Friedrich Adolf Kittler (born June 12, 1943 in Rochlitz ; † October 18, 2011 in Berlin ) was a German literary scholar and media theorist . His main focus was on writing systems , the theory and history of the cultural techniques of reading, writing, arithmetic and, since around 2001, the meaning of the Greek alphabet in Homeric poetry, Pythagorean music and mathematics. In his work, the terms recording systems , technology and military play an important role.
Live and act
Friedrich Kittler was born in Rochlitz, Saxony, in mid-1943 as the son of the headmaster Gustav Adolf Kittler , his brother Wolf shortly before the end of the war. Kittler's family moved with him to the Federal Republic of Germany in 1958 , where he attended a science and modern-language grammar school in Lahr / Black Forest from 1958 to 1963 and then from 1963 to 1972 German , Romance studies and philosophy at the Albert Ludwigs University in Freiburg im Breisgau studied. Kittler was married twice.
During his studies he was influenced by the texts of the French post-structuralists , especially Jacques Lacan , Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault , who were largely unknown in Germany at the time. 1976 Kittler was with a thesis on the poet Conrad Ferdinand Meyer graduated . His doctoral supervisor was Gerhard Kaiser . From 1976 to 1986 he worked as a research assistant at the German Department of the University of Freiburg. In 1980 he published the anthology "Austrieb des Geistes aus den Geisteswissenschaften", for which he also translated Derrida's essay "Title (to be determined)", Titre (à préciser) into German.
In 1984 he was in the German Literary History habilitation , for which a total of eleven reports were necessary. This was followed by several stays as Visiting Assistant Professor and Visiting Professor at US universities, such as the University of California, Berkeley , the University of California, Santa Barbara and Stanford University .
From 1986 to 1990 Kittler was head of the DFG project "Literature and Media Analysis" in Kassel . In 1987 he was appointed professor for modern German studies at the Ruhr University in Bochum , and in 1993 he was appointed to the chair for aesthetics and history of the media at the Humboldt University in Berlin .
For his research in the field of media theory , Kittler was awarded the Siemens Media Art Prize of the Center for Art and Media Technology (ZKM) in Karlsruhe in 1993.
In 1996, Kittler was a Distinguished Scholar at Yale University and in 1997 a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Columbia University in New York . Since 2001 he has been the deputy director of the Hermann von Helmholtz Center for Cultural Technology and a member of the research group "Bild Schrift Zahl" (DFG).
Friedrich Kittler died on October 18, 2011 in Berlin. He is buried in the cemetery of the Dorotheenstadt and Friedrichswerder communities in Berlin-Mitte.
Work and meaning
Friedrich Kittler was one of the most influential and important German media theorists and founded the “Berlin School” in media studies. Kittler stands for a new approach to media theory that originates from technical media and became increasingly popular from the 1980s.
Kittler borrowed the term “writing systems” from the work of Daniel Paul Schreber . At Kittler he describes "the network of techniques and institutions [...] that allow a given culture to address, store and process relevant data." This is also to be understood as a declaration of sympathy (in the Foucault tradition) for madness. According to Kittler, there is an element of paranoia in all science.
Kittler's central project was "to prove the human sciences [...] their media-technical a priori " ( Hartmut Winkler ), or, in his own words, the "expulsion of the spirit from the humanities", as the title of a publication from 1980 of the same name.
Kittler rejected Marshall McLuhan's reading of the media as “ extensions of man ”: “Media are not pseudopodia that the human body would extend. They follow the logic of escalation that leaves us and the history of writing behind. ”However, media are never autonomous; rather, their use is always historical.
To simplify matters, one could summarize Kittler's theses to the effect that our knowledge (and what we believe to be true) depends crucially on the cultural techniques that we use.
Consequently, he sees a continuum in the writing of literature , the writing of computer programs and the burning-in of structures in silicon chips:
“As we know and just don't say, nobody writes anymore. […] Today human writing runs through inscriptions that […] are burned into silicon using electron lithography […]. It may therefore have been the last historical act of writing when a team of Intel engineers [...] [recorded] the hardware architecture of their first integrated microprocessor in the late seventies. "
Kittler's technological-materialistic view of all productions of culture became fashionable in the 1980s among students and young humanities scholars who were derisively called "Kittler youth". Kittler's students are Norbert Bolz , Knut Ebeling , Bernhard Siegert , Wolfgang Ernst , Claus Pias and Christian Jendreiko .
Critics point to Kittler's tendency to formulate apodictically and obscurely. Die Zeit criticized the lack of clarity in his work “Music and Mathematics”: “Perceptible up and down lines are not Kittler's business. Wherever it screams "Clarity!" From our depths, it sails away, and we who are perplexed must continue to suspect ”. The psychoanalyst Harald Weilnböck quoted Kittler's dictum in the journal Mittelweg 36 : “In forgetting the word forgetting, what is said and what is said come together. The frenzy of this collapse is the truth ”, adding that reading this sentence had put him intellectually into just such a“ frenzy ”.
Kittler left his collected work to the Marbach Literature Archive during his lifetime . These include unprinted manuscripts, preparatory work on published works and selected copies of his library, as well as correspondence between him and fellow scholars such as Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida . His estate, which is kept in the Marbach literary archive, also includes a synthesizer he built himself . The permanent exhibition of the Museum of Modern Literature shows selected pieces .
- 1977: The dream and the speech. An analysis of Conrad Ferdinand Meyer's communication situation . Francke, Bern
- 1979: Poetry as a socialization game. Studies on Goethe and Gottfried Keller (with Gerhard Kaiser). Goettingen
- 1980: (Ed.): Expulsion of the spirit from the humanities. Post-structuralism programs , Schöningh, Paderborn, Vienna, Zurich 1980 ( introduction ; PDF; 698 kB)
- 1985: Writing systems 1800/1900 . Wilhelm Fink, Munich, ISBN 3-7705-2881-6 (English edition: Discourse Networks 1800/1900 , with a foreword by David E. Wellbery. Stanford 1990)
- 1985: Discourse Analysis - An Earthquake in Chili and Prussia . In: David Wellbery (Ed.), Positions der Literaturwissenschaft, Munich, ISBN 978-3-406-37731-0 .
- 1986: Grammophon Film Typewriter . Brinkmann & Bose, Berlin, ISBN 3-922660-17-7 (English edition: Gramophone Film Typewriter , Stanford 1999).
- 1989: Philosophies of New Technology (with Jean Baudrillard , Hannes Böhringer , Vilém Flusser , Heinz von Foerster ). Merve, Berlin, ISBN 978-3-88396-066-1 .
- 1990: The night of substance . Benteli, Bern, ISBN 3-7165-0664-8 (lecture)
- 1991: poet, mother, child . Wilhelm Fink, Munich, ISBN 978-3-7705-2594-2 .
- 1993: Dracula's Legacy: Technical Writings . Reclam, Leipzig, ISBN 3-379-01476-1 (essays on the "Effects of the explosion of the writing monopoly", on the analog media record, film and radio as well as "technical writings that are numerically or algebraically written").
- 1997: Literature, Media, Information Systems: Essays (Ed. By John Johnston). Amsterdam
- 1998: Hardware - The Unknown Being . In: Sybille Krämer (Ed.), Media, Computer, Reality: Concepts of Reality and New Media. Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main, ISBN 978-3-518-28979-2 .
- 1998: On the theoretical history of information warfare . In: Gerfried Stocker, Christine Schöpf (Eds.), InfoWar - Information. Power. War [Ars Electronica 98]. Springer, Vienna, New York, ISBN 978-3-211-83134-2 .
- 1999: Hebbel's imagination: the dark nature . Peter Lang, Frankfurt
- 2000: A cultural history of cultural studies . Wilhelm Fink, Munich, ISBN 978-3-7705-3418-0 .
- 2000: Nietzsche - politics of the proper name: how to abolish what one speaks of (with Jacques Derrida ). Merve, Berlin, ISBN 978-3-88396-157-6 .
- 2001: Vom Greece (with Cornelia Vismann ; International Merve Discourse Vol. 240). Merve, Berlin, ISBN 978-3-88396-173-6 .
- 2002: Optical Media . Merve, Berlin, ISBN 978-3-88396-183-5 (reprint 2011 ibid.)
- 2002: Between noise and revelation. On the cultural and media history of the voice (as ed.). Academy, Berlin
- 2004: Immortals. Obituaries, memories, ghost talks. Wilhelm Fink, Paderborn, ISBN 978-3-7705-4074-7 .
- 2005: Muses, Nymphs and Sirens . Audio CD. supposé, Cologne, ISBN 978-3-932513-64-0 .
- 2006: Music and Mathematics I. Hellas 1: Aphrodite . Wilhelm Fink, Paderborn, ISBN 978-3-7705-3782-2 .
- 2007: reflection and image . Shigeru Ban, Olafur Eliasson, Peter Geimer and Friedrich Kittler. gta Verlag, Zurich, ISBN 978-3-85676-208-7 .
- 2009: the art of writing. Leo Strauss, Alexandre Kojève, Friedrich Kittler. Merve, Berlin, ISBN 978-3-88396-250-4 .
- 2009: Music and Mathematics I. Hellas 2: Eros . Wilhelm Fink, Paderborn, ISBN 978-3-7705-4778-4 .
- 2010: The last days of the Ceausescus. Documents, materials, theory . (with Milo Rau , Heinz Bude, Ion Iliescu, Thomas Kunze, Andrei Ujica). Verbrecher Verlag, Berlin, ISBN 978-3-940426-45-1 .
- 2011: Preparing the approach of the gods . Wilhelm Fink, Paderborn, ISBN 978-3-7705-5134-7 .
- 2013: Philosophies of Literature . Merve, Berlin, ISBN 978-3-88396-322-8 .
- 2013: The Truth of the Technical World. Essays on the Genealogy of the Present , Suhrkamp Taschenbuch, Berlin 2013, ISBN 978-3-518-29673-8 .
- 2013: The message in a bottle to the future . With Till Nikolaus von Heiseler , Kadmos, ISBN 978-3-86599-235-2
- Frank Hartmann : Friedrich Kittler . In: Information Philosophy. 25, 1997, No. 4, pp. 40-44.
- Josef Wallmannsberger: Friedrich Kittler . In: Helmut Schanze (Ed.), Susanne Pütz: Metzler Lexikon Medientheorie, Medienwissenschaft. Approaches, people, basic concepts. Metzler, Stuttgart / Weimar 2002, ISBN 3-476-01761-3 , p. 162 f.
- Geoffrey Winthrop-Young: Friedrich Kittler for an introduction. Junius Verlag, Hamburg 2005, ISBN 3-88506-607-6 .
- Christoph Weinberger: The cold model of structure . In: Journal for Media Studies. 1, 2009, pp. 93-102.
- Frank Hartmann : Friedrich Kittler . In: Uwe Sander et al. (Hrsg.): Handbuch Medienpädagogik. Wiesbaden 2008, ISBN 978-3-531-15016-1 , pp. 251-256.
- Jürgen Kaube: On the death of Friedrich Kittler. Every love was one at first sight. In: FAZ.NET. October 18, 2011, accessed on October 18, 2011 (initially under the title: The media theorist Friedrich Kittler is dead. Thinking as far as the medium goes ).
- Stavros Arabatzis: Doxologies of the circuits and heterosexuality of the media: Friedrich Kittler and the untruth of the technical world. In: Weimar Contributions . ISSN 0043-2199 , Vol. 60 (2014), H. 1, pp. 99-117.
- Thomas Etzemüller: " poor madman", pseudoscientist and Friedrich Kittler. The anti-academic as a function and an inner attitude , in: Mittelweg 36 26, 2017, H. 4–5, pp. 70–87
- Literature by and about Friedrich Kittler in the catalog of the German National Library
- Works by and about Friedrich Kittler in the German Digital Library
- Friedrich Kittler - completed bibliography
- Chair for Aesthetics and History of Media, Humboldt University Berlin
Lectures and readings
- Conversation on the book Aphrodite with Stefan Münker
- Lecture (text / audio): Thinking colors and / or machines
- Lecture (video / audio): From the god of thieves to calculated space
- Lecture (audio): Cultural history of cultural studies II
- Reading (video): Kittler reads poems by Sappho and talks about love
- Lecture (video / audio) lightning and series, event and thunder
- Interview (video / audio) Who has never unscrewed his computer. Arte . 2007.
- Lecture (video / audio) ontology of the media . Bochum Colloquium Media Studies. 2007.
- Friedrich Kittler, 1943–2011 . Lecture collection (video / audio) on filmtagebuch.blogger.de , October 18, 2011.
Web links from and about Kittler:
- Telepolis: On the Fall of Software ( Memento from May 8, 1999 in the Internet Archive ) - media theory with an unmasking gesture: Friedrich Kittler - by Frank Hartmann, December 22, 1998
- On the way to the machine park - Friedrich Kittler review: A cultural history of cultural studies - by Frank Hartmann, November 28, 2000
- Telepolis: Friedrich Kittler meets Stephan Schambach by Stefan Krempl , May 26, 2000
- Telepolis: Not cyborg, but monkey ( Memento from November 22, 2005 in the Internet Archive ) April 17, 2005
- “Rock me, Aphrodite!” ( Memento from May 12, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) - Interview with Kittler on Telepolis, May 24, 2006.
- "Hegel is dead" - obituary for Kittler by Axel Roch, Telepolis, November 17, 2011
- Special section on Friedrich Kittler's habilitation process in the Zeitschrift für Medienwissenschaften Kittler's original introduction to “Aufschreibesysteme” and the reports on his controversial habilitation thesis
- Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht: Friedrich Kittler was an Apple enemy from the very beginning. In: nzz.ch. February 5, 2019, accessed May 9, 2020 .
- Scientific literature (Open Access) on Friedrich Kittler on mediarep.org
- ↑ 2013: Message in a bottle to the future. With Till Nikolaus von Heiseler, Kadmos, ISBN 978-3-86599-235-2
- ↑ Andreas Rosenfelder: Comment: Kittler's secret files. In: welt.de . April 25, 2012, Retrieved October 7, 2018 .
- ↑ see the documentation Frank, M. et al .: Aufschreibesysteme 1980/2010. In memoriam Friedrich Kittler (1943–2011), in: zfm (Journal for Media Studies), Vol. 6 (2012) No. 1, 114–192. https://mediarep.org/bitstream/handle/doc/2738/ZfM_06_104-192_Aufschreibesysteme_1980_2010_In_memoriam_Friedrich_Kittler.pdf
- ^ Prize winner 1993: Friedrich Kittler . In: Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe (zkm.de), accessed on October 18, 2011.
- ↑ Jürgen Kaube: On the death of Friedrich Kittler. Every love was one at first sight. In: FAZ.NET. October 18, 2011, accessed on October 18, 2011 (first under the title: The media theorist Friedrich Kittler is dead. Thinking as far as the medium goes. ).
- ^ Aufschreibesysteme, p. 501.
- ^ Friedrich A. Kittler: History of the communication media. In: Jörg Huber, Alois Martin Müller (ed.): Space and procedure. Stroemfeld / Roter Stern, Basel 1993, ISBN 3-87877-414-1 (Interventions 2.), pp. 169–188.
- ↑ Friedrich Kittler: There is no software . In: Friedrich Kittler: Dracula's legacy. Technical writings . Reclam, Leipzig 1993, ISBN 3-379-01476-1 .
- ↑ Andreas Rosenfelder: "We only have ourselves to draw from." In: Welt am Sonntag . January 30, 2011. ( online , accessed October 30, 2011)
- ↑ Maximilian Probst: The media are the children of war. In: The time . October 19, 2011. ( online , accessed October 30, 2011)
- ^ Christian Schüle: Kirke, Kalypso, Kittler. Small protocol of perplexity in view of the study "Music and Mathematics" by Friedrich A. Kittler . In: The time. No. 12, March 16, 2006, accessed October 18, 2011.
- ↑ Harald Weilnböck: The trauma must remain unavailable to the memory. Trauma ontology and other misuse / use of trauma concepts in humanities discourses. In: Mittelweg 36 . Volume 16, no. 2, Hamburg April 2007, p. 7.
- ↑ Reading Syntheses Workshop Conference Pt. 1 . University of Lüneburg, focus area "Audio". Retrieved November 15, 2016.
- ↑ Cultural scientist Kittler has died. In: The time. October 18, 2011.
|ALTERNATIVE NAMES||Kittler, Friedrich Adolf (full name)|
|BRIEF DESCRIPTION||German literary scholar and media theorist|
|DATE OF BIRTH||June 12, 1943|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||Rochlitz , Saxony|
|DATE OF DEATH||October 18, 2011|
|Place of death||Berlin|