Drawing from the observation of a general saturation in the discourses centered around the Anthropocene, Jennifer Gabrys and Kathryn Yusoff argue for radical and ongoing critique of hegemonic practices of knowledge. The conversation addresses questions of materiality in Media Studies and Geology, alternative methodologies, modes of participation, sensation and representation and sketches ways.
Classical media theory was developed in North America shortly after World War II, when the existing media were rigorously kept apart by their technical standardisations and their politically regulated forms of organisation.
Of the 18 books written by the author, poet, literature professor, artist and performer Wayne Koestenbaum so far, several are dedicated to stars and celebrities: Jackie Onassis (Jackie under my Skin. Interpreting an Icon, 1995), Andy Warhol (2001), Harpo Marx (The Anatomy of Harpo Marx, 2012). In some of the texts collected in the volumes Cleavage: Essays on Sex, Stars, and Aesthetics (2000) and My 1980s & Other Essays (2013), he reflects upon his relationship to Lana Turner, Brigitte Bardot, Elizabeth Taylor and Debbie Harry. The blurbs—as paratexts contributing to literary celebrity-building in their own right—for My 1980s were written by Susan Sontag, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick and John Waters: just a hint towards the fact that Koestenbaum himself may be regarded as celebrity who enjoys quite an illustrious fan base. Wayne Koestenbaum lives in New York, where he teaches English literature at the City University (CUNY). The conversation took place via email.
British comedian Eddie Izzard is on the Hammersmith Apollo stage as part of his 1997 piece Glorious. Izzard performs his «love and hate relationship with technology.» To expresses his «techno joy», he contrasts «everyone on film» who is «so swish, so smooth … so expert on that computer» with somebody rendered «in a realistic way.»
For some time, ecological questions have become important in anthropology, as Tim Ingold’s writings show. His ideas on the potential of organic and anorganic materials, their compositions and decompositions, also arouses the interest of media studies – maybe because it questions the exclusiveness of human agency. Making, in Ingold’s conception, is a process in which different materials unfold their potentials. For a mediaecological perspective, materials grasped in this way offer the chance to understand technical media not as passive, invariable tools used for a purpose, but as instable and active assemblages of matter with their own potentials of activity. In our interview, Ingold elaborates upon his position in an ecological anthropology that values the becoming of things and is interested in the circulation of materials and their amalgamation. Furthermore, he argues for a reconciliation of scholarship and craftsmanship – in other words, for a praxeology of thinking and making.
Founded in 2000, the quarterly journal Grey Room has been one of the leading forums for scholarship at the intersection of architecture, art, media and politics. Architecture’s relation to (other) media has also been one of the main research topics of Grey Room’s founding co-editor Reinhold Martin. In his widely acclaimed book The Organizational Complex (2003), Martin analyzes post-war corporate architecture as a technology of organization, reflecting on its entanglement with the discourses of cybernetics and systems theory as well as new communication technologies.
The digital stored-program computer was developed as a technology for automating the large-scale calculation work that since the time of the French Revolution had been performed cooperatively, in an advanced form of division of labor («human computers»). This led to the construction of digital electronic computing, which was little more than large-scale calculators. The development work involved various scientists, for whom the new devices were scientific equipment of essential importance for their own work (cryptology, weapons design), as well as various engineers in a supporting role. Technologically, this turned out to be a dead-end road, of which little survived, apart from batch-computing such as payroll calculation, tax calculation, compiling, and of course certain scientific calculations.
«Egyptian artists, photographers, activists and curators were involved in planning the exhibition, which features shots by foreign and Egyptian news agency photographers – the classical protagonists of journalistic coverage – but also a Twitter wall, video portraits of eyewitnesses, video recordings and photos made by activists and ‘civilian journalists’ published on media portals such as Flickr, and documents collected by artists, having been created as means of expressing opinions, influencing the course of events, preserving memories, commemorating victims and bearing testimony. On the one hand, the exhibition sheds light on the omnipresence of digital observation, the livestream of the revolution, and the new forms of dissemination and alternative news reporting by way of communication platforms and social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Yet the show is also concerned with the circulation of these images, their presence in the urban realm, the role they play on banners, magazine covers, graffiti, etc.», as an advertising text for the exhibition states.