The Matter that Makes Media Matter
I’m looking to organize a panel on the materiality of media, something along the lines of the following:
The affordances of media technologies and everything they enable are predicated on the unique qualities of certain substances that ultimately originate in nature. Not only is this matter fundamental to media, but the selection, extraction, modification, and combination of substances that occurs in the production of media are social, cultural, economic, political, and ecological processes. As media materializes and de-materializes, we can see how they are embedded within the natural environment, how they interact with our biology, how they are coproduced by human and nonhuman natures, and how they are reabsorbed by the natural world once discarded. Furthermore, the materialization and de-materialization processes of media have certain power-geometries, or uneven geographical distributions of the costs and benefits of their creation, maintenance, and disposal — which is to say that how media materializes matters to both humans and nonhumans. So with this panel I hope we can foreground and address some of the socio-material aspects of media.
Some key questions to address might be: What are certain kinds of media made of, and how are they materialized/de-materialized? How are the global supply chains of certain media geographically distributed? What environmental and/or human costs and consequences must be incurred to produce, distribute, sustain, access, store, and discard particular media content and/or technologies? How does attending to the materiality of media illuminate the relationality between nature and society?
If any of this sounds interesting to you, please send an abstract with a few bibliographic sources and a short bio to me, Cole Stratton, at firstname.lastname@example.org by August 1st. Feel free to email with any questions, comments, suggestions, etc.
Hope to see you in Denver!
Last edited Monday, July 15, 2019