Talking with the scholars on Friday was very interesting, and I felt like I learned a lot about the kinds of things that media archaeologists spend time on in the course of their research. In particular, I thought it was interesting how much time they spent creating (or perhaps recreating) various forms of media in the process of studying them. Operating an old-fashioned printing press sounds fascinating, and I thought recreating the bark painting was a neat project.
I was also impressed by Media Archaeology as a literary-cultural method and especially impressed by how interdisciplinary it was. Both presenters came to the field from very different backgrounds, one having training in history and the other in art. Furthermore, between translating, recreating art, and analyzing historical ramifications, it seemed like the presenters needed to be quite knowledgeable in three different fields, possibly even more.
Given that the presenters study various media, their work naturally fits into our Augmenting Realities program in a number of different ways. Their historical approach to media is of course relevant, especially when considered alongside our study of The Difference Engine, and they also ask a number of ethical questions concerning the future of media (for example, their concerns over the origins and final destinations of minerals used in our iPhones), just as we tended to do when reading Neuromancer. The session made for a nice break from our usual routine, while at the same time giving us some useful insight into a research field relevant to Augmenting Realities.