I read this book as hardcover on the train going to and from Trevor Paglen’s Sites Unseen exhibition, so I don’t have digital notes quite yet. I’m going to scan this book and re-mark it up later in the summer. This is a book to return to, as much for the things that frustrate as delight me.
There are two threads to this book: the first, an attempt to stage an encounter between “German” media theory and the “civilizational” school of communications theory (i.e., Innis and McLuhan); and the second, an argument about the nature of lists in media theory, drawing principally from cultural techniques (see Siegert and Vismann).
This book’s utility is mostly as an archive of theoretical moves happening in “German” media theory and media materialism broadly construed in 2017. It reads more like a distilled dissertation than anything else: its analysis is overwhelmingly synthetic, although there’s some archival stuff dotted here and there. I want to return to it after having finished the digital studies side of my lists so I can get a better sense of the picture it’s painting. But for now I’ll say that it’s a great portrait of how the rise of logistical media (a term from Peters) as a primary site of analysis (alongside, very briefly, the infrastructural turn—he could have done much more on ecology but I guess that’s my diss) helps understand the condition of present modernity.