Gitelman + Kirschenbaum


  • Models of history
    • Media’s implication in history(5)
      • “media are themselves denizens of the past…[and] are also historical because they are functionally integral to a sense of pastness” (5) – people learn about the past through media representations
      • Media as “reflexive historical subjects” (20-21)
    • Media + “end of history(2-3)
      • media not heading in a “coherent and directional” way “along an inevitable path” (3)
      • Media Archaeology: refusal of teleology and of narrative explanations; reading new against grain of, or into, the past (11)
      • Media & their publics co-evolve (13)
    • Concrete methods of media history: variables to consider:
      • History of tech methods and devices, or of modern ideas of comm, or of habits of perception, or of political choices and structures? Are we looking for separate “ages” with ruptures, or more of an evolution? (1)
      • Form + content
        • inscription is both material and semiotic (6-7)
      • Protocols: social, economic, and material relationships (7)
        • E.g., saying “hello” on the phone
      • Object and human agency (9)
        • Resists an antideterministic position; acknowledges tat media can be very influential; their “material properties do matter” (10)
        • Concern w/ usersand uses
          • Conditions of use (63)
          • Focus on “whole social context w/in which production and consumptionget defined” – not just on producers and consumers (15, 61-63)
            • Blurry distinction btw producer and consumer
            • Early days of media: users help to “produce” the new medium into what it will become
            • define,” rather than “produce” + “consume” (64)
            • Vernacular experiences (20)
            • Echoes of Schlereth
      • Global forces: comm networks, migrations, trade in materials (16-17)
        • Recall mammoth, Jamie Kruse’s work
      • Focus on “particularity” (8)
        • finely grained case studies” (11)


[Sorry, WordPress keeps screwing up my formatting below this point, so you won’t be able to read these notes in a hierarchized outline, which would likely help you to make better sense of them.]

Histories of Inscription and Storage:

  • Echoes of Kittler: nanoscale, everything reduced to 1’s and 0’s
  • Correcting assumptions that new media are ephemeral, unstable, openly modifiable, identical copies of one another (17)
    • Move beyond formalism and poststructuralism that characterizes much writing about electronic texts (17)
  • “question the homogenizing myth of convergence(106)
  • Definitions of materiality (9-10) from Hayles, Drucker
  • Digital objects as physical / logical / conceptual objects (3)
    • Write on paper / write to disk (87)
    • Different types of storage materials: paper cards and tape, cathode ray tubes, quartz crystals, glass filament, acoustic pulses in tubes of mercury, coils of wire, magnetic ringlets, drums, doughnuts, plates (81-82)

  • Forensic vs. formal materiality (9-15)
    • Not just distinction btw hardware & software (13)
    • Forensic: principle of individuation (9-10)
    • Formal: display & appearance, structure, perceptible expression (“multiple behaviors and states of objects…imposed by different software environments” (10-12, 132-133)

    • Qualities of hard drive (88-96)

        • Random access (89)
          • Addressing problem (84)
        • Signal processor w/ electromagnetic field (89-90)
        • Volumetric: 3-D writing space (80, 91)
          • Rabinow: “3-D storage of information, as in a book… Both sides of a disk would be available for data storage” (80)
        • Rationalized: self-representation in form of File Allocation Table (FAT) (93)
        • Motion-dependent: depends on rotation of disk, air cushion (94-5)
        • Planographic: smooth (rather than relief or intaglio [embedded]) (95)
      • Archive, don’t delete (98-101)
        • Gmail, TiVo, ipod (calls attention to storage)
        • MyLifeBits
        • Arcangel’s Data Diaries (103)
        • Visibility of storage (108)




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