Distinguished Professor Jeff Malpas (AUS)
Jeff Malpas is Distinguished Professor at the University of Tasmania where he works across several disciplines from art and architecture to geography and philosophy. He is the author of many books and essays on a range of topics including contemporary ethics, phenomenology and hermeneutics, and the philosophy of space and place. His most recent book is 'Heidegger and the Thinking of Place', MIT. 2012.
Topos and Techne: Re-Embodying Technology
Technology isn’t new. It has been around for as long as there has been language. In fact, all technology is based in the linguistic, as all language is tied to technology – and just as there are different forms and modes of language, so there are also different forms and modes of technology. something of the inner connection between language and technology is evident in the increasing focus on the linguistic elements of contemporary technology itself – on software, programming, the command line, the code – but it is also evident in the intimate entanglement of language in earlier technologies – especially the technologies of the magical and the occult. Both language and technology, whether in their early or their more recent forms, stand in an essential relation to place and to the body – both are emplaced, operating only in and through place, and both are always embodied. Yet at the same time both language and technology have a tendency often to efface the place and bodies on which they depend and through which they work. This has always been true – it can be seen as implicitly part of that against which General Ludd and Captain Swing (the machine breakers of the 18th and 19th centuries) stood opposed – but it is even more true of contemporary language and contemporary technology. Yet this effacing of place and body does not and cannot do away with the essential placing and embodiment that belongs to language and technology. It merely hides it, forgets it, obscures it. Rather than breaking the machines, the real task is thus to re-place and re-embody them – or at least to bring their placing and embodiment to the fore; to bring ourselves closer to recognising our own inhabiting of language and technology both, as they infuse and permeate our own existence. Some contemporary movements – notably the slow technology movement – can be understood in just these terms. But this is not just a matter of a refusal of speed or a need for a reflection, but also of rethinking and re-envisioning what technology itself is, and so too of recognising its essential connection to language, and so too, it's essential connection to creativity, art, and the opening of possibility.
Distinguished Professor Jeff Malpas - Topos and Techne: Re-Emboying Technology