Alien Logic

The Universal Machine and the Psyche of the Social Apparatus

Bronislaw Malinowski has shown with his ethnological studies that a supposedly primitive society can be of astonishing complexity, as well as why the structure of this order remains obscure to its members. Obviously, modern societies also suffer from system blindness – why else is digitization said to have chiliastic, diabolic, magical powers?  In a continuation to his cultural-theoretical investigations on the genealogy and philosophy of the machine, Martin Burckhardt explored the question of how the self-enchantment of rationality can occur, and to what extent the operating system of the attention economy can be read as an outsourced unconscious. This, in turn, leads back to the point of departure: what perspective must a contemporary social anthropologist take in order to read the present?

Martin Burckhardt, author and cultural theorist, is a Visiting Fellow at the IWM.

Comments by Timothy Snyder, IWM Permanent Fellow.

Moderation by Ayşe Çağlar, IWM Permanent Fellow.