This essay traces the advances in time axis manipulation brought about by the media switches from symbolic mediation (alphabet) to analogue recording (phonography and cinematography) and digital processing (computers). Special emphasis is on the mathematical dimension of the final stage. The Fourier transform enables the conversion of sound events into periodicities with numerical values that can then be manipulated and converted back into sound events, even if there was no original source involved. The media access frequencies and operate at speeds beyond all human thresholds. Kittler argues that the resulting ability to subvert and simulate human perception is the very definition of technical media.

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