Filed under journal | Tags: · archive, ephemera, ink, media, paper, social media, text, theatre
“Like some winged insects, ephemera – the plural of the Greek ephemeron – denotes things that last through the day. Maurice Rickards defined it as “the minor transient documents of everyday life” – bus tickets, business cards, bookmarks. Ephemera describes modern mass media forms such as the newspaper and radio broadcasts, as well as contemporary ones such as email and short message service. Ephemera haunts classical aesthetics, whose pretensions to cultural value and endurance can figuratively efface its own materiality and fragility. Ephemera similarly menaces concepts and practices of history, even when it serves as evidence of the past and the stuff of the archive. Indeed, ephemera problematizes memory itself: Wendy Hui Kyong Chun has theorized that digital media create an “enduring ephemeral” of constantly refreshing, regenerating information, introducing as much instability into computer programs as abides in putatively more fallible, degenerative human memory. With this observation, the paradox of ephemera – that it was meant to be disposable and fleeting, but is instead often kept and collected – comes into view as a central ambivalence of modern mediated life.”
With essays by Christina Svendsen, Mollie McFee, Priti Joshi, Kimberly Hall, Dennis Yi Tenen, Susan Zieger, Lindsay Brandon Hunter, and a conversation with Mita Mahato.
Edited by Priti Joshi and Susan Zieger
Publisher Concordia University and Lakehead University, December 2017
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License