Hermann von Helmholtz-Zentrum für Kulturtechnik

Zentralinstitut der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

The Digitalisation of Image, Script, Number and Sound. Their Conceptualisation and Cultural Context

Bernd Mahr

Image, script, number and sound are the media of our daily communication and media we use every day. Their conventionalised use is a constituent part of our culture and science. With their digitalisation and automatic processing in information technology and telecommunications, image, script, number and sound are being reduced to that which is symbolically representable and effectively executable. This reduction encompasses how they are conceptualised, which is in essence subject to two influences: firstly, a particular conception of what they are and, secondly, a particular conception of what they should be in the context of their digitalised form. Digitalisation is thus placed in a cultural context that is instrumental in determining this conceptualisation on the one hand and is itself shaped by the same conceptualisation on the other. Statements about the cultural context of digitalisation are therefore impredicative.

Based on a reference model, this project aims to formulate the conceptual framework for the conceptualisations of image, script, number and tone inherent in digitalisation. The development of such a model requires insights into the cultural interdependence of digitalisation, an exploration of the profit and loss arising through digitalisation, an account of the relationships between image, script, number and sound, and a contribution to the theoretical debate in cultural studies. We expect the model to be capable of being applied practically as a heuristics for the documentation of collections using information technology.