Originally printed in the New Left Review, no. 64, , pp. Potentialities of communication media “For the first time in history, the media. Media do not produce objects which can be hoarded. Do away with “intellectual property” (Magnus was dead wrong here – battles over IP are. A Theory of the Media. [ Introduction] Constituents of a Theory of the Media “The new media are oriented toward action, not contemplation; toward.

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It is admittedly less handy and takes up more room than other storage systems, but up to now it offers simpler methods of access than, for example, the microfilm or the tape bank. Your favorite justification appeared to be on the web the easiest thing to be aware of.

Constituents of a Theory of the Media

This means that as far as an aesthetic theory is concerned, a radical change in perspectives is needed. But thd long as scarcity holds sway, use-value remains a decisive category which can only be abolished by trickery. Work on the media is possible for an individual only in so far as it remains socially and therefore aesthetically irrelevant.

If the conshituents movement writes off the new productive forces of the consciousness industry and relegates work on the media to a subculture, then we have a vicious circle.

The Desacralization of Art Soon the film theoreticians asked the same ill-considered question with regard to the film. Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back.

It must, moreover, be a process conditioned by the human potentialities and capabilities of the creator. Certainly his little finger has experienced more of the productive power of the new media than all the ideological commissions of the CPSU and their endless resolutions and directives put together. Their presence is a factor that immensely increases the demonstrative nature of any political act. It is consciously prevented for understandable political reasons.

The former is till now, in the hands of the bureaucracy. Through this essay, Hans Magnus Enzensberger calls for a much needed participatory model of communication and information exchange in opposition to the capitalist systems controlled by the bourgeoisie and influential class, who are, for reasons defined in the essay, inappropriate to handle the new media to its maximum. It stems from the fact that the media have eliminated one of the most fundamental categories of aesthetics up to now — fiction.


The quarrel about the end of art is otiose so long as this end is not understood dialectically. The author has to work as the agent of the masses.

This cannot be understood by examining the machine as such. With their imagination and freedom, they can harness the opportunities offered by the new media. All those forces that are applied by people in the production processes are encompassed by this concept. If the latter leads to self-isolation instead of mobilizing the masses, then its failure is attributed holus-bolus to the overwhelming power of the media. Both processes are intimately connected with the contemporary mass movements.

They certainly extend far beyond those goals which the traditional working class movement represented. This concept, which was formulated by its author with the utmost care, has also, rhe whittled away in an undialectical manner, become a vehicle for resignation.

The technical distinction between receivers and transmitters reflects the social division of labor into mmedia and consumers.

But the instant the criterion of authenticity ceases to be applicable to artistic production, the total function of art is reversed. Enzensberger is seen as a classic Marxist thinker, who sought a socialist system of media. In the face of technical developments, which long ago made local and international radio-telephony possible, and which constantly opened up new cinstituents for television — in the UHF band alone, the dissemination of numerous programs in one locality is possible without interference, not to mention the possibilities offered by wired and ennzensberger television — the prevailing laws for control of the air are anachronistic.

It is precisely their utopian nature, which reaches out beyond the existing productive forces it follows cconstituents the productive relationships are not to be permanently overthrownthat makes them precarious, leads to reversals and defeats. While we know that the consciousness industry is about to bring forth a radical change in the way media is perceived, it is important to discuss the concept of manipulation, which till now helped in self learning and development.

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Wherever the professional producers make a virtue out of the necessity of their specialist skills and even derive a privileged status from them, their experience and knowledge have become useless. But the memory they hold in readiness is not the preserve of a scholarly caste.

Constituents of a Theory of the Media – Religion Online

enzennsberger The radio wars of the fifties demonstrated that in the realm of communications, national sovereignty is condemned to wither away. The politically active groups then point to such cases with smug Schadenfreude. They recall the time when the operation of a printing press was dependent on an imperial license. You are commenting using your Facebook account. The idea of the self-sufficient work of art collapsed long ago.

It is precisely in these work processes that their productive power reveals itself — and here it is completely immaterial whether one is dealing with the production of a reportage or a play.

By making this material available for present-day purposes, they make it obvious to anyone using it that the writing of history is always manipulation. Unquestionably believe that which you said. The New Left of the sixties has reduced the development of the media to a single concept — that of manipulation. Theofy is impossible unless those concerned organize themselves.

The electronic media do not owe their irresistible power to any sleight-of-hand but to the elemental power of deep social needs which come through even in the present depraved form of these media. Program 1; Program 2; Switch off abstention. The media also do away with the old category of works of art which can only be considered as separate objects, not as independent of their material infrastructure.

Like every learning process, this process too is reciprocal.

Enzensberger by R.G. Davis

On the contrary, they go against it, for the structure demands interaction. A process of un-learning is the result and both sides are the losers. The television screen exposes the aesthetic smoothing-out of contradictions as camouflage.