Wednesday, April 01, 2020
In e-flux, Irit Rogoff on the tech of prior epochs.
My mind jumps to the opening of Avital Ronell’s Telephone Book, to Martin Heidegger alone in his office at Freiburg University late at night in 1933, to the phone that rings, to the commander of the local Gestapo who tells him that he must fire all of his Jewish and Communist colleagues and expel the students. Ronnel speculates on Heidegger’s capture via the phone line, picking up the phone in the absence of his secretary; on the immediate confrontation with these demands by the state; on his inability to do anything but comply both to the ringing and the orders, the one seemingly exerting the same sense of compulsion as the other. While different, they are both anchored by the technology that reaches and addresses, that commands and captures.
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