Eric Kluitenberg, “The Network of Waves: Living and Acting in a Hybrid Space”

While the extent of the Internet’s impact on the conception of the public sphere remains debatable, traditional boundaries have certainly become blurred between the physical and the virtual as well as the public and the private. But if wireless technology is largely invisible, it largely eludes a politics of representation. Eric Kluitenberg, perhaps best known …

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Jussi Parikka, “Critically Engineered Wireless Politics”

Media studies often assumes a naive attitude toward its objects of study, taking concepts like “communication,” “circulation,” and “access” as ideals. In “Critically Engineered Wireless Politics,” Jussi Parikka challenges this common attitude through an engagement with contemporary media theory and an extended discussion of a 2011 exhibition at the Transmediale by the Berlin-based Weise7 group. …

Nicole Starosielski, Braxton Soderman, Cris Cheek, “Network Archaeology”

Despite its fundamental gestures of expansiveness and openness, media archaeology might itself become a restrictive approach, if the "media" under analysis are taken to refer exclusively to artifacts related to the traditionally dominant mass media of film, radio, and television. In their introduction to a special issue of Amodern on "Network Archaeology," Nicole Starosielski, Braxton Soderman, and …

Lisa Parks, “Around the Antenna Tree: The Politics of Infrastructural Visibility”

Visualizations of networks in the form of "flow diagrams" usually place more visual emphasis on the paths in these networks than on their nodes, thereby creating a representation of spatial relations without any sense of what elements the infrastructure is actually composed of. For Lisa Parks, the main consequence of this approach to network infrastructures is …

Peter Schaefer, “Dematerialized Infrastructures: On the Ethereal Origins of Local Area Networks”

Peter Schaefer’s concise take on “Dematerialized Infrastructures” is a little history of the “ether,” from its origins as a concept in nineteenth-century physics to its incorporation into the portmanteaux “Ethernet” ("Ether Network") in the 1970s. In either case, the ether functions as a material metaphor for the immaterial properties of wireless networking, thereby serving as a reminder of …

Mark Wigley, “Network Fever”

In spite of its title, Mark Wigley’s “Network Fever” bears little resemblance to Derrida’s Archive Fever. For Derrida, catching “archive fever” means having “a compulsive, repetitive, and nostalgic desire for the archive, an irrepressible desire to return to the origin, a homesickness, a nostalgia for return to the most archaic place of absolute commencement” (91). …

Friedrich Kittler, “The City is a Medium”

It has become a commonplace in media studies to point out the visual similarities between cities and circuit boards. In "The City is a Medium," Friedrich Kittler highlights a more conceptual link between urban infrastructures and information technologies. According to Kittler, "a network made up of intersecting networks dissects and connects the city—in particular its fringes, peripheries, and …

Brian Holmes, “Drifting through the Grid: Psychogeography and Imperial Infrastructure”

Brian Holmes's "Drifting Through the Grid" is a manifesto for disobedience and spontaneity in an age of digital predictability. Updating the Situationist concept of "psychogeography," Holmes adapts the idea of "drifting" around urban environments to "drifting through the grid" of contemporary media environments. "What would it really take to lose yourself in the abstract spaces …

Poetiken der Infrastruktur

I'm very much looking forward to the conference this Saturday on "Poetiken der Infrastruktur. Zum Unterbau medialer Kommunikation," organized by Simon Ganahl, Arndt Niebisch, Martina Süess of the Mediologie@Wien group in cooperation with the Institut für Wissenschaft und Kunst
. In preparation for the event, I'll be posting some of my notes on select sources from network studies, in general, and wireless …