What exactly is it that constitutes modernity: the separation of nature and culture in the emerging sciences, the political and social achievements of the Enlightenment, or its end in the mass industrialized destruction of human life under National Socialism? Because after that, at the latest, modernity seemed to have been used up in any case - and yet every time it reappears like a revenant, an undead in the debates of the present. That this is no coincidence, but a basic condition of our existence, is due to the development of the machine, which is to be read as the unconscious, the actual creator of modernity. In a story-rich parallel tour, in which one can read about the discovery of the vacuum, galvanism and the secrets of the voodoo of Haiti, in which the panopticon of Jeremy Bentham, the Babbage machine and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein make their appearances, the picture of a modernity emerges that is rooted in man's relationship to himself - as a top-down view from the outside that controls our self-image like a computer program. This profoundly shattering relationship of man to himself would not be possible without the machine; to fathom it is the task we must set ourselves.
Sample translation available
Martin Burckhardt, born in Fulda in 1957, is an audio artist, cultural theorist and lecturer. He has written various books on the genealogy of the machine in the philosophy of technology. Burckhardt lives and works in Berlin.