After the Media Archaeology chat on Friday, I began to see more and more of the complex intertwining between media archaeology and everyday life and how technology of the past, present, and future are utilized in this field. Much of the discussion was dedicated to talking about the role of technology in media archaeology and a very interesting point that Drew Burk made was that often obsolete technologies must be revisited to learn about the past. The example he gave was using or rebuilding old machinery (ex. old printing press) in order to produce books, but also analyze the book creation process and how it effects the medium as a whole and its effect in relaying a message.This leads into a major point talked about regarding the process of creating a final product or medium. Media archaeology not only studies and elucidates patterns from final products but also from the production of these items and technologies. My tennis coach would always say “it’s not about the result, it is about the process,” and I think that media archaeologists would agree with that statement. Often society focuses on results and final products and tries to determine what these final products elucidate. But delving into the process of reaching these final products can also be crucial to understanding things like technology, social media, cinema, etc. as a whole. That was the idea that Frederich Kittler meant when he said “we cannot study media before we learn how it works.”
Along with this idea of studying the process of how technology and media came to be, Parikka also spoke about the paradox of technology. He stated that “what we consider progress today, is also the other side of catastrophe.” This can be directly seen with digital gadgets, comprised of precious and often toxic metals and components that may be helping us today but, once they are deemed obsolete, will be left to destroy the earth. I find this point extremely eye-opening because I don’t believe many people realize this fact. As a global population, the zeitgeist seems to point towards creating the newer, faster, thinner, more powerful tool to help ‘make our lives easier.’ But is this technological impetus actually making our lives better? Or is it a temporary ‘high’ that will eventually fade away leaving us crashing into a world ravaged by technological waste?
These were just a few of the ideas I found extremely interesting during our talk. Overall, I believe Parikka is correct in stating that “we all live in an augmented reality,” especially here at Duke, a consortium of scholars and students from all walks of life. Whether this augmented reality expands our knowledge and view of all aspects of life or temporarily shelters us from ‘reality’ is up to the individual to decide. Regardless, I’m not afraid to admit that I currently live in an ‘augmented reality.’
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