Zielinski 2006

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Zielinski, Siegfried. Deep Time of the Media: Toward an Archaeology of Hearing and Seeing by Technical Means. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2006.

Bruce Sterling, cyberpunk, dead media project

"Media are special cases within the history of civilization." (2)

Waste, rubbish -- media historians "might have searched through the heaps of refuse and uncovered some shining jewels from what has been discarded or forgotten. Nothing endures in the culture of technology; however, we do have the ability to influence how long ideas and concepts retain their radiance and luminescence." (2)

In histories of technology, "one thing above all others is refined and expanded: the idea of inexorable, quasi-natural, technical progress" (2-3)

"if we are to understand history as being present not only when it demands to be accepted as a responsibility and a heavy burden, but also when there is value in allowing it to develop as a special attraction, we will need a different perspective from that which is only able to seek the old in the new. In the latter perspective, history is the promise of continuity and a celebration of the continual march of progress in the name of humankind. Everything has always been around, only in a less elaborate form; one needs only to look. Past centuries were there only to polish and perfect the great archaic ideas. This view is primitive pedagogy that is boring and saps the energy to work for the changes that are so desperately needed. Now, if we deliberately alter the emphasis, turn it around, and experiment, the result is worthwhile: do not seek the old in the new, but find something new in the old." (3)

Geology, biology, evolution -- not a tree but a web that is differently diverse at different points (Gould)

"Technology is not human; in a specific sense, it is deeply inhuman. The best, fully functioning technology can be reated only in opposition to the traditional image of what is human and living, seldom as its extension or expansion." (6)

"The history of the media is not the product of a predictable and necessary advance from primitive to complex apparatus. The current state of the art does not necessarily represent the best possible state, in the sense of Gould's excellence. Media are spaces of action for constructed attempts to connect what is separated." (7)

Making cuts into history to see what has been lost: "Instead of looking for obligatory trends, master media, or imperative vanishing points, one should be able to discover individual variations. Possibly, one will discover fractures or turning points in historical master plans that provide useful ideas for navigting the labyrinth of what is currently firmly established. In the longer term, the body of individual anarchaeological studies should form a variantology of the media." (7)

"My quest in researching the deep time of media constellations is not a contemplative retrospective nor an invitation to cultural pessimists to indulge in nostalgia. On the contrary, we shall encounter past situations where things and situations were still in a state of flux, where the options for development in various directions were still wide open, where the future was conceivable as holding multifarious possibilities of technical and cultural solutions for constructing media worlds." (10)

"When the spaces for action become ever smaller for all that is unwieldy or does not entirely fit in, that is unfamiliar and foreign, then we must attempt to confront the possible with its own impossibilities, thus rendering it more inspiring and worth experiencing. We must also seek a reversal with respect to time, which -- in an era characterized by high-speed technologies and their permeation of teaching, research, and design -- has arguably become the most prized commodity of all. These excursions into the deep time of the media do not make any attempt to expand the present nor do they contain any plea for slowing the pace. The goal is to uncover dynamic moments in the media-archaeological record that abound and revel in heterogeneity and, in this way, to enter into a relationship of tension with various present-day moments, relativize them, and render them more decisive."