The Role of Digital Technologies in Europe: The Case of Audiovisual Culture

    • IMG_6866
    • Presentation speakers
      • Melita Zajc, Institute for Media Communication, University of Maribor

    The Role of Digital Technologies in Europe: the Case of Audiovisual Culture

    This paper assumes that digital technologies contribute to the development of new modes of communication and power relations, i.e. digital powers, which differ significantly from traditional power relations. Therefore, the development of new political thinking and behavior and their integration into the European public sphere is essential for the future of Europe. This requires consideration of broader issues regarding relations between technology and society. To avoid reproaches of technological determinism, which implies separating technology and society, we will ground our argument on theories which simultaneously consider technology and society. The conceptual part will focus on various conceptualizations of the increased presence of technologies as digital, networked and mobile technologies, within contemporary societies: folding (Vizoviti/Papacharissi), media life (Deuze), actor/network theory (Latour) , individuation (Stiegler) and dispositive (Baudry). Stiegler argues that speech, writing, printing press and the internet each brought about a novel form of ‘psychic and social individuation’. Dispositive was developed within cinema theory, in order to demonstrate that socially relevant aspect of media is not media content, but the way media works within the society, in particular, how it works on the individuals, by simultaneously creating an imaginary subject position and addressing individual viewers. This is the meeting point between Baudry and Stiegler, individuation and dispositive. What Stiegler defines as social individuation is the construction of a common, imaginary subject position, and what he defines as psychic individuation is the involvement of individual persons. Baudry and Stiegler both claimed that their theories have social and political implications. Stiegler, in particular, argued that Europe was not aware of the importance of media within contemporary societies and this exactly was the main reason of the present crisis of Europe. In historical part, we will present results of a research project, performed in Slovenia, a small European country, after Digital Agenda was introduced in 2010 within Europe 2020 strategy. The goal was to explore the implications of digital technologies for development of Slovene audiovisual culture. We established that Europe insists in considering digital cinema in terms of digital distribution of feature films in cinema theaters. Local public financing bodies tend to not even consider the works, if they are not meant to be distributed within traditional structures of cinema theaters or television. Understanding of technology as an impartial and ideologically neutral means prevails, enabling the preservation of traditional workflows and old power structures, while financing of celluloid film production is ideologically masked as the preservation of high (celluloid) culture. The paper will address the question, if such results indeed confirm Stiegler’s reproaches, and if so, what is to be done to overcome such situation.