Text To Speech Reading 15: Medium, Messenger, Transmission by Sybille Krämer (2015)

Wed, Nov 22, 2017
Programming Series

Join us at Cineworks as we read from Sybille Krämer's innovative work of media philosophy, Medium, Messenger, Transmission (Amsterdam University Press, Recursions series). We'll be reading the chapter 'Witnessing: On the Transmission of Perception and Knowledge through Credibility'.

Text To Speech is a reading group organized by Western Front, Cineworks and VIVO Media Arts Centre, focusing on intelligent writing about media, media art and the surrounding concepts and frameworks of the mediated world. This project is a collaborative group discussion that is open to suggestions and diversions, aiming to build stronger community ties and knowledge in our field. The text to speech notion draws from the successful format of other close reading groups, and we will facilitate group reading, discussion, and participation. Prior reading of a given text is encouraged but not required, as all sessions will involve some form of introduction, and some portion of close reading (out loud). We will provide excerpts.

Reading 15:
Witnessing: On the Transmission of Perception and Knowledge through Credibility, by Sybille Krämer
In: Medium, Messenger Transmission; Sybille Krämer; Amsterdam University Press

“Reflecting on the nature of witnessing means confronting the problem of transmitting knowledge. And it can already be established in advance that the philosophical rehabilitation of witnessing – which is both useful as well as necessary – draws on the latent or also manifest devaluation of what is merely due to ‘transmission’. Witnessing is of epistemological interest when and only when it proves to be the new creation of knowledge. In order to be philosophically acceptable, witnessing must be a form of production. This media-theoretical perspective presents the following question: Assuming that a witness ‘only’ functions as a medium for transmitting perception and knowledge, is it possible to specify the ‘creativity’ of witnessing in a way that does not negate but rather reconstitutes the transmission character of the event?”
Sybille Krämer

About 'Medium, Messenger, Transmission'
This rich study provides a comprehensive introduction to media philosophy while offering a new perspective on the concept and function of transmission media in all systems of exchange. Krämer uses the figure of the messenger as a key metaphor, examining a diverse range of transmission events, including the circulation of money, translation of languages, angelic visitations, spread of infectious diseases, and processes of transference and counter-transference that occur during psychoanalysis.

The introduction to this work – An Introduction to the Media Philosophy of Sybille Krämer – can be downloaded here:


For advance copies of the chapter Witnessing: On the Transmission of Perception and Knowledge through Credibility please email programs[at]cineworks.ca, with TTS in the subject field.