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A Secret Life of Media Ecologies

Next week, in Brazil it’s all about media ecologies. A Secret Life of Objects, A Vida Secreta dos Objetos, is the 2nd in the series of major conferences that tackle with theory, media and materiality of cultural interactions. The first of the two events takes place in Sao Paulo, the second in Rio de Janeiro.

I am also happy to tell that Winchester School of Art is one of the official partners!

There is even a video trailer to set the mood for the events:

I will be giving a talk at both events on topics that relate to geology of media and the issues of urban pollution and smart cities.

Negotiating Affect in Media/Cultural Studies

July 14, 2015 1 comment

I came across this earlier review essay ” Negotiating Affect in Media/Cultural Studies” (PDF)  of Jodi Dean’s, Steven Shaviro’s and my own book (Insect Media) which might interest some people out there.

It was published in WSQ: Women Studies Quarterly 40 (1&2, Spring/Summer 2012).

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Geology of Media reviews and more

The first reviews of A Geology of Media are out! Some links here if you are interested in the first reception of the book:

Sean Cubitt reviews it in Theory, Culture & Society;

J.R.Carpenter wrote the review Massive Media for Furtherfield.

ArtReview did a short review in their May 2015 issue:

Screen Shot 2015-06-27 at 11.33.00 AM

In addition, Kunstkritikk published an interview with me on the themes and topics of the book!

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Lab Work in Linköping

May 26, 2015 2 comments

On Thursday, I am one of the participants in a symposium on labs in the humanities and media archaeology.  In Linköping (Sweden), the event organised by Jesper Olsson addresses the question of institutional forms of media and humanities work.

CFiBUhGWEAAlOxkIt is an exciting event for many reasons, andit is a good platform for some of the ideas me and Lori Emerson together with Darren Wershler have been thinking about relating to the genealogies and current institutional forms of the lab in digital humanities but also in those practices (such as Media Archaeology) that border digital humanities and might help to extend its reach to address the material cultural reality.

Indeed, in a recent interview I conducted with Wolfgang Ernst, he underlined that we also need to address the “humanities of the digital” that could then offer also a longer historical trajectory to the question of technology in humanities theory and pedagogy. This would also include a reflection on the specific institutional sites for such scholarly activity. It also continues my interest in “techniques and practices of theory”.

A follow-up to the Linköping discussions is organised as part of the Media Art Histories 2015 event in Montreal in November where we have a panel on this topic of labs across digital humanities, media archaeology and more.

The Kittler e-special is out

Kittler_e_coverTheory, Culture & Society asked me and Paul Feigelfeld to edit an e-special issue on the work of the German media theorist Friedrich Kittler. We are happy to announce that the issue has now been published and it is the first in a series of e-specials the journal is commissioning. Our issue includes a selection of Kittler’s own articles and texts by other scholars about his work. The articles are open access for a selected period. The issue includes also a new Kittler-translation “Authorship and Love” which is introduced by professor Geoffrey Winthrop-Young.

We also wrote the introduction to the issue: Kittler’s Media Exorcism (PDF).

Recently also this book Media After Kittler got published, and there is a French translation of Kittler’s software writings forthcoming later this year.

ScanLab – 3D Scanning and Materialities of Design

Here’s a nice video of ScanLab-group with Benjamin Bratton and Jordan Crandall (UCSD) talking about design, sensors and sensing. In the discussion, the issues of design are connected to the wider theme of the mechanical image and how visual culture is changing in the age of new visual techniques, such as (3D) scanning. The panel is part of an exhibition also we at WSA collaborated in curating, on Autonomous Sensing!

Geology of Media Launch Events

April 28, 2015 1 comment

unnamedThere will be some launch events/book talks for A Geology of Media especially in the latter part of May. Here’s a brief schedule of different locations, often in connection with an event, sometimes as stand-alone book launch! Below you will find also a Press Release that our University Media Team put together.

13/5, Wednesday, at Winchester School of Art, in the gallery starting at 17.00. Wine will be served, and Professor Sean Cubitt (Goldsmiths, London) will open the event.

15/5, Friday, at Central St. Martins, at 17.30. The book launch is moderated by Dr Betti Marenko and it follows a day-seminar on Technology as Magic. After the short conversation in the Lecture Theater, we will continue to the Platform Bar at CSM. Some drinks are sponsored by University of Minnesota Press!

20/5, Vienna, Austria, at the Natural History Museum at 18.30 in connection with the Rare Earth-exhibition at Thyssen-Bornemisza-gallery. The day is in combination with a tour of the museum and the gallery on the theme of minerals.

21/5, Utrecht, Netherlands at BAK (around 17.30).The book launch follows the day seminar on Anthropocene/Capitalocene (Posthuman Glossary) at BAK.

30/5, Stockholm, Sweden, at the Index-gallery 16.00, an evening of talks with Lori Emerson and the launch of the book.

Other events later this year in Brazil, the US, Canada and possibly some other countries. Details tba and I will update the list.

Press Release

Media history – more geology than technology?

The geological history of media comes under close scrutiny in a new book by Professor Jussi Parikka who contends that media history may be millions, even billions, of years old – especially when you revisit the full story of the raw materials that are used to make the countless media devices we’ve ‘consumed’ for centuries and increasingly rely upon in the 21st century.

In his new book ‘A Geology of Media’ (University of Minnesota Press, ISBN 978-0-8166-9552-2) Parikka, Professor in Technological Culture and Aesthetics at Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton, argues that to adequately understand contemporary media culture by thinking about media and its past in geological terms, focusing on Earth’s history, geological formations, minerals, and energy. The book is the third part in the media ecology-trilogy following Digital Contagions (2007) and Insect Media (2010), which won the Anne Friedberg Award for Innovative Scholarship in 2012.

Exploring the resource depletion and material resourcing required for us to use our devices to live networked lives in today’s society, Professor Parikka grounds his analysis in Siegfried Zielinski’s widely discussed notion of deep time—but takes it back millennia. He argues that these raw materials are the physical origins of media technology and by understanding their transformation, eventually from useful tool to e-waste, can aid us all in having a better understanding of the implications that media has for society.

Not only are rare earth minerals and many other materials needed to make our digital media machines work, he observes, but used and obsolete media technologies return to the earth as residue of digital culture, contributing to growing layers of toxic waste for future archaeologists to ponder. Professor Parikka shows that these materials must be considered alongside the often dangerous and exploitative labor processes that refine them into the devices underlying our seemingly virtual or immaterial practices.

“One could call this approach a media history of matter: the different components, minerals, metals, chemicals and other things involved in media are considered essential to media history and archaeology,” says Professor Parikka. “Geology and various related disciplines and fields of knowledge such as chemistry and, indeed, ecology, frame the modern world and give it one possible scientific structure.

“Such disciplines are strongly implied in the emergence of the technological and scientific culture which feeds to our media cultural practice,” he continues. “It is in this sense that I am interested in finding strains of media materialism outside the usual definition of media; instead of radio, I prefer to think what components and materials enable such technologies; instead of networking, we need to remember the importance of copper or optical fiber for such forms of communication; instead of a blunt discussion of ‘the digital’, we need to pick it apart and remember that also mineral durations are essential to it being such a crucial feature that penetrates our academic, social and economic interests.”

“A Geology of Media demonstrates that the environment does not just surround our media cultural world—it runs through it, enables it, and hosts it in an era of unprecedented climate change,” Professor Parikka concludes. “While looking backward to Earth’s distant past, it also looks forward to a more expansive media theory—and, implicitly, media activism.”

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