All posts by Jeffrey Moro

Reflection: Playful Encounters in the Depot

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. Training is theoretical, contextual—the intellectual environments in which we thrive and that we find tactically familiar. Training is also practical, on the level of tools and skills (by which I include theorists as much as soldering irons). And, as good ol’ Foucault reminds us, training individuates us: “it separates, analyses, differentiates, carries its procedures of decomposition to the...

/ June 19, 2017

ghosts ; replicants ; parasites — Excavating the Spectravideo CompuMate

These are the notes I used for my final presentation in the summer Media Archaeology Class, alongside images I used as slides. As such, they’re quite provisional, and once I have some time to hammer them into more coherent thoughts, I’ll update this post accordingly! So this presentation is about articulating and beginning the work of theorizing what I’m provisionally calling “computational parasites.” This is provisional because I don’t particularly like the term myself but I figured it would be good to give it a shorthand so I don’t have to be overvague or verbose about these objects and practices throughout this presentation. As most of you know, I came to this class with a set of research questions about...

/ May 29, 2017

Anxieties of Scale and Infrastructure Aesthetics

While we discussed briefly during Wednesday’s seminar some of the epistemological distinctions between media archaeology and the digital humanities, our work in the afternoon seems to suggest to me a shared methodological concern: the need (real or imagined or both) for dedicated spaces, resources, and labor practices that enable and foster particular kinds of technological and imaginative work. The Residual Media Depot and the Milieux Institute more generally, both as physical space and institutional configurations, are our most immediate and tangible examples of this; Patrik Svensson’s chapter also gives us a glimpse into the HUMLab at Umeå University as yet another. Svensson offers a substantial and considered response to a very straightforward question, though one that he wants us to think...

/ May 24, 2017

Decaying Plastic Play: Flappy Bird’s Hacked Afterlife as Media Archaeological Praxis

On March 28th, 2016, prolific YouTube streamer SethBling posted a video demonstrating how, using only timed button presses and graphical glitches present in the console original, he injected three hundred and thirty-one new bytes into the seminal 1990 Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) platforming game Super Mario World—bytes corresponding to the 2013 viral iPhone game phenomenon Flappy Bird. The hack allows users to play a fully functional port of Flappy Bird within Super Mario World, grafting the former’s computational logic into the latter’s graphics. The choice of game here is striking: while Super Mario World has been re-released across a variety of hardware platforms—to say nothing of Mario’s cultural ubiquity—Flappy Bird remains fascinating for its inaccessibility, both in its frustratingly...

/ May 22, 2017