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<nettime> Distributed Attention - Response to Margarete Morse
Petra Löffler on Fri, 27 Sep 2013 19:12:31 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Distributed Attention - Response to Margarete Morse

Dear Margaret Morse,
thank you for your comments on my arguments which I've provided in the  
interview with Geert. I would like to react on them briefly.
In my research on discourses of distraction I found out that, around  
1800, distraction was reformulated as distributed attention. At the  
same time forms of deep attention like absorption were specified as  
interior distraction. Hence, I would claim, the traditional opposition  
(as provided first of all by philosophy) between attention and  
distraction has collapsed.

I too was surprised by the way Adorno and Horkheimer was claiming that  
an excess of distraction attaches art. I believe it implies a  
dialectical move towards a new quality (according to the proposition  
that a high quantity can change into a new quality). Adorno and  
Horkheimer had popular entertainments like film comedies and animated  
films in mind, when they where thinking on an excess of distraction.
Insofar the notion of "intensified distraction" seems less contradictory.

Is distraction a metaphor? I've problems with that term, inasmuch as  
it is related to symbolic signification, especially to language. I've  
rejected the term because I'm more interested in cultural practices  
(in Foucault's sense) like fairground activities or mass media  
reception and bodily reactions or interactions as for instance  
dizziness. Do metaphors have effects on bodies? Distraction is of  
course a cultural concept and is involved in power relations and  

I hope this comments can clarify my arguments.
Best regards,
Petra Löffler

Vertr. Prof. Dr. Petra Löffler

Bauhaus-Universität Weimar
Fakultät Medien/Professur für Medienphilosophie
Bauhausstraße 11
99423 Weimar
Tel.: +49(0)3643/58 37 76
Fax: +49(0)3643/58 37 51
E-Mail: petra.loeffler {AT} uni-weimar.de

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