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1900 __ « Die Erweiterung unserer Sinne »
Otto Wiener (1862-1927)
Comment : The experimental physicist Otto Wiener suggested that instrument-based physical research should be regarded as an evolutionary process of the extension of the human senses. Generalizations were derived from sensuous experience. Consequently, elements of theory were to be understood as "condensed experience". (H. Otto Sibum, “BEYOND THE IVORY TOWER: What Kind of Science Is Experimental Physics?”, in ‘Science’ 1 October 2004: Vol. 306. no. 5693, pp. 60 - 61)The Austrian physicist-psychologist, Otto Wiener, similarly championed a “cinematographic theory” to account for the revised physiology of limited human “observation.” There was a unanimous understanding in the field of psychology that photography and cinema could enhance the human sensorium, giving the eye or ear more to recover from any perceptual field.In addition to championing a “cinematographical theory” to account for the “heightened knowledge” (Erkenntnis) and “enriched experience” (reiche Erfahrung) of technological modernity, Wiener also speaks of an “electrical sense” (einen elektrischen Sinn) that is cultivated through the use of electrical apparati.Wiener in his lecture held on May 19, 1900 concludes that the electric and explosive burst of technological advance in a short period of time has strained the human nervous system."Physik und Kulturentwicklung" (Leipzig und Berlin: Verlag und Druck von B.G. Teubner, 1919), by Otto Wiener, is a cultural history of the microscope, the telescope, telegraph, the x-ray, high-speed photography, slow motion (using the new term proposed by German technician H. Lehmann: Zeitlupe or Zeitmikroskop), etc. Wiener here writes that the new German museum of technology in Munich will prove that “technology has risen” and now serves the higher aim of Kultur. (Compiled from various sources)On 19 May 1900, Otto Wiener delivered his highly appropriate inaugural lecture on "The Extension of our Senses" by instruments. As with Friedlaender, his point of departure was the recognition that "in principle it would not be difficult to take stock of our entire knowledge by using self-recording machines and other automatic devices, thus creating a physical museum of automata." This museum would even be able to inform extra-terrestrial intelligence of "the level of our knowledge." In conclusion, however, Wiener declared that the "Kantian notions of the a priori nature of the perception of time and space are unnecessary.” Media make Man, "that sublime culprit in the most serenely spiritual sense" of his philosophy, superfluous. (Friedrich Kittler)
Original excerpt : « Is there any phenomenon which works upon neither our natural senses, nor upon their extensions, our present-day instruments and apparatus? Then, unless it be out of relation with things, must it still be bound up with other phenomena which do work upon our senses or our instruments. Thus it must sooner or later become perceptible to us. » (Otto Wiener, 1900)
Source : Wiener, Otto (1900),”Die Erweiterung unserer Sinne”, (Akademische Antrittsvorlesung gehalten am 19,Mai 1900), Leipzig: Verlag von Johannn Ambrosius Barth, 1900.
Source : Kittler, Friedrich A. (1986), “Grammophon Film Typewriter”, Berlin: Brinkmann & Bose; and also, “Gramophone, Film, Typewriter”, translated by Geoff Winthrop-Young and Michael Wutz, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999.
Urls : http://www.stanford.edu/class/history34q/readings/Kittler/GramFilmTypwriter/Kittler_Gramophone.html (last visited )

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