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Media Archaeology-As-Such: Occasional Thoughts on (Més-)alliances with Archaeologies Proper

Issue: Vol 2 No. 1 (2015)

Journal: Journal of Contemporary Archaeology

Subject Areas: Archaeology

DOI: 10.1558/jca.v2i1.27143


This essay gives an impression of what might be called radical media archaeology. Whereas academic archaeology is progressively extending its range of investigations from antiquity to the industrial age, media archaeology is not primarily about techniques of the past at all but rather an analysis of the present technological condition. Against the excavation metaphor borrowed from classical archaeology, media archaeology rather unfolds techno-mathematical sub-strata of current interface culture. The reference to Michel Foucault's Archaeology of Knowledge is ambivalent here. Media archaeology shares with its academic twin the focus on temporalities of material culture but is less about "deep" historical time; with its focus on signal analysis in operative media it rather investigates ahistoric and time-critical processuality in technological devices. This brings media archaeology close to prehistoric (rather than "classical") archaeology in its literal sense.

Author: Wolfgang Ernst

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