Thursday, 10 January 2013

An Alternative Deep Time of the Media: A Geologically Tuned Media Ecology

Next week I am participating in this very exciting symposium at the Ruhr-University in Bochum, Germany. Convened by prof. Erich Hörl, it focuses on the General Ecology of Media and Technology -- as a direction discussing media ecology and the ecological paradigm in critical theory and humanities.

You can find the programme and more info here.

My talk focuses on some new ideas I am having concerning "a geology of media"(yes, a nod towards Deleuze and Guattari's Geology of Morals.)

In short, it is a way to tap into the mineral and material constitution of media technologies -- a media history of matter, so to speak that takes into account the long duree of mineralisation (some 500 million years ago) as constituting a layer of hardware and hardwork that characterises our current idealisation of "cognitive" capitalism too. Hence, we are not dealing only with psychopower/-technologies of contemporary capitalist media culture but also with psychogeophysicalpowers. I like the phrase hardware and hardwork, coined in this nice game project i-mines, and that double articulation after so much talk of software, softpower, etc. reminds of the very material logistics/labour that are a necessary support, an affordance, for digital economy.

My abstract:
An Alternative Deep Time of the Media: A Geologically Tuned Media Ecology

This talk picks up on Siegfried Zielinski's notion of a deep time of the media -- not straightforwardly media archaeological, but an anarchaeological call for methodology of deep time research into technical means of hearing and seeing. In Zielinski's vision, which poetically borrows from Jay Gould's paleontological epistemology at least in its vision, the superficiality of media cultural temporality is exposed with antecedents, hidden ideas, false but inspiring paths of earlier experimenters from Empedocles to Athanius Kircher, Johann Wilhelm Ritter to Cesare Lombroso.

As an alternative deep time, I suggest that instead of male heroes, we approach a more geologically tuned deep time - deep in various senses, down to mineral excavation, and picking up some themes of media ecological sort. The talk aims to introduce a more geologically oriented notion of depth of media that is interested in the mineral and raw material basis of technological development, as well as presents some media historical points of how one might adapt to a material perspective in terms of ecological temporality.

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