Excavating the future: taking an 'archaeological' approach to technology

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Cronin, James G. R.
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Maney Publishing
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This is an invited essay review of titles and new editions on media culture published by MIT Press. The titles are Caleb Kelly Cracked Media: The Sound of Malfunction (MIT Press, 2009); Paul Virilio The Aesthetics of Disappearance (MIT Press, 2009); Carrie James Young People, Ethics, and the New Digital Media (MIT Press, 2009). The leitmotif threading the three texts under review is the socio-cultural impact of technological mediation on the processing and dissemination of information. Technologies are tools of transformation both through practical usage and ideological construction. For Caleb Kelly, turntablism mediates the expanded soundscapes so emblematic of the twentieth century's 'sonic turn', for Paul Virilio, hypermodernity is played out via the cinema screen through immersive moments of accelerated vision, while, for Carrie James, the computer screen is the locus for questioning constructions of the networked self. Already in the first decades of the twenty-first century we are on the cusp of a proliferation of enhanced participatory cultures mediated through user generated content -- a digital hive mind. The experience of technology is not neutral it changes the rate and flow of information and in so doing it changes us in many imperceptible ways. Adopting an 'archaeological' lens challenges deterministic approaches to media history and may even assist us in mapping alternative futures.
Media archaeology , Urbanism , Cultural theory
Cronin, James G.R., 2011. Excavating the future: taking an 'archaeological' approach to technology. Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, 36(1), pp.83-89, doi:10.1179/030801811X12941390545807
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