Faulty Theory

Fuller, Matthew. 2011. Faulty Theory. Fibreculture Journal(118), pp. 69-81. [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Theory suggests a certain means of cleaving closer to the world by arranging a trick of distance from it, to be able
to stand back from the onrush of things by attending to a pattern and thus recognising them more deeply. It offers
partaking in a dance of expansion and contraction of thought, one of immanence and transcendence twisting and
running through each other in recursive yet unrepeatable movement. This range of dynamics is one that may often
be frozen, codified, subject to measurements or called to order in numerous ways and which in turn may offer its
own sets of tests and cruelties. Yet it has no inherent speed, or necessary scale of operation, but it is the activation
of the movement in which it is found.

An examination of theory’s trajectories through media ecologies could take a number of turns. One might: follow
through the way in which it is articulated through filiations of ideas and genealogies and their relation to specific
media; work through the histories of the book and of texts, in technologies, markets and other modes of circulation;
trace how transformations are enacted on and through theory by means of politics, technology or wider cultural
shifts; or explore how theory sets itself up as a residue catcher of other domains. One might track theory as a kind
of peer-reviewed cultural industrial waste, but it may also suffice to pay attention to this movement of theory, and
some of the different kinds of revealing faultiness it makes possible.

This essay suggests how media theory might think alongside what it gets rather wrong, the phenomena which fuel
its capacities of misrecognition and with which it overlaps: to think theory as media in the way that it addresses,
modulates, transmits, and provides interference. I propose to do this both through engagement with two writers,
Charles Fort and Alfred Jarry, who exemplify certain excellences of error and through analysis of an interesting kind
of object characteristic of Cybernetics: thought experiments carried out in hardware.

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Centre for Cultural Studies (1998-2017)



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Date Deposited:

01 Oct 2012 15:57

Last Modified:

19 Jun 2017 11:05

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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