opacities of thechnology
(Martin Campbell, 1995), video stills from the 2007 MGM DVD.
Transparence, or The color of Passing Time
Technologies and Images of Uncertainty
Editorial Director: Laurence Bertrand Dorléac
Editorial Assistant: Elodie Antoine
Translator: David Ames Curtis
of technology lies perhaps in its an aura of objectivity and timelessness
whereas reality demonstrates just the opposite. Like everything
else, it complies with the dictates of history and obeys conventions.
André Gunthert goes back over some of the arguments that
might bid us to rejoin the land of history, the land formalism’s
supporters had left behind. Using some well-known examples to
which we had never truly paid attention from the standpoint of
technology, he reminds us that every recording operation--perceived
as transparent at the moment it is carried out--has a tendency
to become opaque as it recedes in time. In fact, there is no end
to the redefinition of technology, as there is no end to the variations
in taste, by nature temporary, that depend on this constant redefinition.
Nothing takes place without a minimum of historical consensus,
the most lasting of which indeed assures all possible aspects
of immediacy and transparency.
Christian Walter extends to the economy this reflection on the
pseudo neutrality of technology. What he shows us is that a market
is dependent on its recording. The recent stock-market crisis
would indeed have confirmed him in his insistence on the nature
of the apprehension of uncertainty in the economic and financial
worlds, where probabilistic modelings dating from the 1960s rest
on statistical conceptions that are themselves inherited from
the nineteenth century. According to Walter, the practices that
follow therefrom are unsuited to take into consideration some
of today’s major phenomena: spasms of opinion and liquidity
crises. Arguing for a “clear image” of uncertainty,
he sheds light on the role representation plays in economics as
well as elsewhere.
Each in his own way and on the basis of very different objects
of study, both authors demonstrate how powerful is the role technology
plays. Deceptively innocent, technology succeeds insofar as the
viewer does not desire to know what lurks behind its filters.