By Jussi Parikka
Media background is thousands, even billions, of years outdated. that's the premise of this pioneering and provocative publication, which argues that to thoroughly 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 hardly ever ephemeral, realm of modern day life.
Exploring the source depletion and fabric resourcing required for us to take advantage of our units to reside networked lives, Parikka grounds his research in Siegfried Zielinski’s largely 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minerals and plenty of different fabrics had to make our electronic media machines paintings, he observes, yet used and out of date media applied sciences go back to the earth as residue of electronic tradition, contributing to growing to be layers of poisonous waste for destiny archaeologists to examine. He indicates that those fabrics needs to be thought of along the customarily harmful and exploitative hard work procedures 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, permits it, and hosts it in an period of unparalleled weather swap. whereas taking a look backward to Earth’s far-off previous, it additionally seems ahead to a extra expansive media theory—and, implicitly, media activism—to come.
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Extra info for A Geology of Media
Indd 28 28/01/2015 12:46:16 PM 2 AN ALTERNATIVE DEEP TIME OF THE MEDIA They penetrated to the bowels of earth and dug up wealth, bad cause of all our ills. —OVID, METAMORPHOSES The Submerged Cloud The debates about the Anthropocene and electronic waste underline a necessity to engage with the geophysical stakes of media cultural infrastructure. Much of recent years’ focus has been on the cloud and its promise of disappearance of hardware and the immaterial embeddedness in data. 1 The issue of the cloud extends to software cultures and their disappearance into a branch of the service industries;2 it brandishes the importance of the hardware in new ways but seems to be limited to being the vessel of the service in attractive mobile forms, such as the investment in different sorts of tablets and smartphones evinces; it attracts the circulation of discourses of movement and immateriality, of the imaginary and dreams that fulfill the necessary gaps in the actual user experience when encountering a lack of wireless signal or some other physical disturbance.
In Chakrabarty’s words, it is crucial that we interrogate the horizon of the Anthropocene as having effects on our historical sense of being too. indd 19 28/01/2015 12:46:15 PM 20 Materiality This humanities approach is now also recognizing the importance of biological and geological contributions as part of the social collective. This includes the realization that humans are also biological and geological agents55 but also that, to understand the wider patterns of the social, we need to resist the old-fashioned methodological dualisms haunting disciplinary thinking of the past.
Besides mining operations, such scientific missions as the Kola superdeep borehole in the ex–Soviet Union was such a hyperbolically sounding attempt that stayed true to the Challenger spirit. It held the depth record for a long while, at 12,262 meters. 18 Inside the earth one finds an odd chemical, rocky, and metallic reality, which feeds into metal metaphysics and digital devices. Besides the speculative stance, one can revert back to empirical material too. In short, of direct relevance to our current media technological situation is the reminder that according to year 2008 statistics, media materiality is very metallic: “36 percent of all tin, 25 percent of cobalt, 15 percent of palladium, 15 percent silver, 9 percent of gold, 2 percent of copper, and 1 percent of aluminum”19 go annually to media technologies.