artistic media, such as literature, stand out due to the fact that they remained “without consequences” for the existing social system, the radio presses for its revolutionary change by means of a collectivization of senders and receivers.[15]

In the same year, Benjamin writes in his “Reflections on the radio” [Reflexionen zum Rundfunk]: “Only the present time with its unrestrained development of a consumer mentality in the operetta–goer, the novel reader, the tourist, and similar types has created the mindless, inarticulate masses which form the audience in the narrow sense”.[16] This passive and incapacitated attitude of the audience, he says, can be changed for the better by an adequate use of the radio. But, still, it is the “crucial error of this institution to perpetuate in its work the fundamental split between performers and audience, which is belied by its technical foundations. Any child could tell you [not to mention Brecht: NW] that the aim and object of radio broadcasts is to put all kinds of people at any time in front of the microphone”.[17] In the Soviet Union, Benjamin argues, people have for a long time drawn the “natural conclusions from the functioning of the apparatus” and installed an infinite, critical public discourse while the mindlessness of one–way broadcasting still dominates in Germany.[18] Benjamin follows Brecht exactly in his opinion that old media are responsible for the attitude of consumption that is replaced by interaction –– treating consumers and producers as equals –– fostered by new media (such as radio or film) as the natural and immediate consequence of technological

development. The new technology and conditions of communication “change  ... the attitude of the masses”, and it must be emphasized once more that meanings or messages are not important here.[19] Accordingly, it is “the technical and formal side alone that should be able to train listeners’ expertise and make them grow out of barbarism”.[20] The alternative between “socialisme ou barbarie” is decided by technology, which –– by its very essence –– influences the consciousness of the masses.



“Anyone who looks to things more closely, cannot possibly overlook the obvious matter, namely technology”.

(Walter Benjamin, “Theatre and radio”, 1932)[21]


“Media define our situation, which ... deserves a description”.

(Friedrich Kittler, Grammophon, Film, Typewriter, 1986)[22]

A person wishing to look into things closely will be unable to avoid technology, the most obvious matter. But it is precisely because technology is so close to us that we find it so difficult to analyze. Friedrich Kittler articulates the paradox: “Despite the title of McLuhans’s book, Understanding Media, it remains impossible to understand media; on the contrary, it is precisely because, at any given time, the prevailing communications technology controls all understanding and creates illlusions”.[23] The technologies dominating us, prevent us from understanding them because they themselves generate the modes of their own understanding. So one should be sceptical to make predictions on the evolution of society, based on observations of “our” technologies.

In “Theatre and Radio”, Benjamin speaks of a “re-transformation of the methods of montage, so important in radio and film, from a merely technical event into a human one”, so that “the individual eliminated by radio and cinema” stood “in the way of the technology he himself invented”.[24] Sixty-five years later, Norbert Bolz puts it this way: “In the technology-dominated reality of the new media, man is no longer the master of data but is himself installed into feedback loops”. The astronaut functions, he says, as “cyborg of his capsule”, the computer user has for a long time been turned into “the servo-assisted mechanism of his computer”.[25] Technology is so closely related to our physical existence that it has become a part of our bodies. Bolz goes on to explain: “When Benjamin speaks of technology as an organ he means the same concept Ernst Jünger defined as organic construction”, and what McLuhan called an extension of man: there is no longer any difference between the mechanical and organic world.[26]

This new unity of body and media, continues Bolz, facilitates the reorganization of social life in the medium of a collective body: “In the same way, Marx has already connected the revolutionary abolition of private property to the formation of social organs, where interaction is thought to have been turned into the organ of the individual”.[27] According to Bolz, an understanding of Benjamin is possible only against this background: he stresses the fact that Benjamin does not take the organization of the masses to be a “revolutionary possibility” but a technological “necessity” taking place “with the elemental force of a second nature”.[28] Social revolution naturally follows technical evolution, and that is why media theory proves to be a theory of society with prognostic powers.

Media theory examines technology, the “most obvious matter”, and Benjamin´s preference is also adopted by Friedrich Kittler: “Consequently, those messages or meanings with which communications technologies literally fit out so-called souls for the duration of a technical epoch do not count; all that counts, strictly according to McLuhan, is their switchings, this schematism of perception in general”.[29] Our “situation becomes recognizable” if we “succeed in hearing the circuit diagram itself in the synthesizer sounds of a compact disc or in seeing the circuit diagram itself in the laser storm of discotheques”. Understanding media? No problem! Just read the blueprints of the circuits, the media technologist Friedrich Kittler is advising.

Like Marx and Engels, who had to work through the ideologies of superstructure in order to find out about the basic structures of economic and technical conditions, the media theorist –– over all the sounds and colourful images of semantics –– must not forget “what is real”, namely the media itself.[30] Of course, these are no longer just radio or film: by means of computerized and world–wide integrated data processing, the evolution of media technology has given us a multi–media system that integrates, and thus finally abolishes, “individual media”.[31] Kittler writes of these new developments: “In the general digitalization of news and channels, distinctions between individual media disappear. Sound and image, voice and text exist only as a surface effect, also well–known to consumers under the pleasant name of the interface. Human senses and meanings become illusions”.[32] All that remains of the “real” is a circuit diagram, and only the “illusions” created by those “surface effects” are able to distract from its analysis. If computers “remodel any algorithm you like into any interface effect you like”, what is to become of a society consisting of “people who have lost their senses?”[33], Kittler is asking.

Brecht and Benjamin expected a new social system from the new media. Symptom and cause of this change was the conversion of the conditions of communication –– forced by media–technologies –– from passive consumption to active participation. Recent media theory repeats these utopian hopes with surprising redundancy. Norbert Bolz, for instance, predicts that the asymmetry and distance between producer and recipients will be electronically liquidated in the hyper–medium of the hyper–text: “For the first time in history, it is technically possible to implement the old utopia, i.e. to do away with the difference between author and reader”. The datanauts in the docuverse communicate interavtively within a network to such an extent that the “literally work becomes recognizable as a collective process”. Hyper–media fulfill the old “dream” of media interaction through a “two–way cable network”. The “fascist tendencies” in the “media reality of broadcasting” are replaced by the “new possibilities of a reversible, two–way communication inside the network”. The aim of this development is an interactive paradise, in which participants are no longer alienated from themselves and their environment, but are quasi–organically interlocked in the medium of a new immediacy: “The limit of this obsession is electronic telepathy, the total interface”. In the near future, biocybernetic systems of communication will directly network “the central nervous system and the computer” in order to carry out the medieval concept of “angels communicating without language”.[34] If society and communication can solve the problem of mediating between alter and ego via media, then the development of the media is about to result in their own abolition. Angelic telepathy makes all mediating systems of symbols superfluous, and eliminates all differences between inside and outside, between self–reference and external reference; mind–reading permits no lie, no mask, no role, no hypocrisy, no illusion, and no distinction between information and message.[35] The very last medium abolishes the object of all media –– that is, to mediate –– and, at the same time, to preserve differences.

Already in 1990, Bolz wrote: “The media–technological demystification of man ... provokes revolutionary, romantic, and immediate utopian dreams in collectives communicating in a reciprocal relationship. Baudrillard ... has conjured up the revolutionary romanticism of immediate inscription: the very concept of the medium, he says, must disappear and give way to the parole échangée: only the destruction of a medium makes reciprocity possible”.[36] At this point, Bolz himself crosses “the borderline which separate ages” when he writes: “Today, we say goodbye to linear writing systems, which were called culture or mind”, in order to venture into the “age of algorithms”.[37] New telematic technology “liberates the individual from his prison of subjectivity, and forces open the shield of the other. This may be called proximity: the prefix tele- implying intensity, closeness, and the intersubjectivity of a dense network. At last, we can recognize our neighbour behind the veil of otherness”.[38] Now the eschatological note is unmistakable, for the “telepathic perfection of telecommunication” creates a sympathetic neighbour out of the alienated other.[39] So, in the medium of immediacy, all human beings shall finally be brothers after all. All we need, are advanced modern technologies.





The media are new, the utopian dreams old. The fact that the structure of the hopes of Brecht and Benjamin are so exactly repeated can be seen to support our opening statement that the theory of new media inherits from its Marxist fathers not only the priority of technology as the motor of history, but also its Messianic horizon. On no account do I insist on denouncing the capacities of media theory. Benjamin’s proposition –– that the interplay of technical conditions, human collectives, and their modes of perception determines history –– is at convincing as ever. I would like to plead, however, for giving up this hierarchical relationship among media technology, social system, semantics, and sensuousness, and also giving up the primacy of technology. Anyone who believes the evolution of media technology is the key to an understanding of social processes risks being transformed from an analyst to an prophet. Even if the new conditions of communication greatly influence our perception of reality, they do not lead to an intelligible interactive, angel–like community, to man/machine couplings, or to the submission of “so–called human beings” to the power of “nameless Supreme Commands”, hidden beneath interfaces.[40] In the best sense of infotainment: the actual situation is far more boring.

The attempt to conquer an omniscient  point of view by analyzing the technological deep structure of society and the inclination of reducing cultural semantics to mere surface effects of the deep structure of latest media technologies –– is a semantic pattern itself, which has been recycled since the 19th century. The argumentation is still the same, only the media are changing (video, film, computer). One reason for this continuity seems to be the continuation of the desire to equippe analysis with prognostic powers. In case of Becht and Benjamin, they have failed.


[1] Jean Baudrillard, Requiem für die Medien, in: Kool Killer, Berlin 1978, p. 83-118.

[2] Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Baukasten zu einer Theorie der Medien (1970), München 1997, p. 116.

[3] Vilém Flusser, Ins Universum der technischen Bilder, Göttingen 1985, p. 78f.

[4]  Two versions of Benjamin´s Artwork essay are discussed in this article: unmarked parenthetical references in the text are keyed to the 1936 edition Walter Benjamin, Das Kunstwerk, in: Gesammelte Schriften, 1974; parenthical references marked (WB35) refer to the edition Walter Benjamin, Das Kunstwerk, 1935.   

[5] Paul Virilio, Krieg und Fernsehen, p. 70.

[6] Berthold Brecht, Der Dreigroschenprozess, p.172.

[7] Berthold Brecht, Der Dreigroschenprozess, p.158.

[8] Berthold Brecht, Der Dreigroschenprozess, p.173.


[9]   Walter Benjamin, Der Sürrealismus, p. 310.

[10]  Berthold Brecht, Radio – eine vorsintflutliche Erfindung?, p. 119.

[11]  Berthold Brecht, Der Rundfunk als Kommunikationsapparat, 

[12]  Berthold Brecht, Über Verwertungen, p. 124.

[13] Berthold Brecht, Der Rundfunk als Kommunikationsapparat, p. 129.

[14] Berthold Brecht, Der Rundfunk als Kommunikationsapparat, p. 134.

[15] Berthold Brecht, Der Rundfunk als Kommunikationsapparat, p. 130.

[16] Walter Benjamin, Reflexionen zum Rundfunk, p. 1506.

[17] Walter Benjamin, Reflexionen zum Rundfunk, p. 1506.

[18] Walter Benjamin, Reflexionen zum Rundfunk, p. 1506.

[19] Walter Benjamin, Reflexionen zum Rundfunk, p. 1506.

[20] Walter Benjamin, Reflexionen zum Rundfunk, p. 1507.

[21] Walter Benjamin, Theater und Rundfunk, 1932, p. 773.

[22] Friedrich Kittler, Grammophon, 1986, p. 1.

[23] Friedrich Kittler, Grammophon, 1986, p. 5.

[24] Walter Benjamin, Theater und Rundfunk, 1932, p. 773.

[25]  Norbert Bolz, Am Ende der Gutenberg–Galaxis, pp. 114 and 117.

[26]  Norbert Bolz, Theorie der neuen Medien, p. 98. The Benjamin citation refers to the Artwork essay (507), while the Jünger reference is to An der Zeitmauer, pp 134–135.

[27] Norbert Bolz, Theorie der neuen Medien, p. 98.

[28] Norbert Bolz, Theorie der neuen Medien, p. 99.

[29] Friedrich Kittler, Grammophon, 1986, p. 5.

[30] Friedrich Kittler, Grammophon, 1986, p. 10; in this passage Kittler refers explicitly to Bolz.

[31] Norbert Bolz, Am Ende der Gutenberg–Galaxis, pp. 111.

[32] Friedrich Kittler, Grammophon, 1986, p. 7.

[33] Friedrich Kittler, Grammophon, 1986, p. 9.

[34] Norbert Bolz, Am Ende der Gutenberg–Galaxis, pp. 223, 226, 180, 118, 119.


[35] Friedrich Kittler, Die Nacht der Substanz, p. 34. Kittler refers to John von Neumann´s Automatentheorie and draws the following conclusion: "Human beings as observers will become superfluous" because the computer neutralizes every distinction "between fact and observer". This is the abolition not only of the Old European difference subject and object, but also –– very explicitly –– of the essential differences among "biologically inspired system theories"; namely, the difference between self–reference and external reference. It must also be emphazised that –– according to Kittler – the "theory of mechanical self–reproduction" passes "ine vitably into technical practice" (Friedrich Kittler, Die Nacht der Substanz).   

[36] Norbert Bolz, Theorie der neuen Medien, p. 111.

[37] Norbert Bolz, Am Ende der Gutenberg–Galaxis, p. 180

[38] Norbert Bolz, Am Ende der Gutenberg–Galaxis, p. 182. Pfingsten: whitsun functions as a biblical model of immediate understanding. In current semantics, whitsun indicates the surmounting of media- or code-differences.

[39] Norbert Bolz, Am Ende der Gutenberg–Galaxis, p. 119.


[40] Friedrich Kittler, Grammophon, p. 3.