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The ghost is the machine: Media-philosophy and materialism

Littau, K (2011) 'The ghost is the machine: Media-philosophy and materialism.' In: UNSPECIFIED, (ed.) New Takes in Film-Philosophy. UNSPECIFIED, 154 - 170. ISBN 9780230250284

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In A Midsummer Night’s Dream Shakespeare asks us to think about how the ‘imagination bodies forth/The forms of things unknown’ (V. i. 14-15). This line, in a play replete with fairies, asks us to consider the work of the imagination. How are we to imagine the imagination itself? Certainly, the way in which Shakespeare imagined his Oberon - King of the fairies, or his Titania - Queen of the fairies, or Puck, Peasebottom, Cobweb, Moth or Mustardseed, first took material shape on a page, on paper, penned, we presume, in ink. As the play says, ‘the poet’s pen/Turns them [the forms of things unknown] to shapes, and gives to airy nothing/A local habitation and a name’ (V. i. 15-17). With the help of a writing instrument, ‘airy nothing’ is turned into something. What was invisible becomes visible. What was immaterial becomes material. But is the pen just that: an instrument, a tool? Are the instruments we use to make art from the ‘airy nothing’ in our heads just that: tools which serve art?

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1993 Motion Pictures
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, Department of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 12 Jan 2012 13:08
Last Modified: 30 Mar 2021 16:15

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