Category: Research

A Feature, not a Bug: Fractals and Video Game Glitches as Nonnarrative Media

In 1975, Benoit Mandelbrot coined the word fractal to describe an iterative curve or geometric shape that can be divided into parts that each possess the same statistical character as the whole (“Stochastic Models” 3825). Taking its etymology from the Latin fractus, meaning broken (“Fractal”), his research sought to concretize a theory of roughness—that is to say, to provide a model for describing the recursive fractioning of the Earth’s coastlines, the structure of plants and leaves, the distribution of galaxies, the biology of blood vessels, and even human recreations such as music, architecture, and the stock market (The Fractal Geometry of Nature). Mandelbrot was not alone in his interests in such patterns: Gottfried Leibniz contemplated the phenomenon of self-similar recursion...

/ May 22, 2017

Finding out new theories by product examples

Over past decades it has become more common for different kinds of products to reappear, be republished, and re-released. These are not remakes I’m discussing about although they can be included. These are, for instance, media products such as movies and TV-series which are first introduced to audience by theatrical release or on TV, and which then reappear on video, dvd, blu-ray and vod formats. The idea of reappearing media products was first introduced by sociologist Fred Davis in 1979. He suggested that media products should first have a short initial life, which would be followed by introduction of new products (planned obsolescence). Then, after some time the products would have their nostalgia-borne half-lives (planned revivification). (Davis) While Davis argued...

/ May 19, 2017

Writing Across Body and Machine: Cybernetic Methodologies in Art History

How can we better read the machine object in its native programming language? This is the essential question posed by my master’s thesis research, which is focused on cybernetic artist Nicolas Schöffer, the origins of cybernetic art history, and its continued relevance in the context of contemporary media art. This research, conducted within the MA Art History program at Concordia, proposes that early developments in cybernetic science and especially its elaboration in art spheres during the 1960s and ‘70s offer a lens with which to write contemporary media art history. With its attention to communicative feedback loops as well as the operational or mechanical looping that occurs in the machine, cybernetics is a vehicle for asking essential questions about the...

/ May 18, 2017

The Gendered Relationship with Cameras: an Archival Research of Visual Advertisements

The material turn in media studies invites us to consider different approaches through which we can analyze the relation between media and gender. Indeed, giving importance to the material, concrete, and tactical aspect of media implies a shift from a focus on media contents, and from the spectators/users’ practices of resisting and negotiating meanings proposed by popular media. On the contrary, a material approach in the study of media and gender implies, first of all, a focus on media technologies, foregrounding how they emerged and came to determine particular uses not only through their specific technical standards, but also through their external materiality that enabled the cultural circulation of the media technologies themselves. A media archaeological approach can take into...

/ May 17, 2017

When We Can’t Play, Wii Emulate: A Critical Investigation into the Politics and Uses of Softmodding a Nintendo Wii

Last February, Nintendo launched Fire Emblem Heroes, a highly anticipated mobile spin-off of the Fire Emblem series for Android and iOS. Framed as a free-to-play “catch-them-all” tactical role playing game, Fire Emblem Heroes features collectible avatars of main and supporting characters from eleven games in the canonical series, strategically offering Nintendo and Intelligent Systems an additional platform not only to advertise their upcoming installment for the 3DS but also to rekindle interest in earlier games.  While intrigued gamers can purchase the most recent 3DS titles online or at any local games store, what happens when such an audience is drawn to a character from a title that ceased to be produced decades ago? What happens when new international fans wish...

/ May 17, 2017

Conveying Light

When loading the data emitted by a cassette player, Sinclair’s Spectrum 8-bit computers displayed an easily recognisable animated pattern of horizontal bars in the home television screens. These loading lines or raster bars became a popular visualization of the loading routine -a process that could take several minutes- and were adopted partially by other platforms also, such as Commodore 64 or Amstrad CPC. It was an animation fitted to the CRT’s scanned images -top to bottom, left to right- that needed therefore a very small amount of computer resources (‘What Are Loading Bars’, 2016). This project proposes to peek into the inner workings of this data-based animation pattern -both in terms of the context of its emergence as its technicities-,...

/ May 17, 2017

Analogue video processing (proposal for afternoon project)

Here follows a short proposal for my afternoon project at the 2017 edition of the Media Archaeology Summer School (in the context of my research). I am a PhD candidate at the Department of Media Studies at Stockholm University. I hold a BA and an MA in Cinema Studies (Stockholm University). My research interests revolve around the relation between aesthetics, media technologies, and the theoretical discourses that emerge at their intersection. I am specifically interested in analogue video as an aesthetic media technology and an archaeological artefact. My PhD project Electronic Labyrinths: Tracking Intersections of Video and Film (2013-2018) draws on media archaeology in general, and the archaeology of imaginary media in particular, in order to study the images and...

/ May 16, 2017

Four times (of) media archaeology (reading reflection/basis for discussion)

Here follows a reading reflection/basis for discussion for the first session of the 2017 Media Archaeology Summer School. It will be introduced by a short presentation where I will summarise the main issues raised in this short text, and (if there is time) show some of the material I am connecting it to (an excerpt from Kung Fury by David Sandberg, 2015). In her anthology chapter “Media Archaeology: Where Film History, Media Art, and New Media (Can) Meet”, Wanda Strauven maps the field of media archaeology as it divides into three branches, which are nevertheless connected by four common interests: the relation between history and theory; the relation between research and art; the archive; and a rethinking of temporalities (64-68). I will...

/ May 16, 2017

Google’s Forgotten Platforms

In our discussion of the Kirschenbaum reading, we looked at the materiality of digital storage; how the material trace is inscribed into an environment “engineered to model ideal conditions of immateriality” (Kirschenbaum 71). In keeping with that analysis of the material infrastructure of communications technology, we discussed the history of network exchanges in relation to Tung-Hui Hu’s A Prehistory of the the cloud. I was reminded of Andrew Blum’s work on the creation of internet exchange points in Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet. Despite the titular “Center”, Blum’s work challenges (in the same vein as Hu) the notion of the internet as an universally connected plane. He traces the origins of modern internet exchanges back to the codification...

/ November 9, 2016

Boxes and the Work of Articulation

On the limits of "hard" media archaeology

/ November 5, 2016