Technicity in the German, Early Art and Science fives a New Focus to Age Old Questions

Examples of technology include, Computers, the Internet and cellular telephony-the ability to do basic calculations much faster allows commerce, science and industry to move much quicker. Examples of technology are the Internet which gives access to almost-any information at the touch of a button and also provides real time information… Cell phones use radio waves to send messages and phone conversations (both incoming and outgoing) at the same time. Another example of technology includes microwaves which send signals through the air and are usually visible to humans. Television is the first technology to use light to produce an image by bouncing a laser off objects. A further example of technology includes radar, which uses radio waves to move vehicles.

The above list illustrates that the definition of technology itself is very fluid. It has been around for over a century and has undergone several changes. In Schatzberg’s view however, it is important to differentiate between synthetic and real technologies. In order for something to be a synthetic technology it must not have evolved from other means. Furthermore, the process of evolution necessarily involves change and thus any technology that was once considered progressive, such as electricity or the internal combustion engine, has undergone changes to become more generic.

From Schatzberg’s point of view art forms are included in the list of twentieth century applied sciences. He believes that art and creative literature fall into the same category as physics, mathematics, chemistry and engineering. For example, Einstein’s theory of relativity and James Clerk Maxwell’s model of the electrical universe both form part of the natural sciences while twentieth century writers such as Wole Soyinka and Franz Kafka share the field with quantum mechanics, high energy physics and mathematics. The exception to this rule is when art falls into the natural sciences category such as in science fiction.

In the second half of the twentieth century, German engineers began designing machinery that would facilitate mass production. Two of the most influential members of the German national industrial arts organization were Dieter Heckler and Arnold Gehlen. Both worked on the ubiquitous standardized assembly line that is still in use today. Another early practitioner of industrial arts production was von Walrad, who designed and built the first mass-produced automobile in eighteen seventy-six. The automobile industry that he founded called DAF in das Eindeinten, or the assembly line.

In his book, The Wounded Healer, Johannbeckmann refers to himself as a technician who designs and builds machines. His work in industry is documented throughout the text. However, in order for technology to be applied it needs to be developed through human effort. In fact, the industrial arts organization that Heckler ran called SAHA in Deutschland zweite Zauberwachung, which means “making things by ourselves.” While this appears to be a humorous reference in the context of his later work, the term technology was used on a daily basis by his coworkers. SAHA actually meant “things made by ourselves.”

Johann Beckmann’s notion of ethnicity as being synonymous with quality leads the reader to wonder if there might be some parallel between the history of engineering and the history of technology. In particular, the relationship between SAHA and Heckler’s concept of ethnicity is intriguing. Did Heckler develop his notion of ethnicity as a result of working in an industrial environment? Or was there a parallel between SAHA and Bachmann’s more general term, technicality?

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