The Sirens Go Silent: A Commemorative Colloquium for Friedrich Kittler 3/14-16

The Sirens Go Silent:

A Commemorative Colloquium for Friedrich Kittler

Organized by Avital Ronell, Arne Hocker, and Martin Rauchbauer

with the Goethe-Institut New York and the Onassis Cultural Center NY.

Deutsches Haus at NYU (42 Washington Mews, New York)

March 14th, 6:30pm – 8:30pm

March 15th, 9:00am – 6:00pm
March 16th, 9:30am – 5:00pm

Wyoming Building, Goethe-Institut New York

March 16th, 8:00pm – 1:00am

A famous and iconic German thinker, Friedrich Kittler passed away in 2011 in Berlin. Some of the obituaries have stated that the German university has lost its last great figure. It is no exaggeration that Friedrich Kittler has singlehandedly revolutionized the humanities. When he declared “The Expulsion of Spirit from the Humanities” (“Die Austreibung des Geistes aus den Geisteswissenschaften”) in one of his early essays, he paved the way for technology and media to enter the study of literature, art, and philosophical thought. A trained philologist and literary scholar, he founded the discipline now known as “Media Theory” and he has contributed significantly to create scientific and humanistic inroads in a number of areas of critical theory and thought. Beyond his exemplary contribution to the thinking organized around technology, scientific inquiry, and medial innovation, Friedrich Kittler always also remained a prolific and subtle literary critic, who inspired students on both sides of the Atlantic with his teaching and his books, many of which have been translated into numerous languages and are taught and studied as essential texts of the Humanities.

With this commemorative colloquium, we will honor the work and person of Friedrich Kittler and will celebrate his intellectual legacy together with many outstanding scholars, performers, writers, technobodies–including disciples, students, colleagues, friends, companion spirits–of Friedrich Kittler.

Organized by Avital Ronell, Arne Hocker, and Martin Rauchbauer, in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut New York and the Onassis Cultural Center NY, The Sirens Go Silent: A Commemorative Colloquium for Friedrich Kittler is made possible by the generous support of the NYU Department of German, the DAAD, the Dean for the Humanities, the NYU Department of Media, Culture & Communication, Deutsches Haus at NYU, the Humanities Initiative, and the Provost for the Arts and Humanities.

Events at Deutsches Haus are free of charge. Please let us know whether you would like to attend this event by sending an email to Space at Deutsches Haus is limited, please arrive ten minutes prior to the event. Thank you!

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Program Thursday, March 14


6:30pm-8:30pm: Opening Night with Avital Ronell, Nimrod Reitman (Piano), Lindsay Zacheroff (Dance & Choreography), Tycho Horan (Electronics), and Friedrich Kittler (on Video).
Reception to follow.

Friday, March 15

9am – 9:30am: Welcome (Avital Ronell & Arne Höcker)

9:30am – 12:30pm Session 1:
Elisabeth Weber, Nightblack: Formatting Love
Rüdiger Campe, Kittler’s Humanities: On “Implementation” Bernhard Siegert, The Chorein of the Pirate: A Kittlerian View on the Origin of the Dutch Seascape

12:30pm – 1:45pm: Lunch Break

1:45 pm- 3:45 pm: Session 2
Laurence A. Rickels, The Rocket and the Ambivalent Introject

Chadwick Smith, Bones of Contention: The Challenges of Kittler’s Recursive Histories

3:45 pm – 4 pmCoffee Break

4 pm – 6 pm: David Wellbery, What is Left Out: On Some Ellipses in Kittler

Berit Jane Soli-Holt (with Avital Ronell), Material Engagement & Pedagogy: A Report from Kittler’s Last Seminar


Saturday, March 16

9:30am-12:30pm Session 3:
Geoffrey Winthrop-Young, What was Kittler’s Media Theory?

Hans-Christian von Herrmann, Media Culture: Bildung in the Age of Information (M. McLuhan – J.-F. Lyotard – F. Kittler)

Bernhard Dotzler, Idiotie, Vergessen, Gestrigkeit: Friedrich A. Kittlers Avantgardismus

12:30pm-2pm Lunch Break

2pm-5pm Session 4:
Antje Pfannkuchen, A Return to Kittler: Romanticism and Writing
Ben Kafka, The Meaning of the Meaningless
Thomas Pepper, Friedrich Kittler’s (Ver)stimmungen

8pm-1am Party with William Rauscher (DJ) at the Wyoming Building (5 E. 3rd Street, at Bowery) hosted by the Goethe-Institut New York


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