Tom 26 Nr 4 (2022)

Media and values: Stanisław Pietraszko and culturological media studies

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The paper offers a media-studies-inflected interpretation of Stanisław Pietraszko’s thought. Adopting the perspective of cultural mediology of the humanities, I analyze both Pietraszko’s published writings and his notes from the as-yet unresearched archival collection of his index cards. My focus is on the nexus of communication and technology, a theme rarely discussed by Pietraszko and even more rarely addressed in the reception of his work. I propose a reading of Pietraszko’s postcard-focused “Messages and values” as “Media and values,” in doing which I seek to make contemporary interpretations of his ideas more nuanced. Although Pietraszko, who was indebted to the cybernetic theory of communication, wrote about “messages” rather than “media,” he also explored the non-verbal properties of the carrier, which he believed to be replete with references to values. This encourages locating his article in the field of media-studies inquiry even though the very term “media” does not appear in the text at all. Given that Pietraszko’s conception can be regarded as epitomizing the former stage in the development of cultural theory with its emphasis on relative autonomy, I note the anachronic quality of his thought vis-à-vis technology. At the same time, I point out the parallels between the study of singular and “gone/renderedredundant” messages he proposed and the pursuits of today’s media archaeology.


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