About media archeology, (in)security, data analysis and anomalies. In dialogue with Jussi Parikka

Rareș Iordache: We live in a information or data culture…I like to say information-data culture, which makes possible our transformation: we are now analysts, data analysts. Can this be placed in connexion with your media archeology? I saw your recent conference in Istanbul, where you talk about the visibility and memory of such events as those from Gezy park. This is about how we became media archivists and analysts…intelligence analyst in a culture of tehnological remediation

Jussi Parikka: Software has reached a new visibility with some important public cases of past years: Wikileaks for instance has raised issues of information leaks on the public agenda, similarly as the recent Snowden revelations have demonstrated the extent to which data is a gateway to the private sphere. Data leaks and our knowledge about our own data dependency is now even more underlined. People on a much wider level, not just specialists, are realizing the specific nature of software systems, from email to online platforms. And it is not a nice picture we are discovering, rather different from the imaginary dreams we were sold in cyber culture commercials.

Media archaeology has been a methodology to investigate new media cultures through the old. It has deliberately wanted to challenge the emphasis on the digital and the new. Instead media archaeology has been keener to look at the old as the more fresh, new way of understanding media technologies. Indeed, in the quirky pasts, one finds often more innovative case studies than in the bland corporate discourses that characterize majority of our digital culture of marketing and surveillance.

Media archaeology can however also be seen as an attitude to dig under the surface: to develop a hacktivist interest in how systems work, and how we can descend deeper into the layers of the machine in order to understand how technology conditions behavior. It is in this sense we can cultivate an archaeological attitude to the conditions of knowledge inside the machines too. In social media and “big data” culture, it means excavations to the software and hardware realms in which data about ourselves circulates. And why stop in software and hardware? Why not continue by discussing and analyzing the environmental effects and ecological burden media technologies of networks pose? For instance through cloud computing and its energy demands!

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