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Setting the parameters for inquiry into comparative (TEXTUAL) media

January 31, 2011

Digital Media and Print with particular interest in media archaeology, intellectual history of media and the history of the book.

I am interested in tracing the genealogy, intellectual history and critical developments of textual media from print to digitality, excluding film. I am particularly interested in the history of reading and the technologies of readings. Some of the questions I am interested in asking are:

How is the development of reading connected to technologies of reading? How do patterns in reading change through the different means and patterns of reading employed: how do direct and indirect means of reading alter the reader’s relationship to the text?  How are the different modes of reading being engaged under differential situations? What does it mean to do ‘machine’ reading and would computational analyses and interpretation of raw data be constituted as a form of machine reading?

I am also interested in the development of critical code studies; the history of programming languages, algorithmic design, design pedagogy, and the history of the people involved in the development of code. I am interested in querying the methodology for codework. This brings us to the history of social computing, and how that is tied to the history of the screen and the hermeneutics of the screen. How would a screen look like in augmented or virtual reality? I also am interested in seeing if there is any relevance between critical code studies and speculative computing, or if they are derived from completely different intellectual premises.

How does one define virtuality in relationship to reality: how is affectivity constituted in/through them.  Since the virtual and the real are usually entangled with one another, in the same way that epistemology is entangled with ontology, it is not always possible to separate them from each other.  The virtual and the real exist as forms of assemblages, in the form of strata and as body without organs.  How can one think through vitality/reality as deterritorialized and reterritorialized effects? Would the crossbreed between virtuality and reality produce a monstrous hybrid?

I want to trace the lineage of media theory/archaeology via the Germans (Frankfurt school/Kittler/Zielinski, and also through the French theorists (Derrida, Bergson, Foucault, Deleuze, Guattari, Stiegler) and to see how they converge and diverge. Moreover, the connection between each of these theorists is not continuous and there may be gaps between their different theoretical investments. Among some of the areas I am interested in interrogating are

1.     The relationship between the organic and the mechanic: what are the different areas of territoriality involved here?

2.     How does memory function within the matter that constitutes the corporeality of narrative and the interface? The relationship between memory and facility.

3.     How concepts in media theory can contribute to science studies especially in theorizing about ontology and the interpretive medium for knowledge transmission. I am curious as to the possibility of relating wave-functionality and the correspondence principle to digitality and data-streams/flows in new media.

4.     How relevant is readers-response and audience reception studies in light of the technological/technical developments in today’s media-world? How has a better understanding of the history of reading help change theoretical response to reading? How different is reading the cinema, for instance, from reading video game narratives or a multi-modal book (a multi-modal book can also exist in print form such as scrolls and manuscripts)?

5.     Video /computer games as possible tools for simulating epistemological ideas and concepts. Can there be such a thing as anti-narrative in a game or are all games premised on the idea of the narrative?

6.     Social media as a form of crowd sourcing, and as a possible tool for tracing the ontology of media. Social media as information aggregation and its relationship to modes of reading.

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