This essay considers the relationship between the work of contemporary artist Torsten Lauschmann and themes in a growing area of research: philosophy of technology. Themes considered include relations between technology and contemporary urban dwelling, technology and the “everyday,” and Heidegger’s problematic but canonical understanding of technology not as a set of “mere means” but as a “way of revealing.” I argue that Lauschmann’s art renders these themes relevant for our increasingly technologically mediated forms of everyday experience by engaging in a paradoxical practice of creating what McLuhan called “anti-environments.”
Part One relates Lauschmann’s art to three concepts surfacing in McLuhan’s late work: “figure,” “ground,” and “anti-environment.” Part Two relates Lauschmann’s art to Merleau-Ponty’s critique of photography in terms of the ontology of dynamic movement. Part Three relates Lauschmann’s art to Heidegger, implying a form of “affective critique” that — by questioning the environmental conditions that constitute works of art — points beyond vexed aspects of Heidegger’s approach, such as its apparent pessimism and tendency to homogenize disparate technologies. The essay’s broader argument is that Lauschmann’s art, like the philosophical reflections to which it is related, is engaged in a practice of challenging settled common-sense notions regarding technologically mediated experience.
- Torsten Lauschmann
- philosophy of technology
- Marshall McLuhan
- Maurice Merleau-Ponty
- Martin Heidegger
- affective critique
Dominic Smith, “On Technological Ground: The Art of Torsten Lauschmann,” Evental Aesthetics 4, no. 2 (2015): 138-170.