Garnet Hertz, 23 June 2010
The title of my dissertation is "Methodologies of Reuse in the Media Arts: Exploring Black Boxes, Tactics and Archaeologies" and was completed in November 2009.
This research investigates what motivating factors drive contemporary media artists to use obsolete information technology hardware and electronics in their work, and articulates what they accomplish by reusing and repurposing outdated communication devices. Three themes of reuse are proposed and explored through the examination of works by artists Reed Ghazala, Natalie Jeremijenko, Tom Jennings and Paul DeMarinis and through conversations with theorists Geert Lovink and Jussi Parikka. Reuse is explored as a method of uncovering the concealed mechanisms of consumer electronics, tactical reuse is developed as a tactical method for political change, and archaeological reuse is expatiated as a historiographical intervention.
To begin, foundational concepts related to the cultural significance of obsolete media technologies are established. In Chapter One, titled "Pervasive Obsolescence: Rethinking Ubiquitous Computing's Dominant Vision" the topic of obsolescence is brought forward within the framework of the computer science fields of informatics and ubiquitous computing. In Chapter Two, "Establishing Media Archaeology: Current Practices, Methodologies and Foucault," the emerging field of media archaeology is presented as a useful methodological framework to approach the study of obsolete media technologies.
In the second section of this text, three themes will be introduced with specific examples to help describe key differences in how media artists engage with contemporary reuse. In Chapter Three, "Exploring the Black Box: Reed Ghazala's Incantor" the first theme is presented: reuse motivated by an uncovering the "blackboxed" technological layer within devices that are usually concealed. Chapter Four, "Tactical Reuse: Natalie Jeremijenko's Feral Robotic Dogs" explores the second theme of reuse motivated by bringing forward social change through the challenging of civil institutions. The third and final theme is presented in Chapter Five: "Archaeological Reuse: Tom Jennings' Story Teller and Paul DeMarinis' Gray Matter" which focuses on the recycling of older materials for the purposes of rewiring history and intervening in historiography.
These categories and examples are not intended as an exhaustive categorization of how obsolete information technologies are repurposed, but are constructed to help bring articulation, understanding and discussion to a diverse, dynamic and growing field of practice.
In the third section of this text two conversations are presented that explore the topics of media obsolescence, reuse and media archaeology. In Chapter Six, media theorist and activist Geert Lovink is interviewed in "New Media Arts in Crisis" and in Chapter Seven a dialogue with Finnish media scholar Jussi Parikka entitled "Archaeologies of Media Art" is included.
This dissertation is intended to bring clarity to the topics of reuse and obsolete media in the media arts, and to articulate a language around a new body of practices in contemporary artistic production. Focusing on this topic builds a link between media arts and the phenomena of adaptation and re-invention, essential parts of human culture, technology, tool-building and artwork.
Repurposing, reusing and modifying objects is a natural part of the evolution of human culture, with social practices evolving in collaboration with continually reinvented objects around us. As Marshall McLuhan stated in 1964, "we shape our tools, and thereafter our tools shape us."
- Institution: University of California, Irvine
- Program: Visual Studies Program (Media Theory & History)
- Degree: PhD
- Dissertation co-advisors: Mark Poster & Peter Krapp. Dissertation committee members: Cecile Whiting & Robert Nideffer.
- Completion / Filing of Dissertation: November 11th 2009. Ph.D. completed in 4 years and 52 days, which at time of filing was fastest in history of academic program.
- Advancement to Candidacy (ABD): June 14th 2007.
- Qualifying exam committee: Mark Poster (History, Chair: Film & Media Studies), Peter Krapp (Film & Media Studies), and Ed Dimendberg (Film & Media Studies). Bill Tomlinson (Informatics) and Cecile Whiting (Art History) sat as external members.
- Written exam dates (complete): May 21 2007 (Krapp), May 23rd 2007 (Dimendberg), May 25th 207 (Poster)
- Oral exam completed June 5th 2007 (2-4pm, HIB 136)
- Second language: French, translation exam completed Spring 2007.
- Funding: UCI Visual Studies Program, CalIT2
- Coursework completed Spring 2006, and course listings and notes can be seen at http://www.conceptlab.com/uci/
- See http://www.conceptlab.com for a listing of other ongoing activities.
- CV: http://www.conceptlab.com/garnethertz/
- Academic Research and Teaching Documents: http://www.conceptlab.com/teaching/
PhD Reading Lists
Note: Some titles below have transcribed citations and notes that have been posted at http://www.conceptlab.com/notes/
Peter Krapp: Media Technology in Transition
- Akrich & Latour, "A Summary of a Convenient Vocabulary for the Semiotics of Human and Nonhuman Assemblies"
- Akrich, "The De-Scription of Technical Objects"
- Bijker & Law (eds), "Shaping Technology / Building Society - Studies in Sociotechnical Change" (Section intros: "Do Technologies Have Trajectories?", "Strategies, Resources, and the Shaping of Technology", "What's Next? Technology, Theory and Method", and "Postsript: Technology, Stability, and Social Theory")
- Bijker, "The Social Construction of Fluorescent Lighting, or How an Artifact Was Invented in Its Diffusion Stage"
- Carlson, "Artifacts and Frames of Meaning: Thomas A. Edison, His Managers, and the Cultural Construction of Motion Pictures"
- Chapman, "Comparitive Media History"
- Chun, "Did Somebody Say New Media?"
- Duguid, "Material Matters: Aspects of the past and futurology of the book", from The Future of the Book (Duguid, ed.) - http://www2.parc.com/ops/members/brown/papers/mm.html
- Feenberg, "Transforming Technology: A Critical Theory Revisited"
- Foulger, "The Processes of Media Invention and Evolution." http://evolutionarymedia.com/papers/hammerAsMedium.htm
- Galloway, "Protocol: How Control Exists After Decentralization"
- Gartner Inc., "Hype Cycle Special Report for 2005"
- Gartner Inc., "Hype Cycles for the Media Industry, 2005"
- Gartner Inc., "Understanding Gartner's Hype Cycles, 2005"
- Gitelman, "Always Already New: Media, History, and the Data of Culture"
- Gitelman, "New Media, 1740-1915 (Media in Transition)"
- Gitelman, "Scripts, Grooves, and Writing Machines"
- Jenkins (2006), "Convergence Culture"
- Kuhn, "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions"
- Latour, "Where Are the Missing Masses? The Sociology of a Few Mundane Artifacts"
- Law & Callon, "The Life and Death of an Aircraft: A Network Analysis of Technical Change"
- Liu (2004), "The Laws of Cool: Knowledge Work and the Culture of Information"
- Lovink, "My First Recession: Critical Internet Culture in Transition"
- Moore, G. E. (1965), "Cramming More Components Onto Integrated Circuits" - http://download.intel.com/research/silicon/moorespaper.pdf (also see http://www.intel.com/technology/mooreslaw/index.htm)
- Rogers, "Diffusion of Innovations, 5th Edition"
- Smith & Marx (eds.), "Does Technology Drive History? The Dilemma of Technological Determinism"
- Sterling (2005), "Shaping Things (Mediaworks Pamphlets)"
- Thorburn & Jenkins (eds.) "Rethinking Media Change. The Aesthetics of Transition"
- Winston, (1998). "Media Technology and Society : A History : From the Telegraph to the Internet." Routledge.
- Bijker, "Of Bicycles, Bakelites, and Bulbs: Toward a Theory of Sociotechnical Change (Inside Technology)"
- Basalla, "The Evolution of Technology"
- Heidegger, "The Question Concerning Technology"
- Hughes, "The Evolution of Large Technological Systems", in The Social Construction of Technological Systems: New Directions in the Sociology and History of Technology, Wiebe Bijker (ed)
- MacKenzie, "Knowing Machines: Essays on Technical Change (Inside Technology)"
- Rajagopal, "Imperceptible Perceptions in Our Technological Modernity"
- Chapman (2005), "Comparative Media History: An Introduction: 1789 to the Present"
- Gartner Inc., "Hype Cycles for Collaboration and Communication, 2005"
- Gartner Inc., "Hype Cycles for Networking and Communications, 2005"
- Gartner Inc., "Hype Cycles for PC Technologies, 2005"
- Gartner Inc., "Hype Cycles for Telecommunications, 2005"
Ed Dimendberg: Media History - Cinematic & Moving Image Technologies
- Abel (ed), "Encyclopedia of Early Cinema"
- Braun, "Picturing Time: The Work of Etienne-Jules Marey (1830-1904)"
- Burch, "Life to Those Shadows"
- Ceram, "Archaeology of the Cinema"
- Crary, "Modernity and the Problem of the Observer"
- Crary, "Techniques of the Observer. On Vision and Modernity in the Nineteenth Century"
- Elsaesser, "Early Cinema: Space, Frame, Narrative"
- "Film Before Film" (VHS Video, 1986), Kino Video
- Gunning, "An Aesthetic of Astonishment: Early Film and the [In]Credulous
Spectator" in Viewing Positions, ed. Linda Williams (New Brunswick:
- Gunning, "The Cinema of Attractions: Early Film, Its Spectator and the
Avant-Garde"; in Early Film ed. Thomas Elsaesser and Adam Barker
(British Film Institute, 1989)
- Gunning, "Vienna Avant-Garde and Early Cinema",
- Gunning, "Phantasmagoria: The Technology of the Moving Picture
as a Model for Human Perception",
- Gunning, "Illusions Past and Future: The Phantasmagoria and its
- Gunning, "From Kaleidoscope to the X-Ray: Urban Spectatorship, Poe, Benjamin
and Traffic is Souls (1913)" in Wide Angle, Vol. 19, no. 4, pp. 25-63.
- Musser, "The Emergence of Cinema: The American Screen to 1907 (History of the American Cinema, Vol 1)"
- Stafford, "Devices of Wonder: From the World in a Box to Images on a Screen" (Getty Trust Publications: Getty Research Institute for the History of Art and the Humanities)
- Burch, "To the Distant Observer: Form and Meaning in Japanese Cinema"
- Ernst, "Dis/continuities"
- Hankins & Silverman, "Instruments and the Imagination". Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1995
- Huhtamo, "From Kaleidoscopomaniac to Cybernerd"
- Huhtamo, "Time Travelling in the Gallery"
- Marvin, "When Old Technologies were New. Thinking About Electric Communication in the late Nineteenth Century". New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988.
- Manovich, "The Language of New Media" (MIT 2002)
- Manovich, "An Archaeology of a Computer Screen"
- Zielinski, "An Anarchaeology of Hearing and Seeing Through Technical Means"
- Zielinski, "Media Archaeology"
- Zielinski, "Deep Time of the Media"
- Zielinski, "Audiovisions. Cinema and Television as Entr'Actes in History". Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam Press, 1999.
Mark Poster: New Media
THEME #1: FOUNDATIONS OF NEW MEDIA - April 16th 2007
THEME #2: MCLUHAN & NEW MEDIA - April 23rd 2007
- Borges (1941) The Garden of Forking Paths *
- Bush (1945) As We May Think *
- Turing (1950) Computing Machinery and Intelligence *
- Weiner (1954) Men, Machines, and the World About *
- Sutherland (1963) Sketchpad: A Man-Machine Graphical Communication System *
- Ascott (1964) The Construction of Change *
- Nelson (1974) Computer Lib / Dream Machines *
- Berners-Lee et al. (1994) The World-Wide Web *
THEME #3: POSTER & NEW MEDIA - April 30th 2007
- Innis (1947) Minerva's Owl, in (1951) The Bias of Communication, pp 3-32.
- Innis (1949) The Bias of Communication, in (1951) The Bias of Communication, pp 33-60.
- McLuhan (1964) "Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man".
- McLuhan, "Media and Cultural Change," in Essential McLuhan, pp. 89-96.
- McLuhan & McLuhan (1988) Laws of Media: The New Science.
- Kroker (1984) Technological Humanism: The Processed World of Marshall McLuhan, in (1984) Technology and the Canadian Mind: Innis/McLuhan/Grant, pp 52-86. *
- Kroker (1984) Technological Realism: Harold Innis' Empire of Comunication, in (1984) Technology and the Canadian Mind: Innis/McLuhan/Grant, pp 87-124. *
- Moulthrop (1991) You Say You Want a Revolution? Hypertext and the Laws of Media -
- Bolter & Grusin, "Remediation: Understanding New Media" +*
THEME #4: NEW MEDIA THEORY - May 7th 2007
- Poster (2006), "Information Please"
- Poster (2001), "What's the Matter with the Internet"
- Poster (1995), "The 2nd Media Age"
- Poster (1990), "The Mode of Information"
- Enzensberger (1970) Constituents of a Theory of the Media
- Baudrillard (1972) Requiem for the Media
- Winner (1986) Mythinformation
- Nichols (1986) The Work of Culture in the Age of Cybernetic Systems
- Manovich (2002) The Language of New Media
- Manovich (2003) New Media from Borges to HTML
Garnet Hertz, http://www.conceptlab.com