Title: Metaphysics of the Negligible. On the Ontological Difference of Digital Images.
Authors: Villa, Riccardo Matteo  
Issue Date: 22-Oct-2021
Villa, R. M. (2021). Metaphysics of the Negligible. On the Ontological Difference of Digital Images. In 4th Austrian Symposium of Doctoral Students in Architecture. https://doi.org/10.34726/1721
Book Title: 4th Austrian Symposium of Doctoral Students in Architecture 
According to Hans Blumenberg, Weltbildverlust is the distinctive trait of the Modern Age. World-images are lost and forgotten due to the rise of scientific and operative world-models. This understanding of science reconnects with the ancient project of philosophy: to emancipate knowledge from images—something that the philosophical tradition, from Plato onwards, has always looked with deference and as potentially treacherous. Digital technology seems to fulfil this dream: it turns knowledge into a numeric matter, computable and non-figurative. This is the character of what Jean-François Lyotard named as the postmodern condition. And yet, today we find ourselves drowning in pictures, as portable devices push to an even more capillary diffusion—in space and in time—of the “spectacle” of society. The emancipation of images turns into its opposite: with the digital everything is image. In a computerised society knowledge becomes a matter of production and consumption, handing it into the “treacherous” hands of sophistry which philosophy was trying to preserve it from. At the same time, contemporary physics is confronted with a principal indeterminacy: picturing something can no longer be considered an impartial act and observation (the picturing itself) must be considered as a constitutive part of the equation: if truth, as Walter Benjamin once said, must be intentionslos, intellection cannot. On these bases, the paper will argue for an urgency to reconsider pictures and images and of their constitutive role for an architectonic understanding of science, media, and technology in the so-called Digital Age. In this context, images are not representations of something as much as representatives: they are endowed with a political autonomy—a non-predicative kind of figuration—that makes them an expression of an ontological difference, a ‘writing’ of legibility itself. In this light, knowledge is not anymore the object of epistemology but of architectonics, and intellection is not just a ‘reading’ but Entwurf: an articulation (via images) of a contingent ‘pact’ with the negligible—i.e. with what such reading cannot accommodate.
Keywords: images; information; digital; philosophy; media; architecture
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12708/18696
DOI: 10.34726/1721
Organisation: E259-04 - Forschungsbereich Architekturtheorie und Technikphilosophie 
License: In Copyright 1.0
Publication Type: Inproceedings
Appears in Collections:Conference Paper

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