[ISEA2011] Panel: Co­lette Tron – From “im­ma­te­r­ial” to “hy­per­ma­te­r­ial”

Panel Statement

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.

  • Co­lette Tron was born in 1968 in Mar­seille, France. She works in the fields of com­mu­ni­ca­tion and lan­guage. After hav­ing worked in cul­tural jour­nal­ism, she is cur­rently work­ing as a writer, using dif­fer­ent medi­ums of com­mu­ni­ca­tion of lan­guage (radio, books, the­ater, au­dio­vi­sual, mul­ti­me­dia…), and in ques­tion­ing their func­tion ex­per­i­ment­ing with cre­ation that is spe­cific to each one. She col­lab­o­rates with artists from dif­fer­ent dis­ci­plines, in France and else­where. She par­tic­i­pates in fes­ti­vals read­ing po­etry, writ­ing and in­ter­pret­ing her texts for sonorous cre­ations, col­lab­o­rates into col­lec­tive pro­jects using elec­tronic and dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies, and par­tic­i­pates in col­lo­qui­ums with forms of writ­ing-NTIC as their theme. By found­ing the as­so­ci­a­tion Al­pha­betville in 2000, she has cre­ated a place of re­flec­tion around the rap­port be­tween lan­guage and the media, tech­nic and art, aes­thetic and so­ci­ety, and tries to ar­tic­u­late the prac­tice and the­ory by di­a­logu­ing with the artists, re­searchers and cul­tural op­er­a­tors in­volved and pub­lish­ing the re­sults of the re­searches.

Full text (PDF) p. 2428-2433