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.
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.
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...
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...