Here’s another edited collection, though one that I think is a little more important. I’m going to do more in depth notes for the introduction, and then skim through the bulk of the volume and flag some moments that are particularly salient to where MA has come from and where it’s going.

Much of this gets re-stated in Parikka’s book the following year.



  • “imaginary media”: “But the term imaginary media does not refer only to the human imagination as a site for fantastic modes of communication. It can also mean extensions of the notion of ‘media’ in theories of the mind and the brain. Media are in this sense a reservoir for tactics and techniques for manipulating humans and their culture” (25).
  • “topos”: Huhtamo’s method for doing media archaeological work: “discursive ‘engines’ that mediate themes, forms, and fantasies across cultural traditions” (25).


1. Introduction

  • “Media archaeology” is, like the digital humanities, more a loosely bundled set of interests and common methodologies than an established practice (2).
  • The introduction attempts an archaeology of media archaeology: begins with Foucault but also Benjamin, Giedion, McLuhan and others; there are also perhaps roots in the new historicism, but I think this is a bit overplayed (2).
  • What holds media archaeology together” “Discontent with ‘canonized’ narratives of media culture and history may be the clearest common driving force” (3); “Media archaeologists have challenged the rejection of history by modern media culture and theory alike by pointing out hitherto unnoticed continuities and ruptures. As a consequence, the area for media studies has been pushed back by centuries and extended beyond the Western world” (3).
  • McLuhan’s influence on media archaeologists has been manifold. Of utmost importance is his emphasis on temporal connections, translations, and mergers between media, something that inspired Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin to develop their notion of ‘remediation’ and to use it to investigate how features of earlier media forms are subsumed into digital media” (5).
  • “When classifications of media archaeology have been attempted, a binary division has usually been drawn between the socially and culturally oriented Anglo-American studies and the techno-hardware approach of German scholars, who have taken their cue from Friedrich Kittler’s synthesis of Foucault, information theory, media history, and McLuhan’s emphasis on the medium as the message. The German tradition has been claimed to emphasize the role of technology as a primum mobile, which has led to accusations about technological determinism, whereas Anglo-American scholars often assume that technology gets its meanings from preexisting discursive contexts within which it is introduced” (8). Huhtamo and Parikka claim that this division emerges from different readings of Foucault: Anglo-Americans read Foucault as a scholar of power; Germans read him as a scholar of the archive.
  • “Siegfried Zielinski’s version of media archaeology is a practice of resistance, not only against what he perceives as the increasing uniformity of mainstream media culture, but also against media archaeology itself, or rather its assimilation and hardening into the normalcy of contemporary media studies” (10).

3. Kluitenberg

8. Pias


Archive and Impact