Parikka, Jussi. "Operative Media Archaeology: Wolfgang Ernst's Materialist Media Diagrammatics." Theory, Culture, Society. 28.5 (September 2011): 52-74.
visual emphasis -- media archaeology emerged from new cinema histories
Ernst offers "a fresh way of looking into the use and remediation of media history as a material monument instead of a historical narrative"
"German or Berlin style of focusing on concrete, techno-mathematical groundings of modern media"
- "the key concepts and problematics in his work revolve around rethinking materiality in its tecno-mathematical contexts and specifically in relation to his archival thinking that now demands a move from a spatial notion of archives to what he calls 'time-criticality' as the constituent feature of technical media"
- "yet ... the implicit potential to develop a political critique of technical media culture is not followed through by Ernst"
media archaeology began as a kind of media genealogy -- writing counter-histories
German vs. Anglo-American
macro-temporal vs. micro-temporal or time-critical
Ernst insists media archaeology is different from writing (narrative) history
- "Ernst explains that it is the machine in which the past gets archived as a monument and that is the true subject of technical media culture, not the spectre of the human subject idealistically looming between the words and as summoned by modes of literary writing."
- "Media is for Ernst a mode of recording that takes on itself such characteristics of agency that usually are reserved for human subjects of history."
media archaeology as media archaeography -- not interested in lost/counter-histories but "in the epistemological conditions of technical media" -- "a kind of epistemological reverse engineering" (qtd) -- moments when media become active "archeologists" of knowledge
- "What Ernst proposes is a media archaeology that ties together such modes of thinking about counting together with algorithmic media as the necessary non-discursive base through which we need to understand 'memory' or history"
- "the archive in the age of online digital collections becomes a 'mathematically defined space' where retrieval -- an essential part of reproduction of cultural discourses and identity -- is not a matter of interpretative, iconological semantics but computing algorithms. The implications for the wider set of cultural institutions and museums are radical: the need to think museums and archives as non-places, and as addresses and hence as modes of management of protocols, software structures and patterns of retrieval which potentially can open up new ways of user-engagement as well, and where data storage cannot be detached from its continuous searchability and distribution -- data storage on the move, so to speak."
media channels as time -- "It is less about the objects of/in those channels than about the operations which introduce the patterns, pulsations and intervals through which information becomes a reality of the channels before becoming a reality for the phenomenological viewers/listeners/readers of media.'
- "This is time-criticality; the computer digital memory is not only a static being of memory but is in need of constant repetition and regeneration also in the technical sense as such early memory technologies as the mercury delay line and the Williams tube demonstrate."
operative diagrammatics: "the level where mathematics is incorporated into our technical media machines"; the diagram as the starting-point for analysis; visualization of information patterns, circuits and relations
not a list of dead media; rather "argues that media archaeological monumentality of the media technologies must be much more than descriptive and indexical" -- lesss a textual interpreter and a historian, more of an engineer
archives of operative media
- "Far from nostalgia, such equipment is important due to the time-preserving and rearticulating nature that forces us to rethink present and past, and their complex intertwining in old media devices."
- "Intriguingly, the archive becomes a central node in this mode of media studies. Media become archives themselves in the way they transmit between the past and the present, and those archives need to be thought of as technical media apparatuses where cultural memory becomes technical memory."
- "the work of the media archaeologist starts by listening to the noise as much as to the message, to the media as a constellation between present-pasts as well as the mediatic wiring between the human and the technological"
- "Outside meaning, there is a regime of non-meaning, too often neglected only as either 'purely technical' or noise, that itself imposes new demands on humanities in the age of technical media."
relation not only to the past but to the present is truly archival, since it's mediated by archive machines
- "media archaeology is processula, and focuses on the time-critical processes which engineer our lives. This means that media archaeology does not tap only into the past but can dedicate itself to openin gup technologies in an artistic/hacker vein."
diagram as "operational dispositif"