Why Media Archeology matters?

“Things matter in terms of their politics and how they participate in the construction of our world.” (Parrika, Jussi. What is Media Archeology. Polity Press, 2012.)

Media devices are a proof of the concept of a discrete spatiotemporal dimension which has shaken the claim that man cannot be in two different places at the same time. Holding discreet interaction levels independent from the conventional notion of time-space and carrying hybridity unlike any other place before; the complexity of euclidian space was presented to the perception of ordinary people by the mediation of electrically charged devices. These devices are the invention of the people interested in the field of physics or electronics. Edison’s experiments in recording audio (tinfoil phonograph) and visual data (kinescope) from the early 20th century might be shown as an example and the milestone although the experiments of creating visuals with music or experiments on moving image much more earlier. Presented to the market in ways that transcended the direct intention of their inventors, these devices captured a key human phenomena: need to satisfy the desire of “the other”s world/story/reality. Media archaeology excavates the media right from its materiality with the question of “what is used and what is at hand”. (Parrika, 2012) This new dimension conveys the hybridity of many realms, being a combination of organic and synthetic materials, it embraces scientific and artistic fields together too. Such that digital space is not only scientifically defined. Like all other spheres; it is also a result of practices and interaction. While chemistry presents synthetic materials, engineering provides practical solution to scientific problems by new transmission protocols. While engineers have been working on different transmission models since the twentieth century, not surprisingly, with a parallel line, in the art scene, there has been a questioning of the traditional forms. In terms of interaction, placement of art, and artists and audience boundaries. It may not be wrong to claim that the early roots of bidirectional artistic interaction in the contemporary world by the means of participation can be found in Brecht theatre. Artists as precursors of the upcoming imagery of the connected world, stressing creativity and freedom as fundamental values, have acted in a marginal way to shake the strict forms. While Beuys was seeking a mean a new society in which “every man is an artist”, Hugo Ball read out the dada manifesto on the stage, to declare the will for a new society and 2 a new art. Influenced art fields from dance to music, it was about the limitless potential. This can be considered as revealing its limitless potential going beyond the defined bodies. At the time Merce Cunningham (1964) as a choreographer believed in the limitless possibility for body movement, and John Cage (1960) for music. The essence of the tendency were the same across many. In 1959, when George Maciounus as one the pioneers of the Fluxus presented the motto art by anyway, anyhow, anyone, fluxus artists, poets, and musicians likewise challenged viewers by presenting the most mundane events brushing teeth, making a salad, and exiting the theater as forms of art. With a well-known example of “Cut Piece”, (1965) Yoko Ono invited the audience to cut a pice of her clothes to encourage them to participate. Later, in the same movement Fluxus, by emphasising impact of computer and internet technologies Nam June Paik introduced the term that will later be the name of the exhibition “Electronic super highway”(1995). With the help of mediation devices, performance, interaction and participation have gone beyond previous experienced limits regarding time and space. As a results, new interactivity set its rules as bidirectional interaction, eliminating the problem of distance in convenient (coded) space, which is electronically and digitally engaged. Within the digital realm new art forms were introduced. Scholars like Roy Ascott, pioneer of telematic art also made the clear connection between the pre and post digital art when claimed that “The merging of cybernetics and art must be understood in the context of ongoing aesthetic experiments with duration, movement, and process, although the roots of this tendency go back further” (Telematic Embrace, 2003) Afterwards, he continued exemplifying historical and conceptual connections with French impressionist tendency of exploration of durational and spatial limits. He added some credible artists from early twenty century who experimented with putting the visual form into actual motion, such as Marcel Duchamp’s Bicycle Wheel (1913) and Precision Optics (1920), Naum Gabo’s Kinetic Construction (1920), and László Moholy-Nagy’s Light-Space Modulator (1923–30). Telematic art example is not totally independent from the Raoul Hausmann’s poster or 3d printed objects, considering the changing understanding by the minimalism of the sculpture from static to temporal and mundane (Rosalind Krauss) When the art object leaves the function of the mere art object and takes place in the ordinary objects, the audience were lead to go beyond the distinctive aura of the art 3 platforms and lead to now and here. According to Hal Foster, Minimalism brings place into a layered situation by the changeability of perception. For him, art is a loop of future’s hunch and reconstructed past. Perhaps, Aleksander Rodçenko’s (1921) divided panels of painting is a similar example of the first multi-channel video art, using several monitors or screens, Wipe Cycle by Ira Schneider and Frank Gillette is. However, devices are not only capable of producing cultural artefacts, they are also capable of recording cultural actions. What is more interesting with the media devices is not their capacity for performance, interaction and participation by people faculty but their capacity to perform the algorithmic applications, their immense ability to store, calculate and interpret the data in different ways. By this features of devices, a performance that is about being present, not like in the way of repeated act in the theatre, lost its pure temporality. The archival function of the media has drastically changed the way of writing history by changing the way of keeping the records. By Ernst Wolfgang’s words who deals with material ontologies of the media and their potential impacts, including how these new materials change the storage of the data, dissemination of knowledge and processing of interaction “the old opponents past and present archive and immediate event become submerged in time shifting, which is the temporal essence of electronic digital operations.” (Ernst, pg 99) Today, with our perception and extended memory, a phone in the middle of the room can be seen relational with the Richard Serra’s sculpture called House of Cards (1969). In a way, claiming that changing archiving techniques means changing memory, freeing the knowledge from the symbolic by audiovisual representation, is proof of going beyond the limited interaction by means of audience, participation and accessibility. At this point, video comes to the front by including the motion and sonic transference from moment to another moment. Video is able to “replicate human thinking in its manner of operation” in Ina Bloom’s words (in her review of Radical Software that was published between 1970 and 1974. )In her emphasis, “One conclusion that may be drawn from the pages of Radical Software is that video challenges not just the standard conception of (representational) images, but, even more pertinently, the representation of the social that informs standard sociology from Durkheim to Bourdieu. The notion of the social link often hinges on the related notion of social or collective memory – usually defined in terms of the very stability of institutions, customs, languages and 4 behavioural patterns that are observed as if from the outside. In contrast, video – a force that, like human memory, records or preserves the past only through a constantly differing “signaletic” present.” Again in another scholar’s words, Andreas Treske, video, especially combining with the network system, frees narration from monopoly. It challenges the strategies, institutions and legislations with its high potential on collective memory. According to Treske, media technologies require us to navigate through the world of meaning into images make our memories. these timeless and time thickened images change the atmosphere, take us to the ground zero feeling. “We are immersing in the video atmospheres,” says Treske. Video as a form of realness gives us a new space under the new light in time. Inevitably video become atmospheric. A collectively produced sphere consist of many shares that mirrors the subjectivity of the user and determines the user’s interaction with society. Video spreads meaningful acts around the network inhabited spaces and environments. Today, Virtual reality combines the ideas of tangible corporeality and intangible representation. By synthetic reality, the intangible representation also becomes kind of sensible. Considering the upcoming technologies about the video (such as VR, 360 degree, tangible media) are exceedingly stimulating as well as extremely fast, updating the existing archives and adding them creative narrations with the new technologies might be worthwhile. Not to loose historical and conceptual connections and caring the authorial view in those narratives is also crucial as much as their novelty.