Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Kill the darling part 13: less imaginary

Returning to killing text – this passage from my chapter on Imaginary Media!

It illustrates a point concerning imaginary media research not being only about objects and ideas imagined, but how practices of media consumption always draw from a variety of influences, including various discursive contexts. In short, this text paraphrases Erkki Huhtamo’s idea (from his chapter in the Book of Imaginary Media, 2006, edited by Eric Kluitenberg):

Imaginary media objects can be both devices but also practices of using media. Thus, for example “peeping” as a media practice (Huhtamo 2006) can be described in its various links between actual practices and devices, and the wider discursive contexts of desire, sexuality, and embodied activity.
For Huhtamo, peeping travels across such examples and from desktops of early religious worldviews, to later curiosity cabinet devices, it folds as part of 19th century visual culture of stereoscopes and other devices – and attaches to the topic of “armchair travelling” (2006: 111-113)[1] and later to 20th century avant-garde practices such as Oscar Fischinger’s use of Mutoscope and Marcel Duchamps employment of peeping in Hand-made Stereopticon Slide (Hand Stereoscopy, 1918-1919) and Rayon vert (1947). (137).
One of the characteristics of imaginary media as mobilized by Huhtamo’s (2006, cf. 2011) method of topos-analysis is that it is not placed solely on one already existing media apparatus, but is more like a link, a network between a variety of source materials, discourses of “real” and “fiction” and hence a travelling mode of practice/knowledge.

[1] For a literary example from the late 18th century, see Xavier Maistre’s Voyage autour de ma chambre-novel (1794) – “A Journey Around my Room”.

For those of you interested in more imaginary media research (before my chapter comes out), check out Huhtamo’s and Kluitenberg’s chapters in Media Archaeology.

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