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More generally, for me media archaeology has developed as a way to think about time and memory. In other words, it isn’t only an empirical excavation of the losers and lost ideas of media history, or even about the medial conditions of existence of culture, but also an intensive investigation into how memory, time and heritage are being contextualised in technical media. So there definitely is the pull to see media archaeology as a set of theories and methods that investigate media history through its alternative roots, forgotten paths, neglected ideas, and machines. It challenges the supposed newness of digital culture. But what is important to note is that media archaeology provides new ideas to further understanding of media cultural temporality: circularity, recurrence, deep times, recursion, and so forth. Furthermore, I see media archaeology as a historical and theoretical enterprise in which excavations of media function as a theoretical force. Media archaeology is decisively non-linear, and rigorously theoretical in its media historical interest in knowledge. In a Benjaminian vein, it abandons historicism if it implies the idea that the past is a given and is out there waiting for us to find it. Instead it believes in the radical assembling of history, and histories in the plural, but such that it is not merely a subset of cultural-historical writing. Media archaeology needs to insist on the material nature of its enterprise – that media are always articulated in material, also in non-narrative frameworks, be they technical media such as photography, or algorithmic media features such as databases and software networks – and that the work of assembling temporal mediations takes place in an increasingly varied and distributed network of institutions, practices and technological platforms. What media archaeology investigates are also the practical rewirings of time, as happens in artistic and creative practices, through digital and traditional archives, as well as DIY and circuit bending that recycle and remix obsolete technologies as much as they investigate aesthetic and political economic conditions of technical media. Media archaeology takes place in artistic labs, laboratories where hardware and software are hacked and dissected, and in places where one can experiment with concepts and ideas.

Speculative Scenarios — Edited by Annet Dekker  

There is a growing understanding of the use of technological tools for dissemination or mediation in the museum, but artistic experiences th...

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