Salon des ehem. Palais Dürckheim, Cranachstraße 47, Weimar

From Operative Ontology to Anthropography or: The Anthropomediality of Dioramas Vortrag von Christiane Voss

Due to the speaker’s illness this lecture had to be cancelled.

In taking as my starting point of mediaphilosophical considerations the nearly oxymoronic notion and theoretical framework of „operative ontologies“, this allows a speculative approach also toward more anthropological questions as well, which seemed to be so outdated since a long time ago, especially in the fields of media theory and philosophy. Whereas the notion of „ontology“ embraces a logic of „the given“, operative modes stand for the „logic of making and producing“. In aggregating these two ways of thinking or „logics“, it becomes also possible to think about the ontological effects of operative dispositivs in terms of their more anthropogeneric impacts. It may be asked how such interventions bring about historically new, regionally based and ephemeral forms or modes of existence. The „speculative“ aspect of this approach is not identical with metaphysical speculations, which are so popular at the moment (like for scholars of the so called „New Materialism“ for example). Instead, being interested in operative ontologies from a mediaphilosophical point of view – and this means from a philosophical one, which is informed by media theory – the focus is on such emergent effects of empirically observable and describable, materialistic settings and operations. As I try to unfold throughout my lecture, among such effects, I am interested in, there are also anthropomedial ones to be identified. Anthropomedial effects circumscribe hybrid and temporary limited modes of existences. They consist of hetergenous entities, as of organic and non-organic, humane and non-humane facets, that can not be separated without destroying the hybrid entity in question. Anthropomedial effects or entities are brought about by and in very concrete environmental conditions, such as in cinemas, political and social institutions or in museums etc. They have formally in common that they all involve assemblages of heterogeneous materials, techniques and their mutual interrelating operationalities of transference, embodiement, centering and decentering, projection and affection. In regard to especially museological ways of adressing and situating an audience by using immersive means to tansmit knowledge of natural science, biology, zoology, geology etc. it may be spelled out in more detail, what it means to produce such a knowledge and subject of knowledge. Especially the technical invention of Habitat Dioramas, which date back to the early 19th century, belong to the operational dispositifs of natural history museums, which aim at a basic relocation of the recipients. They aim at shaping their standing in the world, their way of self-reference and –reflection and therefore also their imaginary spaciotemporal identification. This generally undertheoretized dispositiv of Habitat Diorama is therefore to be reflected in terms of it’s anthropomedial machinery.