- Journal Issue"Tech | Demo" deals with the twofold connection between demonstration and technology.(2023)"Tech Demo" deals with the twofold connection between demonstration and technology. On the one hand, the volume focusses on technology demonstrations as cultural and instrumental practices in the contexts of technology- and media-development. On the other hand, the contributions highlight the technologization of demonstrations regarding the reliance of (political) demonstrations on media technologies. Building on this nexus, demonstrations appear as mediahistorically and -theoretically significant sites that reveal and negogiate intersections of technology, individual, and society, politics, performance, and aesthetics, as well as human and technical scopes of 'agency'.
- ArticleDemo Skills in Technologically Wild Settings. The DemosceneHastik, Canan (2023)The article examines the practices of the demoscene, looking at performative aspects at the intersection of technology and individual skills. The scene is one of the oldest and most enduring, primarily European, hyperreal communities whose creative and cutting-edge works are well documented, findable, and accessible. However, at the level of program code, these artifacts are generally neither interoperable nor reusable. In addition, the demoscene bases its tradition on its own ideals and principles and has developed an individual demonstration culture that aims to impress and entertain the community by creatively using hardware, producing software programs and code, and demonstrating their capabilities.
- ArticleDemonstration Dynamics at a High-Tech Event. Exploring a High-Stakes Spot of the Demonstration SocietyRosental, Claude (2023)This paper analyzes the activities and interactions that took place during a hightech summit held in Jerusalem in 2020, based on ethnographical observations carried out on site. It shows how this high-tech event led to a massive production of public demonstrations – including public demonstrations of technology or “demos” – which served various aims. It unveils some of the material, organizational and cognitive aspects of this demonstrative festival. This study illustrates the ways in which demos and a techno-rhetoric may help support technological promises, contribute to the marketing of technologies, and contribute to economic life. It shows how demos can offer a solutionist view of the world – especially technological solutions – brought to problems made public on demonstrative sites. Thereby, it explores one important component of the demonstration society, related to the very large set of high-tech conferences and fairs organized around the world every year.
- ArticleHardware Culture. Tech Demo Modalities in PC Gaming Social Media ChannelsGowanlock, Jordan (2023)This article concerns the particular forms of tech demos at work in PC hardware culture, a video game subculture where people review and debate the consumer products needed to run video games. As an intensely social online space where emerging forms of hardware are represented, negotiated, and debated, this subculture and its unique forms of media are a contact zone between the hardware underpinnings of video games discussed in video game “platform studies” and the social construction of video games. This article takes a wholistic approach to this culture, noting its persistent gender bias and embeddedness in consumer culture, while also noting points of resistance that bring a media archaeology skepticism to discourses of technological advance and obsolescence.
- ArticleImaginaries of Machine Vision. A Short HistorySchröter, Jens (2023)The historical development of the technologies that ultimately led to the field of ‘machine vision’ began in the 1960s. As is always the case with emerging technologies, imaginaries of potential future usages (and dangers) of the potential new technologies emerged too. This article analyzes the intertwined histories of machine vision technologies and their corresponding imaginaries by focusing on some exemplary configurations. These analyses reveal how machine vision was imagined, to which uses it was thought it should be put and what dangers were considered to be lurking within it. The paper focuses, firstly, on methodological considerations, on how to reconstruct the intertwining genealogies of technologies and their imaginary representations. Secondly, it examines three examples. The first is the famous point-of-view shot of HAL9000 in Stanley Kubricks’ 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). The second example is the point of view (POV) of the antagonist in Westworld (1973), played by Yul Brynner. These shots have a ‘pixilated’ look that stages machine vision in a way that connects it to the slowly emerging digital image aesthetics. The final example is the machine POV in The Terminator (1984). The paper ends with a conclusion and a short analysis of Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel Klara and the Sun (2021).
- ArticleSpace Porn. Mediating the Apollo-Soyuz Test ProjectGrampp, Sven (2023)The article uses several examples to show how, during and through the media coverage of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, the political efforts to demonstrate technical and political cooperation between the USA and the USSR were not only transported to earth, but meanwhile also underwent a massive transformation. Based on the theoretical figure of the third according to Georg Simmel and their interpretation as mediators for a global audience, two examples will be spelled out in more detail. The first is about the reporting in the Playboy magazine, in which the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project is reinterpreted and demonstrated as a very special sexual act. The second is a closer look at how space is conceptualised as domesticated space in the Soviet design of the space capsules. Since then, even after the collapse of the Eastern Bloc until today, space has often been staged as a place down on earth.
- ArticleTech | Demo. IntroductionEckel, Julia; Ernst, Christoph (2023)
- ArticleThe Technologization of Street Demonstrations and the Agency of the Mobile Phone. A Short Story of the Future of Digital Witness EvidenceMeis, Mareike (2023)Looking back at the big corpus of videos available on Social Media from the early street protests of the Syrian Civil War, this paper focuses on past acts of media witnessing as inheriting a future justiciability of digital witness evidence. It discusses the agency of the mobile phone as prime documenting and reporting device in contemporary technologized street demonstrations with reference to Judith Butler (2011) and Aurélia Kalisky (2017). Applying a diffractive research perspective towards the study of media witnessing based on Donna J. Haraway’s (1997; 2004 ) writings, the paper brings together different media material and theoretical approaches in a narrative history of the technologization of street demonstrations and of an inherited future of digital witness evidence as corroborative, and eventually prime, legal evidence.
- Article“Like a Jedi Master.” Gesture Control, Tech Demos, and MagicRein, Katharina (2023)Analysing tech demos in conjunction with magic, this article interconnects three elements: the gestures of modern performing magicians, wearable gesture control devices for home application, and technoscientific demonstrations. The role of gestures in the first two cases is analysed through two examples: the historical stage illusion “Asrah” by Servais Le Roy, and the wristband remote control device “Reemo”. These serve to examine the relationship between tech demos, gesture command, and magic through analogies and points of intersection. In all three cases, this article argues, the respective effects are emphasized in the demonstration, while the underlying, complex infrastructure and the human labour involved in the production of these are made invisible. This interplay of simulation and dissimulation is at the centre not only of performance magic but