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Bodies Outside In: On Cinematic Organ Projection

Taylor & Francis
Publication Date
  • Media Studies
  • Film Studies
  • Biology
  • Philosophy


In his Grundlinien einer Philosophie der Technik from 1877, Ernst Kapp articulates one of the first modern philosophical approaches to technology and its role in human history. According to Kapp's view, which can be characterized in materialist and even 'territorial' terms (referring to the ways in which technology participates in the creation of both biological and cultural space-times), fundamental to technology is its character as modulation of the human corporeal apparatus. For Kapp, technology reproduces, extends and augments bodily functions and organs. A key concept in this respect is 'organ projection' (Projection der Organe/Organprojection). The concept signals the way in which our corporeal apparatus, the inside, becomes exteriorized in technical objects ranging from most elementary hammers to modern steam engines. These, Kapp postulates, operate as unconscious projections of the body, and it is through various kinds of technological projections of its gestures and organs that the human kind constantly models, replicates and recreates itself in the course of its evolution.

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