Media Ecologies: Materialist Energies in Art and Technoculture (Leonardo Book Series)

The MIT Press
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Polity Press, forthcoming Email: j. Such real but weird materialities that do not necessarily bend to human eyes and ears are not only touchable objects, but also modulations of electrical, magnetic, and light energies, in which also power is nowadays embedded. Picking up inspiration from Sean Cubitt,11 we can approach media cultures through the various materials, components, long networks, and genealogies in which media technologies are being produced. Media history is one big story of experimenting with different materials from glass plates to chemicals, from selenium to coltan, from dilute suphuric acid to shellac silk and gutta percha, to processes such as crystallization, ionization, and so forth.

As such, medianatures is one term that could make sense of this continuum between mediatic apparatuses and their material contexts in the Downloaded by [Jussi Parikka] at 10 February exploitation of nature. In Malfeasance,15 these are the two levels Serres proposes as crucial from an environmental point of view, but he ignores the continuum between the two.

And yet, signs are transmitted as signals, through cables, in hardware, in a mesh of various components from heavy metals to PVC coatings. So, in short: Continua all the way down and up again ; soft to hard, hardware to signs. Parikka being mined by cheap labor in developing countries for use in information technology factories.

After that short use-period of some years, they become part of the materiality of e-waste leaking toxins into nature after river-dumping or incarceration, making them into toxic vapors that attach to the nervous systems of cheap labor in China, India, Ghana, etc. Hence, we are also forced to think the media theoretical contexts of new materialism in a slightly more fluid, novel way than just assuming that specificity concerning the technological and the scientific underpinnings of media culture is automatically material.

Media ecology is a contested term within media studies for it has different meanings in European and North American contexts. The North American definition refers to an interdisciplinary field of media theory and media design involving the study of media environments. In more than five monographs, Rozhdestvensky outlined the systematic changes which take place in society each time new communication media are introduced, and connected these changes to the challenges in politics, philosophy and education.

The European version of media ecology rejects the North American notion that ecology means environment. Ecology in this context is used "because it is one of the most expressive [terms] language currently has to indicate the massive and dynamic interrelation of processes and objects, beings and things, patterns and matter".

These three assumptions can be understood as: media are everywhere all the time; media determine what we know and how we feel about what we know; and media connect us to others. Communication media have penetrated the lives of almost all people on the planet, arranging people into an interconnected human community. Marshall McLuhan defined media as anything requiring use of the human body.

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Under this definition both computers and clothing can be identified as media. When a media is introduced it is adapted to human senses so that it becomes an extension of the individual and its capabilities influence the whole of society, leading to change. In the nineteenth century, the printing press , and the telegraph led to both the modern newspaper and also to journalism as an academic pursuit.

In order to understand the effects of symbolic environment, McLuhan split history into four periods: [27] the tribal age, the literary age, the print age, and the electronic age information age. McLuhan stated that in order to study media effectively one must study not only content but also the whole cultural environment in which media thrives.

Media Ecologies

The effects of media - speech, writing, printing, photograph, radio or television — should be studied within the social and cultural spheres impacted by this technology. McLuhan argued that all media, regardless of content, acts on the senses and reshapes sensory balance, further reshaping the society that created it. This differed from the viewpoints of scholars such as Neil Postman, who argued that society should take a moral view of new media whether good or bad.

The first period in history that McLuhan describes is the Tribal Age, a time of community because the ear is the dominant sense organ. This is also known as an acoustic era because the senses of hearing, touch, taste, and smell were far more strongly developed than the ability to visualize. During this time, hearing was more valuable because it allowed people to be more immediately aware of their surroundings, which was extremely important for hunting. Everyone hears at the same time, making listening to someone in a group a unifying act, deepening the feeling of community.

In this world of surround sound, everything is more immediate, more present, and fosters more passion and spontaneity. During the Tribal Age, hearing was believing. The second age is the Literacy Age, a time of private detachment because the eye is the dominant sense organ; also known as the visual era. Turning sounds into visible objects radically altered the symbolic environment.

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Words were no longer alive and immediate, they were able to read over and over again. Hearing no longer becomes trustworthy; seeing was believing.

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Even though people read the same words, the act of reading is an individual act of singular focus. Tribes didn't need to come together to get information anymore.

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In order to understand the effects of symbolic environment, McLuhan split history into four periods: [27] the tribal age, the literary age, the print age, and the electronic age information age. The Native American Shelf. The idea of the global village helps to conceptualize globalization within society. Homosexuality is not equatable to pedophilia on the grounds that people in a homosexual relationship are consenting adults. All you need to know about puppy training. Rogaway, P. Duke University Press.

This is when the invention of the alphabet came about. During this time, when people learned to read, they became independent thinkers.

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The third stage is the Print Age, when individual products were mass-produced due to the invention of the printing press. It gave the ability to reproduce the same text over and over again. With printing came a new visual stress: the portable book.

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It allowed people to carry books, so they could read in privacy isolated from others. Libraries were created to hold these books and also gave freedom to be alienated from others and from their immediate surroundings.

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Lastly, the Electronic Age, otherwise included under the information age , is an era of instant communication and a return to an environment with simultaneous sounds and touch. It started with a device created by Samuel Morse's invention of the telegraph and led to the telephone, the cell phone, television, internet, DVD, video games, etc.

This ability to communicate instantly returned us to the tradition of sound and touch rather than sight. Being able to be in constant contact with the world becomes a nosy generation where everyone knows everyone's business and everyone's business is everyone else's.

Post-Natural Sound Arts by Mark Peter Wright

This phenomenon is called the global village. Robert K. He worked collaboratively with Marshall McLuhan at the University of Toronto, co-publishing various works and producing his own works, heavily inspired by McLuhan. Logan updates the era of communications, adding two new eras:. In addition, through the study of media ecology, it is argued that through technological advancements in media, many societies have become a " participatory culture ". Tom Valcanis argues that this very easily witnessed by looking at the rise of Apple's iPhone.

Instead of emphasizing the information content, McLuhan highlighted the importance of medium characteristics which can influence and even decide the content.

He proposed that it is the media format that affects and changes on people and society. For example, traditional media is an extension of the human body, while the new media is the extension of the human nervous system.

The emergence of new media will change the equilibrium between human sensual organs and affect human psychology and society. The extension of human senses will change our thoughts and behaviors and the ways we perceive the world. That's why McLuhan believed when a new medium appears, no matter what the concrete content it transmits, the new form of communication brings in itself a force that causes social transformation.

We are accustomed to thinking the message is separate from a medium. McLuhan saw the message and the medium to mean the same thing. The audience is normally focused on the content and overlooks the medium. What we forget is that the content cannot exist outside of the way that it is mediated. McLuhan recognized that the way media work as environments is because we are so immersed in them. Different mediums emphasize different senses and encourage different habits, so engaging in this medium day after day conditions our senses. The form of medium and mode of information determines who will have access, how much information will be distributed, how fast it will be transmitted, how far it will go, and, most importantly, what form it will be displayed.

The key elements to media ecology have been largely attributed to Marshall McLuhan, who coined the statement "the medium is the message". Levinson furthers McLuhan's statement by stating that "the way we communicate, often taken for granted, often determines what we communicate, and therein just about everything else in life and society". The very foundation for this theory is based on a metaphor that provides a model for understanding the new territory, offers a vocabulary, and indicates in which directions to continue exploring.