Operative Media Archaeology: Wolfgang Ernst’s Materialist Media Diagrammatics

Theory, Culture and Society 28 (5):52-74 (2011)
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Media archaeological methods for extending the lifetime of new media into ‘old media’ have experienced a revival during the past years. In recent media theory, a new context for a debate surrounding media archaeology is emerging. So far media archaeology has been articulated together with such a heterogeneous bunch of theorists as Erkki Huhtamo, Siegfried Zielinski, Thomas Elsaesser and to a certain extent Friedrich Kittler. However, debates surrounding media archaeology as a method seem to be taking it forward not only as a subdiscipline of (media) history, but increasingly into what will be introduced as materialist media diagrammatics. This article maps some recent media archaeological waves in German media theory. The text addresses Wolfgang Ernst’s mode of media archaeology and his provocative accounts on how to rethink media archaeology as a fresh way of looking into the use and remediation of media history as a material monument instead of a historical narrative and as a recent media theoretical wave from Germany that seems to not only replicate Kittler’s huge impact in the field of materialist media studies but develop that in novel directions. However, as will be argued towards the end, Ernst’s provocative take that hopes to distinguish itself as a Berlin brand of media theory in its hardware materiality and time-critical focus resonates strongly with some of the recent new directions coming from US media studies, namely in software and platform studies.



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Foucault.G. Deleuze - 1987 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 49 (4):692-693.
From Discourse Networks to Cultural Mathematics.John Armitage - 2006 - Theory, Culture and Society 23 (7-8):17-38.

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