Interferences of technicity, literary form and theory since the 1950s

Since the post-war period, according to the project’s initial observation, the “question of technology” has been posed in a new and more acute sense. The diagnosis was widely shared that there was a risky gap between theoretical thinking and the phenomena of technology, which had to be made up for if one wanted to be “up to one’s age” (M. Bense). While some attempted to close ranks with contemporary innovations, such as the development of cybernetics, others first and foremost sought to initiate an in-depth examination of the intellectual and historical preconditions and implications of technical thought. In addition, a heightened awareness of the “language situation of the present” (H. Blumenberg) and of the “special position” that the philosophical forms of expression and poetic language occupy in it, emerged under these circumstances.

The framework of the project was formed by the overarching question of how new nodes and lines of conflict evolved in the relationship between philosophy, technology, and literature as a result of the developments outlined above. With regard to a reformulated understanding of technology, such positions are of interest which assert an expanded understanding of technology and technicity and make it the pivotal point of a revised understanding of reality (Hans Blumenberg, Gilbert Simondon). At stake is a reality in which it is no longer possible to distinguish reliably between nature and artifice, entailing significant reinterpretations of classical questions of the humanities. Of primary importance for the study were concepts of—both aesthetic and technical—manufacture and production, all of which have been newly put up for discussion, and the associated shifts in the conception of authorship and the “being made” of the produced work. In a further step, the category of meaning was examined as a modern hotbed of crisis par excellence. The sphere of technology, which since Husserl has been charged with the verdict of a loss of meaning, was placed in relation to the complexities of meaning that are at work in modern literature. From this point of view, the canonization processes–which are, of course, anything but homogeneous in themselves—of poetry as a “paradigmatic” modern genre were examined.

Program funding through the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) 2018–2019
Head researcher(s): Alexandra Heimes