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“A fascinating addition to work carried out in the social sciences.”
—Sean Cubitt, author of The Cinema Effect
"Taken together, this excellent collection of essays by a wide range of scholars and practitioners demonstrates how the emerging field of media archaeology not only excavates the ways in which newer media work to remediate earlier forms and practices but also sketches out how older media help to premediate new ones."
—Richard Grusin, author of Premediation: Affect and Mediality after 9/11
“In Media Archaeology, a constellation of interdisciplinary writers explore society’s relationship with the technological imaginary through history, with fascinating essays on influencing machines, Freud as media theorist, interactive games from the 19th century to the present day, just to name a few. As an artist, my mind is set on fire by discussions of the marvelous inventions that never made it to the mainstream, such as optophonic poetry, Christopher Strachey’s 1952 ‘Love letter generator’ for the Manchester Mark II computer, and the ‘Baby talkie.’”
—Zoe Beloff, artist and editor of The Coney Island Amateur Psychoanalytic Society and Its Circle
"A long-awaited synthesis addressing media archaeology in all of its epistemological complexity. With wide-ranging intellectual breath and creative insight, Huhtamo and Parikka bring together an eminent array of international scholars in film and media studies, literary criticism, and history of science in the spirit of making the discourse of the humanities legible to artist-intellectuals. This foundational volume enables a sophisticated understanding of reproducible audiovisual media culture as apparatus, historical form, and avant-garde space of play."
—Peter J. Bloom, author of French Colonial Documentary: Mythologies of Humanitarianism
"An essential read for everyone interested in the histories of media and art."
—Oliver Grau, author of MediaArtHistories
"Media archaeology is a wonderful new shadow field. If you are willing to step outside the glow of new media, this book's approaches can shift how you experience the objects and experiences that fill the new everyday of contemporary life. No one captures the beauty of studying new media in the shadow of older media implements and practices better than Erkki Huhtamo, the Finnish writer, curator, and scholar of media technology and design famous for his creative work as a preservationist and an interpreter of pre-cinematic technologies of visual display. He has teamed up here with Jussi Parikka, the Finnish scholar who has brought us an insect theory of media, to give us this long-awaited collection of essays in media archaeology. The surprise of the book is that the essays collectively bring forward a range of approaches to considering archaeological practice, giving us new ways to think about our embodied and subjective orientations to technologies and objects through the lens of the material remnants of practice, rather than offering a narrow definition of the field. The collection moves between computational machines and influencing machines, preservation and imagination, offering a range of ways to live the new everyday of media experience through the imaginary of archaeology."
—Lisa Cartwright, co-author of Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture
“Where McLuhan’s Understanding Media ends, Media Archaeology actually begins. Refusing the often futile search for the eternal laws of media, Media Archaeology does something more difficult and rare. It literally brings the history of media alive by drawing into presence the enigmatic, heterogeneous, unruly past of the media—its artifacts, machines, imaginaries, tactics, and games. What results is a fabulous cabinet of (media) memories: the imaginary moving with kinetic frenzy, histories of what happens when media collide in the electronic space of the virtual, and stories about those strange interstitial spaces between analogue and digital.”
—Arthur Kroker, author of The Will to Technology and the Culture of Nihilism
“Rupturing the continuities and established values of traditional media history, this exciting and thought-provoking collection makes a significant contribution to our understanding of media culture, and demonstrates that the presence of the past in present-day media is central to the recognition and re-cognition that media archaeology promotes.”
—John Fullerton, editor of Screen Culture: History and Textuality
“Here, at last, is a collection of essays that are a critical step to comprehending the history of our impulse to see ourselves in the machines we have made. This could be the beginning of 'Archaeology of Intention.'"
—Bernie Lubell, artist
“Huhtamo and Parikka’s expertly curated collection is a kaleidoscopic tour of media archaeology, giving us forceful evidence of that unruly domain’s vitality while preserving its wonderful unpredictability. With this essential volume, countless new paths have been opened up for media and cultural historians."
—Charles R. Acland, author of Screen Traffic
“This brilliant collection of essays provides much needed material and historical grounding for our understanding of new media. At the same time, it animates that ground by recognizing the integral roles that imagination, embodiment, and even productive disturbance play in media historiography. Yet these essays constitute more than a collection of historical case studies; together, they transform the book’s subject into its overall method. Media Archaeology performs media archaeology. Huhtamo and Parikka excavate the intellectual traditions and map the epistemological terrain of media archaeology itself, demonstrating that the field is ripe with possibilities not only for further historical examination, but also for imagining exciting new scholarly and creative futures.”
—Shannon Mattern, The New School
1. Introduction: An Archaeology of Media Archaeology
Erkki Huhtamo and Jussi Parikka
Part I: Engines of/in the Imaginary
2. Dismantling the Fairy Engine: Media Archaeology as Topos Study
3. On the Archaeology of Imaginary Media
4. On the Origins of the Origins of the Influencing Machine
5. Freud and the Technical Media: The Enduring Magic of the Wunderblock
Part II: (Inter)facing Media
6. The “Baby Talkie,” Domestic Media, and the Japanese Modern
7. The Observer’s Dilemma: To Touch or Not to Touch
8. The Game Player’s Duty: The User as the Gestalt of the Ports
9. The Enduring Ephemeral, or The Future Is a Memory
Wendy Hui Kyong Chun
Part III: Between Analogue and Digital
10. Erased Dots and Rotten Dashes, or How to Wire Your Head for a Preservation
11. Media Archaeography: Method and Machine versus History and Narrative of Media
12. Mapping Noise: Techniques and Tactics of Irregularities, Interception, and Disturbance
13. Objects of Our Affection: How Object Orientation Made Computers a Medium
14. Digital Media Archaeology: Interpreting Computational Processes
15. Afterword: Media Archaeology and Re-presencing the Past