A Geology of Media by Jussi Parikka

By Jussi Parikka

Media background is hundreds of thousands, even billions, of years outdated. that's the premise of this pioneering and provocative publication, which argues that to accurately comprehend modern media tradition we needs to set out from fabric realities that precede media themselves—Earth’s heritage, 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 exploit our units to reside networked lives, Parikka grounds his research in Siegfried Zielinski’s commonly mentioned thought 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minerals and plenty of different fabrics had to make our electronic media machines paintings, he observes, yet used and out of date media applied sciences go back to the earth as residue of electronic tradition, contributing to starting to be layers of poisonous waste for destiny archaeologists to examine. He indicates that those fabrics needs to be thought of along the usually risky and exploitative exertions strategies that refine them into the units underlying our likely digital or immaterial practices.
A Geology of Media demonstrates that the surroundings doesn't simply encompass our media cultural world—it runs via it, permits it, and hosts it in an period of exceptional weather switch. whereas having a look backward to Earth’s far away previous, it additionally appears to be like ahead to a extra expansive media theory—and, implicitly, media activism—to come.

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Indd 16 28/01/2015 12:46:15 PM Materiality 17 Figure 2. “Capital and Labour, Cartoon, No. ” A satirical image from 1843 in Punch (volume 5) underlines the ontology of labor as one of underground: capitalism works in the depths to find an infrastructural level that sustains the pleasant consumerized life above the ground and yet stays invisible. Reprinted with permission of Punch magazine. have brought across the ecological board. The concept, which is not scientifically universally accepted,46 takes aboard the cross-­species and ecological ties human activity has been developing: the concept speaks to the relations with other animals—­for instance, domestication of the dog—­and the various techniques of living, primarily agriculture and fire, which have had massive influence over thousands of years.

It’s like the natural elements of air, water, fire (and cooling), and earth are mobilized as part of the environmental aspects of data. Data mining is not only about the metaphorical big data repositories of social media. In a great summarizing phrase in Andrew Blum’s book Tubes, a Facebook data center manager speaks to this elemental part of data: “This has nothing to do with clouds. ”73 The manager summons the same world as a character in Pynchon’s novel. Cool, cold data are not just a linguistic or visual metaphor, despite that elegant modernism that still lives inside the architectures of data—­at least in the images Google released of its data server factories.

And it offers a way to account for the scientific definition of media in the environmental disciplines: this completely different understanding of media of land, air, and water is, however, a necessary aspect of our more arts and humanities way of understanding media technologies, as this book demonstrates. In more theoretical terms, I already mentioned the work of Delanda as a way of looking at the assemblages of nonhuman kind that work through Deleuze and Guattari’s geological arguments. More recently, Dipesh Chakrabarty has influentially argued for a renewed and shared agenda between natural history and the more human-­centered histories (which we could say include cultural history and media history).

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