Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Cultural Technique?

If you are wondering what the term Cultural Technique(s), or in its native language, Kulturtechniken, refers to - this is the quote you need. In most articles on the topic, Thomas Macho's words are recounted, and used so why not recirculate them once more:

"Cultural techniques—such as writing, reading, painting, counting, making music—are always older than the concepts that are generated from them. People wrote long before they conceptualized writing or alphabets; millennia passed before pictures and statues gave rise to the concept of the image; and still today, people sing or make music without knowing anything about tones or musical notation systems. Counting, too, is older than the notion of numbers. To be sure, most cultures counted or performed certain mathematical operations, but they did not necessarily derive from this a concept of number."

- Thomas Macho, “Zeit und Zahl: Kalender- und Zeitrechnung als Kulturtechniken,” in
Bild-Schrift-Zahl, ed. Sybille Krämer and Horst Bredekamp (Munich: Wilhelm Fink Verlag,
2003), 179. (The passage translated by Geoffrey Winthrop-Young).

Quoting this also hints at what I am occupied with now - together with Winthrop-Young and Ilinca Iuraşcu; a special issue on Cultural Techniques for Theory, Culture & Society.

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