Monday, 20 December 2010

Look around the room and become a media archaeological circuit bender

Editing, and especially cutting your text to fit the word count of a journal hurts. It is not easy which of your paragraphs, sentences, words you need to take out, as you are usually in an illusion that the text is such a tight, well-composed system already that any missing piece would make it crush. This is one of the illusions of writing, more generally.

Anyhow, in order to rescue one of my favourite quotes from the article, I shall post it here. This relates to expanding the media archaeological ideas into an art methodology, and especially a media archaeology of contemporary devices, not only past media. This idea takes it seriously and to the word that media archaeology can go *behind* the screen, not just dig out old ideas from the archive. Hence, it entails a rethinking of the archive -- in a Foucauldian manner, the media is the archive, when we understand how it is a condition for perception, sensation, memory, and time more generally.

Here, we twist and bend media archaeology with Bruno Latour's help.

Consider Latour's methodological exercise for ethnography of technological objects as an art methodology for media archaeology: "Look around the room [...] Consider how many black boxes there are in the room. Open the black boxes; examine the assemblies inside. Each of the parts inside the black box is itself a black box full of parts. If any part were to break, how many humans would immediately materialize around each. How far back in time, away in space, should we retrace our steps to follow all those silent entities that contribute peacefully to your reading this chapter at your desk? Return each of these entities to step 1; imagine the time when each was disinterested and going its own way, without being bent, enrolled, enlisted, mobilized, folded in any of the others' plots. From which forest should we take our wood. In which quarry should we let the stones quietly rest."

- Bruno Latour, Pandora's Hope. Essays on the Reality of Science Studies. (Cambridge, MA & London, England: Harvard University Press, 1999), 185.

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