‘Errors’. Exposing the Endless Construction and Deconstruction of Digital Media

David Gauthier | University of Amsterdam | ‘Errors’. Exposing the Endless Construction and Deconstruction of Digital Media | Supervisors: Robin Boast & Iris v.d. Tuin (UU) | 2015-2019

Current discourses on digital media display a fascination with the linguistic, numeric, algorithmic, social, and material aspects of technology, from which several new domains of study have emerged in the past several years, including Digital Methods, Software Studies, Digital Humanities, and Media Archeology, to name a few. My project argues these programmatic ventures are symptomatic of a more profound transformation taking place within the core theoretical apparatus of the humanities and the sciences. Building on the contemporary philosophical works of Jean-Luc Nancy and Erich Hörl, alongside the work of Félix Guattari, I argue that technology, rather than being a mere surrogate of the body or the mind, displaces and neutralises the sensible and the thinkable as it confronts our age-old ways of meaning making. In looking at the object of technological “errors,” my project uncovers the core cycles of construction and deconstruction of digital media, which, I argue, speaks to the endlessness of technological mediation, its necessary perpetual and repetitive actualisation. This endlessness, in turn, renders a perspective of technology which is open ended, never fully completed, or in other words, in-finite. It is this endlessness that disorients our notion of meaning as it breaks the linear causal relationship between means and ends, aims and fulfilment. Rather, as my project argues, technology exposes a meaningless assembling of things and beings that circumvent formal categories of representation and signification.