Metaphorology of Flows and Streams

Mathias Denecke

Contemporary, metaphors of flows and streams of information are applied in order to describe technical mediation in digital cultures. Specifically approaching flows and streams within a cultural and media scholarly discourse, the project analyses their metaphorical function. Here, the project puts to test whether flows and streams are used in terms of a rhetorical figure which takes on an epistemic function, or if the vocabulary of fluidity is merely applied as a self-sufficient metaphorical imagination. Underscoring the respective descriptive function of flows and streams, the project specifically asks for the metaphorically co-fabricated knowledge formations on technical mediation.

Following a critique of knowledge, the project aims on deconstructing the seeming self-evidence of flows and streams (Blumenberg 2000). ‹Registering› and ‹identifying› flows and streams in cultural and media scholarly writings, the project searches for ‹rhetorical over-straining› and strategies of making theoretical claims plausible. Also, it engages with regulating and controlling instantiations potentially excluded through the talk about flows and streams. The project supposes that metaphors of flows and streams are generally used self-sufficiently in terms of an absolutized metaphorical imagination. Consequently, scholarly assumptions could both become incongruent and omit political-economic questions of regulation. Thus, the metaphors prove risky concerning a theoretical access to technical mediation. Altogether, the project develops an epistemology of flow and stream metaphors in digital cultures. Alongside a critical analysis of metaphors the project includes historical as well as political-economic aspects of the talk about flows and streams of data and information.