By Jussi Parikka
Media historical past is hundreds of thousands, even billions, of years previous. that's the premise of this pioneering and provocative e-book, which argues that to appropriately comprehend modern media tradition we needs to set out from fabric realities that precede media themselves—Earth’s historical past, geological formations, minerals, and effort. And to take action, writes Jussi Parikka, is to confront the profound environmental and social implications of this ubiquitous, yet not often ephemeral, realm of modern day life.
Exploring the source depletion and fabric resourcing required for us to take advantage of our units to stay networked lives, Parikka grounds his research in Siegfried Zielinski’s greatly mentioned concept of deep time—but takes it again millennia. not just are infrequent earth minerals and plenty of different fabrics had to make our electronic media machines paintings, he observes, yet used and out of date media applied sciences go back to the earth as residue of electronic tradition, contributing to becoming layers of poisonous waste for destiny archaeologists to think about. He exhibits that those fabrics needs to be thought of along the usually harmful and exploitative hard work approaches that refine them into the units underlying our possible digital or immaterial practices.
A Geology of Media demonstrates that the surroundings doesn't simply encompass our media cultural world—it runs via it, allows it, and hosts it in an period of extraordinary weather swap. whereas having a look backward to Earth’s far-off earlier, it additionally appears ahead to a extra expansive media theory—and, implicitly, media activism—to come.
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Extra resources for A Geology of Media
It is a gendered zone as well, and Rottenberg’s work is an important guide and an analogy to what I pursue in A Geology of Media: starting the excavations of contemporary materiality of media arts from beneath your feet, from the Underworld. Rottenberg’s video constitutes a recap of something that was expressed in Punch magazine in 1843 in a satirical image “Capital and Labour,” which shows what orchestrates the modern life: the hidden underground machinery of workers (Figure 2). It expresses a link between the imaginary of the underground in the nineteenth century and the more recent versions of aesthetics of labor and the down under.
Now it is a secret enthusiasm for interruptedness. The grounds, ungrounds, and undergrounds of media infrastructures condition what is visible and what is invisible. Under the ground, one finds the subterranean infrastructures of modernity: telecommunications cables as much as sewage systems, metro trains, and electricity. 4 Nineteenth-century urbanization meant a move underground, whereas we seem to live a twenty-first-century move to the heavens. 5 The earth is part of media both as a resource and as transmission.
Zielinski introduces inspirational deep times of apparatuses, ideas, and solutions for mediatic desires that take inventors as the gravity point. He himself admits this approach as being even romantic and focused paradoxically on human heroes. It includes figures such as Empedocles (of four elements fame), Athanasius Kircher, and, for instance, the operatic dreams of Joseph Chudy and his early audiovisual telegraph system from the late eighteenth century (he composed a one-act opera on the topic, The Telegraph or the Tele-Typewriter).