Monday, January 28, 2013

Apparatus vs device

 The term "dispositif" as used by Michel Foucault shows up in English  as 'dispositif', 'apparatus' and 'deployment' in translations of his work (from http://www.michel-foucault.com/concepts/index.html).
Agamben's "dispositivo" is also logically translated as "apparatus",  as he uses Foucault's as a starting point. For the writings on this blog "device" will be used as an equivalent to "apparatus" until a better term becomes evident. An excerpt translated from Agamben's "Que cos'è un dispositivo?" may help clarify:

"Generalizing on the class of Focauldian devices, I will literally name device anything that has in any way the capacity to capture, orient, determine, intercept, mould, control and ensure the gestures, the conduct, the opinions and the discourses of living beings. Not only, then, do prisons, mental institutions, the Panopticon, schools, the confession, factories, the disciplines, legal measures, etc., [....] ,[...] have a connection with power but also the pen, writing, literature, philosophy, agriculture, the cigarette, navigation, computers, cellular phones, and - why not - language itself, which is perhaps the most ancient of devices, into which thousands and thousands of years ago a primate - probably unaware of the resulting consequences - was unconscious of letting himself get caught." (in Giorgio Agamben, 2006, Che cos'e un dispositivo?, notetempo, from p 20-22).

 This, then provides an initial conceptual framework that will allow further development of photography as device.

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