Before I came to media studies or media archaeology, I trained as a theater artist. The word "train" weighs heavily in that sentence. Over our week-long course, we talked a fair amount about "training": how disciplination emerges from the various ways that scholars are trained into practices, and how we code those various ways with residues of geography, culture, language, and tactics.
During my week at the Residual Media Depot, I participated in a group of two teams, with 2-3 members each, and transformed an IKEA coffee table into an arcade table using after-market arcade parts and a raspberry pi emulator. In this post, I discuss some of the ideas that emerged from the experience.
If media archaeology can be defined as a militant approach to the study of media in its privileging non-canonical history, by taking this class, I have been primarily interested in the meanings that a practical, hands-on, approach on media objects add to the traditional framework of a graduate seminar.
Who or what creates the cultural neo-production process? Is becoming a classic the result of simultaneous acts from both the producer and the users who by their own longing create the process, or is nostalgia something that is created on its own and it then creates the whole process?
Just as it is problematic to focus solely on an object’s narrative history, it is equally problematic to read objects as entirely independent of their cultural contexts and the ways they have been narrativized. The arcade table project ultimately allows us to to think through both aspects of a cultural object simultaneously.