User:ThomasW/Notes What is Media Archaeology

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Parikka, Jussie (2012) What is Media Archaeology, United States of America, Polity Press

A lot of dead-media were actually zombie-media: living dears, that. Found an afterlife in a new contexts, new hands, new screens and machines. P3

is a sourcebook of problems, solutions, and the solutions that became problems p8

It sounds so banal that it is slighlt painful to say it aloud, but one learns through the past – on in the sense of universal truths about how media evolution unfolds but in seeing the media pasts as reservoirs, toolboes for decisions and thought. P 20

note: marshall mcluhamn “review mirror”

The discourse of networks of 1800 functioned without phonographs, gramophones or cinematographers. Only books could proved serial storage of serial data. They had been reproducible since Gutenberg, but they became material for understanding and fantasy when alphabetization had become ingrained. Books had previously been reproducible masses of letters; now they reproduced themselves. The scholarly republican heap of books in Fauts's study become a psychedelic drug for everyone. (Kittle 1900: 117) p71

Traditionally the archive was a place for storage, preservationtion, classification and access (Røssaak 2010b: 11). More concretely, we can see how the archive has been a key node in relaying and storing data of modern culture, and hence acted as a key medium in itself – very much connected to the bureaucratic mode of control alongside registering and manipulating data, primarily in offices and through offices and through office technologies: typewriters, calculators, spreadsheets, carbon copie and, later, databases, software-based applications, etc (Vismannn 2008) p113-114

Modes of accessing and storing data have change from centrally governed and walled space to distributed and software-based The trash that was trash because of being kept outside the walls gives way to new forms of less official archives in social media cultures. On (wo)mans trash in anothers retweet, or a shared link on Facebook – less official , but no less formal, however, as the formats have changed to more technical ones. P114-115

The present is not a stable “now-time”, but a process that in our technical media culture is characterized by processes of software, streaming, encoding and decoding of data (codecs for audiovisual material, for example), and other ways of handling the stream of data as a temporal process. P116

Every material things decays, and this decay is in itself a signal of radical temporality that cannot be regained, despite restoration projects. P 117

In the US in the early 1980s banks, required to retain computer records for audit purposes, were advised that no archival magnetic medium over three years old should be regarded as reliable. Pp118

Two figures are cited for each medium: 'time until obsolete' and 'physical lifetime'. In case of optical disk, 'time until obsolete' is estimated a ten years and 'physical lifetime' at thirty years. So even the most durable of our current 'permanent' media offer storage durations that qualify as ephemeral when measured against the archaeological time scales of your custodial ambitions and there is a fundamental incompatibility between the life- expectancy of magnetic media and the long-term custodian needs of museums. P118

Memory with its constant degeneration, does not equal storage; although artificial memory has historical combined the transitory with the permanent, the passing with the stable, digital media complicated this relationship by making the permanent into an enduring ephemeral, creating unforeseen degenerative links between humans and machines. P 119

instead of assumed permanence, the key characteristic of digital memory is the coupling of degeneration of regeneration. P119-120

' analogue media , to be preserved, must not be played: each replay is a partial erasure and a new recording – an overplay. Digital preservation relies on instead on the frequent rereading erasure and rewriting of the content. p120

Computers themselves represent 'storage and retrieval' systems – for people as users and as an essential part of memory programmability. Apart from sequential access (the old magnetic computer tapes) there is immediate random access (matrix memory). Every computer is already a digital archive. The archiving occurs in the RAM of the familiar computer, not in the emphatic sense, but rather as the precondition for any calculating process taking places at all (Ernst 2009b;90) p 125

Time is then not only the external framework of history through which we can understand media development, but a technical characteristic governing the machines. P 133


The history of obsolete information technology is fruitful ground for unearthing innovative projects that floundered due to a mismatch between technology and socioeconomic contexts. Because social and economic variables continually shift through time, forgotten histories and archaeologies of media provide a wealth of useful ideas for contemporary development. In other words, the history of technological obsolescence is cheap R&D that offers fascinating seeds of development for those willing to dig through it. This lab encourages the study of obsolescence and reuse in media history as a foundation for understanding the dynamics of media change. (http://www.conceptlab.com/deadmedia) p148

“the task of theory today is no longer negative. The job of media theory is to enable: to extract from what is and how things are done ideas concerning what remains undone and new ways of doing it. P161

Waste is the residue of media culture p166

Failure presents the fossils of forgotten dreams, the residue of collapsed utopias, and the program of obsolescence. P 167