Media Archaeology: Approaches, Applications, and Implications

Media Archaeology: Approaches, Applications, and Implications

Media Archaeology: Approaches, Applications, and Implications

Media Archaeology: Approaches, Applications, and Implications

Synopsis

This book introduces an archaeological approach to the study of media - one that sifts through the evidence to learn how media were written about, used, designed, preserved, and sometimes discarded. Edited by Erkki Huhtamo and Jussi Parikka, with contributions from internationally prominent scholars from Europe, North America, and Japan, the essays help us understand how the media that predate today's interactive, digital forms were in their time contested, adopted and embedded in the everyday. Providing a broad overview of the many historical and theoretical facets of Media Archaeology as an emerging field, the book encourages discussion by presenting a full range of different voices. By revisiting 'old' or even 'dead' media, it provides a richer horizon for understanding 'new' media in their complex and often contradictory roles in contemporary society and culture.

Excerpt

The advent of “new media” (in common parlance, a loose conglomeration of phenomena such as the Internet, digital television, interactive multimedia, virtual reality, mobile communication, and video games), has challenged many scholars to investigate the media culture of late modernity. Research agendas vary from network analysis to software studies; from mappings of the new empire of network economies to analyses of new media as “ways of seeing” (or hearing, reading, and touching). Efforts have been made to pinpoint where the “newness” of social networking, interactive gaming, or data mining lies and to lay the foundations for “philosophies” and “languages” of new media. For some researchers, the main concerns are social or psychological, while for others they are economical and ideological, or motivated by search for technological determinants behind the myriad manifestations of media.

As different as these approaches may be, studies of new media often share a disregard for the past. The challenges posed by contemporary media culture are complex, but the past has been considered to have little to contribute toward their untangling. The new media have been treated as an all-encompassing and “timeless” realm that can be explained from within. However, signs of change have begun to appear with increasing frequency. Numerous studies and collections addressing the media’s past(s) in relation to their present have appeared in recent years. This influx of historically oriented media studies must be greeted with a cheer. Still, one cannot avoid noticing how little attention has often been devoted to defining and discussing methods and approaches. The past has been visited for facts that can be exciting in themselves, or revealing for media culture at large, but the nature of these “facts” has often been taken as a given, and their . . .

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