An ‘exemplary contemporary technical object’: thinking cinema between Hansen and Stiegler

Spring 2016

This article explores the work of Mark B.N. Hansen and Bernard Stiegler in relation to technology, experience and cinema. It highlights the differences between their positions and evaluates their ongoing usefulness for ‘technocultural’ studies. The article starts by describing and evaluating Hansen’s critique of Stiegler on cinematic temporality. Here it argues that their very different reading of Gilbert Simondon’s work (and especially his concept of individuation) are crucial to understanding the difference between Hansen and Stiegler. The article then moves on to look directly at Stiegler’s approach to cinema through an analysis of his reading of Alain Resnais’s film On connaît la chanson (Same Old Song). It shows here how the frequent citation of popular French song in this film underlines Stiegler’s concept of the ‘industrialisation of memory’. The economic and cultural problematic that Stiegler locates in the film is contrasted with the seemingly positive reappropriation of culture industry which Lawrence Lessig describes as ‘remix culture’. The article then concludes by discussing what is at stake, theoretically and politically, in Stiegler and Hansen’s different ways of thinking about cinema.

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