Category: Working Notes

A collection of old computer technology on a set of metal shelves

(Un)Controlled Vocabulary

This post was written by Alex Custodio and Michael Iantorno as part of their ongoing research work at the Residual Media Depot. In October 2020, in the midst of the ongoing pandemic, we decided to begin our long-anticipated cataloguing of the Residual Media Depot. The Depot’s status as an active research collection makes it challenging to document, since the collection seldom remains static for more than a few days at a time. However, with no possibility of taking our workshops to classrooms or even other universities, the lockdown has provided a morbidly ideal time to embark on our efforts to catalog the sheer amount of objects we have. Our initial foray into cataloguing has focused on home videogame consoles, primarily...

/ March 12, 2021

Main Research Questions

– What are the discourse networks that authorize console-modding practices? Who can participate in them and who is excluded? What counts as valuable knowledge and what is dismissed? – What operations and techniques circulate in these networks? To what extent are these techniques borrowed from other discourse networks? How are borrowed techniques adapted? Are any of the relevant techniques sui generis? Which techniques persist and which fade away? Have any circulated outward to other networks? – What kinds of official and unofficial documents do these networks produce? Where do they reside? How public are they? – What sorts of institutions recognize and enable these techniques and practices, and what sorts fail to comprehend their existence? – What sorts of subjects,...

/ June 30, 2020

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.

/ June 19, 2017

Reflections on the experience of building an arcade table

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.

/ June 7, 2017

Notes from the Media Archaeology Summer Class: working with Action Max and Pong Sports IV

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.

/ June 5, 2017

Re-versioning as a cultural technique of nostalgia? – Final Presentation

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?

/ June 2, 2017

Press START: Reflections on the Making of the Arcade Table

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.

/ June 1, 2017

Action Max: Notes on a Deictic Dispositif

The slogan for the Action Max is not so much a sales pitch as a finger pointed at the console’s own pitfall. It wants to be so real that it can’t be a game.

/ June 1, 2017

ghosts ; replicants ; parasites — Excavating the Spectravideo CompuMate

The CompuMate is starting to challenge some of my thinking, or at least provide some new territories to expand beyond a dialectic of living and dead that ghosts seems to traffic in. Particularly, as I’ve repeatedly suggested, I’m getting interested in the figure of the parasite.

/ May 29, 2017

Flooding notes_ Winthrop-Young

I’m going to present Winthrop-Young’s paper, and in particular, I will address the three different meanings that the notion of cultural techniques has received during its history. The probe I’ll use to highlight this evolution of the uses of the concept of cultural techniques will be an agricultural case. This way I will play during the presentation with an idea that is present in Winthrop-Young’s paper: that although the differences between the stages of this evolution are clear, there are liminal situations that inform us about the richness and the variety of possibilities of the cultural techniques approach. I’ll start then with the first use of the word Kulturtechniken, linked to agriculture. It designated the large-scaled procedures aimed to transform...

/ May 26, 2017