Fotograf Magazine

The Temporality of (New) Media

Do you ever feel as if the world around you is moving at a progressively
faster pace? That changes and innovations appear at increasingly
shorter intervals? That the rhythm of the good old world has been
drowned out by the notifications you receive on your new smart phone?
Do you miss regular rituals? Do you not understand the tempo of the
present day? Join us! There is no need to be afraid, or to search for
clues in any sort of spiritualist pamphlet. The book The Temporality of
(New) Media contains seven texts (penned by Tomáš Dvořák, Radim
Hladík, Václav Janoščík, Čeněk Pýcha, Irena Reifová, Marek Šebeš, and
Filip Vostal), all associated with the above questions – that is to say the
issues weighing down more than just a few members of contemporary
society, and for several centuries at that. As one of the authors notes,
the sentiment that our world is changing at a continuously faster rate is
not a recent finding, but is also characteristic of the works of a number
of classical thinkers – Benjamin, Baudelaire, Proust – and can be found
throughout history dating back to at least the start of the modern era. It
was specifically then that saving time became the driving force behind
technological advances: the steam engine, the railway, and the telegraph
all reduced the work required for production, for logistics, and, most
importantly, for communication.

This entire publication may be read as a guide, one that will first
take you to the past, when time as the medium behind organisation
was still imprecise, decentralised, shared, and socially ritualised. In
those days, people spoke of the time of awakening and the time of
religious masses. In those days, the clock on the church tower defined
the daily schedule, just as, until recently, did the mass media of radio
and television. (Do you still remember the times when the family sat
down together to watch the evening news?) However, with the onset of
digitalisation came the end of the shared time schedule. The creation
and consumption of both content and personal communication have
been liberalised and individualised. Public time has become private time.
Social interactions have been reduced according to what the medium
allows. What if, however, technology ceases to be the weakest link and
is replaced by humankind itself? The last chapters of the book address
the exchange of information, the speed of which as well as the method
now exceed the boundaries of human perception. What does this
medium of the future look like? And who will be using it?

Lukáš Pilka

Dvořák, Tomáš et al., Temporalita (nových) médií (The Temporality of (New) Media).
Prague: NAMU, 2016. 282 pages. ISBN 978-80-7331-425-5.

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