Filed under book | Tags: · archive, art, communication, computing, culture, data, history, information, internet, knowledge, machine, media, media archeology, media studies, media theory, memory, photography, radio, sound, storage, technology, television, temporality, time
In the popular imagination, archives are remote, largely obsolete institutions: either antiquated, inevitably dusty libraries or sinister repositories of personal secrets maintained by police states. Yet the archive is now a ubiquitous feature of digital life. Rather than being deleted, e-mails and other computer files are archived. Media software and cloud storage allow for the instantaneous cataloging and preservation of data, from music, photographs, and videos to personal information gathered by social media sites.
In this digital landscape, the archival-oriented media theories of Wolfgang Ernst are particularly relevant. Digital Memory and the Archive, the first English-language collection of the German media theorist’s work, brings together essays that present Ernst’s controversial materialist approach to media theory and history. His insights are central to the emerging field of media archaeology, which uncovers the role of specific technologies and mechanisms, rather than content, in shaping contemporary culture and society.
Ernst’s interrelated ideas on the archive, machine time and microtemporality, and the new regimes of memory offer a new perspective on both current digital culture and the infrastructure of media historical knowledge. For Ernst, different forms of media systems—from library catalogs to sound recordings—have influenced the content and understanding of the archive and other institutions of memory. At the same time, digital archiving has become a contested site that is highly resistant to curation, thus complicating the creation and preservation of cultural memory and history.
Edited and with an Introduction by Jussi Parikka
Publisher University of Minnesota Press, 2013
Volume 39 of Electronic Mediations
ISBN 0816677670, 9780816677672
Filed under book | Tags: · electricity, engineering, history of technology, image, phonograph, sound, technology, television, video, vision
Betty Bolton recorded in c1932 by engineer John Logie Baird in an early television experiment (GIF via Continuo Docs)
John Logie Baird, Britain’s foremost television pioneer, experimented with video recording onto gramophone discs in the late 1920s. Though unsuccessful at the time, his experiments resulted in several videodiscs, some 25 years before the videotape recorder became practical. These videodiscs – called Phonovision – remained neglected over the decades, considered by experts as unplayable.
In the early 1980s, the author sought out and restored the surviving Phonovision discs. Using computer-based techniques in an investigation reminiscent of an archaeological dig, the author has not only revealed the images on the discs but also uncovered details of how the recordings were made. The Phonovision discs have now become recognised as one of Baird’s most important legacies.
In 1996 and 1998, amateur ‘off-air’ recordings of the BBC’s 30-line Television Service (1932–35) were found, giving us our first view of what viewers were then watching. The author’s restoration overturns established views on mechanically scanned television, providing us today with a true measure of Britain’s heritage of television programme-making before electronic television.
As well as helping to explain a poorly understood and complex period in television’s history, this unique book, heavily illustrated with previously unpublished or rarely-seen historic photographs restored by the author, sheds light on the achievements of Baird, the development of video recording and the definition and invention of television itself.
Publisher Institution of Electrical Engineers, 2000
Volume 27 of History of Technology series
ISBN 0852967950, 9780852967959
Filed under book | Tags: · documentary film, documentary photography, film, genocide, holocaust, human rights, internet, mass media, photography, politics, television, video
Since the beginning of the conflict in 2003, more than 300,000 lives have been lost in Darfur. Players of the video game Darfur Is Dying learn this sobering fact and more as they endeavor to ensure the survival of a virtual refugee camp. The video game not only puts players in the position of a struggling refugee, it shows them how they can take action in the real world.
Creating the Witness examines the role of film and the Internet in creating virtual witnesses to genocide over the past one hundred years. The book asks, how do visual media work to produce witnesses—audiences who are drawn into action? The argument is a detailed critique of the notion that there is a seamless trajectory from observing an atrocity to acting in order to intervene. According to Leshu Torchin, it is not enough to have a camera; images of genocide require an ideological framework to reinforce the messages the images are meant to convey. Torchin presents wide-ranging examples of witnessing and genocide, including the Armenian genocide, the Holocaust (engaging film as witness in the context of the Nuremburg trials), and the international human rights organization WITNESS and its sustained efforts to use video to publicize human rights advocacy and compel action.
From a historical and comparative approach, Torchin’s broad survey of media and the social practices around it investigates the development of popular understandings of genocide to achieve recognition and response—both political and judicial—ultimately calling on viewers to act on behalf of human rights.
Publisher University of Minnesota Press, 2012
Visible Evidence series, Volume 26
ISBN 0816676224, 9780816676224
Filed under thesis | Tags: · 1980s, activism, communism, czechoslovakia, documentary film, ecology, journalism, politics, television, video, video activism
The diploma work of Alice Růžičková entitled The Czech Documentary Film in the 1980s: “Original Videojournal” analyses the origin and history of the Czech underground audiovisual periodical, produced between 1987 and 1989 by a group of Czech dissidents including Olga Havlová, Michal Hýbek, Pavel Kačírek, Jan Kašpar, Andrej Krob, Jan Ruml, Joska Skalník, Andrej Stankovič, and many others.
In the late 1987, an idea was born to not only send the video shots documenting the Czechoslovak dissident activities abroad, but also to produce a programme for the domestic audience. With the financial aid from the Czech exile centers abroad (Foundation of Charter 77, ČSDS – Czechoslovak Documentary Centre), the “Original Videojournal” editorial group acquired a video tape recorder Sony Video-8. This led to the production of video news from the dissident and alternative culture, covering political and ecological issues from the “unofficial” perspective.
The thesis first locates the origin of the journal among diverse groups in Prague, Brno and other places. Further, it contains an analysis of seven regular and two thematic programmes produced before November 1989, followed by nine special volumes made during and shortly after the 1989 revolution.
Attachments include a correspondence between Václav Havel and František Janouch, reflections about the Journal in printed underground zines, related historical texts, bibliography from the Libri Prohibiti database, script of the documentary film Zblízka Originální videojournal (dir. Alice Růžičková, 1998), and photographic documentation.
FAMU (Film and TV School of Academy of Performing Arts), Prague
Supervisor: Marie Šandová
Czech TV programme series about Original Videojournal, 20 episodes, 26 min. each, 2011–2012
Original Videojournal at Monoskop wiki
Kristoffer Gansing: Transversal Media Practices: Media Archaeology, Art and Technological Development (2013)
Filed under thesis | Tags: · art, artistic research, imagina, media archeology, media art, new media, overhead projector, remediation, technology, television, transversality
Transversal Media Practices work across specific situations of technological development, critically examining and redefining the terms of production in different media by bringing heterogeneous histories, institutions, actors and materialities into play with one another. This dissertation is all about trying out and refining the methodologies of such transversal media practices, in the end outlining a conceptual set of tools for further development.
Following the technological hype of the “digital revolution” of the mid-1990s, the field of new media studies gained popularity over a ten year period. This dissertation takes its cue from a historical turn in new media theory, and argues that it is time leave behind strict polarisations between old and new as well as analogue and digital. The study unfolds through two case-studies. The first, “The World’s Last Television Studio”, looks at tv-tv, an art and media-activist project that negotiates the sociocultural and material changes of the “old” and institutionalised mass medium of television. In the second case study, “The Art of the Overhead”, another old medium is engaged: the overhead projector – a quintessential 20th century institutional medium here presented as a device for rethinking the new through the old. The problematic of technological development, i.e. dealing with questions of how (media) technologies develop over time, forms the background to these two case studies. A key issue being how cultural and artistic practices dealing with the interaction of old and new media invite us to conceptualise technological development in new ways.
The emerging field of media archaeology is employed as a methodology in media studies and cultural production, comprising a theoretical and applied analysis of media history, materiality and practice. This transversal approach allows media archaeologists to deal with the relation between the old and the new in a non-linear way as well as to pay attention to the technical materiality of media. It is argued that the transversality of the media-archaeological approach should be seen in contrast to other conceptions of media history and technological development, such as progressivist, mono-medial and evolutionary ones. In this study, the author tries out the potential of media archaeology to reform our conception of media technologies, and eventually formulates a set of concepts for thinking and doing media archaeology as a transversal media practice. These tools are about the imaginary, residual and renewable dimensions of media technologies and are meant to assist in the opening up and intervening into processes of standardised media development.
On a general level the resulting set of tools for transversal media practices builds a bridge between theory and practice: they can be used for further research and cultural analysis where objects of study speak back to analytical concepts. At the same time these are tools for transversality that expand this form of cultural analysis in that the travelling between disciplines here also means a travelling between theory and practice. On a specific level, the tools enable this travel between theory and practice in media- and communication studies, and as such they contribute to the development of new practice-based methodologies in media research.
Doctoral dissertation in Media and Communications Studies
School of Arts and Communication, K3; Faculty of Culture and Society; Malmö University
Dissertation series in New Media, Public Spheres and Forms of Expression
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License
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