time and technology

"We can now engineer our future." 

"In its attempt to subdue time's flux by harnassing the future predictably and reliably to the present," technology " tends to 'domesticate' our experience of time." (L. C. Simpson, Technology, Time and the Conversations of Modernity, p.9) For Simpson, "Domestication appears as the will to control." (p.53) "In technology, time is destined to be reified, to be transformed into a commodity." (p.55) Simpson contrasts the time of technology to the time of praxis, which, like repetition, does not seek to annihilate or even domesticate time, but rather to come to terms with it. Other philosophers like Don Ihde and historians of technology like Lynn White, Jr. interpret technologies as embedded in praxis. (see clocks.)

In the 1880's the railroads and the telegraph made the coordination of local times both possible and necessary. The Introduction of World Standard Time created greater uniformity of shared public time and in so doing triggered theorizing about a multiplicity of private times. The electric light and the cinema made private time more plastic. The nineteenth century characerized railroad travel as "the annihilation of space and time."

The phonograph and photograph (as well as cinema) enabled the preservation of the past and the projection of the present into the future. Architectural preservation societies saw architecture's capacity to preserve the past in solid form. (Marcel Proust on the church of Combray, Simmel on ruins) In 1893, Otto Wagner rejected the "deadly eclecticism and slavish devotion to the past" that characterized the buildings of the Ringstrasse and concluded that while most ages had been able to adapt artistic forms to changing techniques and needs, in the latter half of the nineteenth century social and technological change had proceeded to rapidly for artists to keep pace, and the architecture fell back on earlier styles