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1Fuller, M.: Media ecologies : materialist energies in art and technoculture.
Cambridge, MA : MIT Press, 2005. x, 265 S.
Abstract: In Media Ecologies, Matthew Fuller asks what happens when media systems interact. Complex objects such as media systems - understood here as processes, or elements in a composition as much as "things" - have become informational as much as physical, but without losing any of their fundamental materiality. Fuller looks at this multiplicitous materiality - how it can be sensed, made use of, and how it makes other possibilities tangible. He investigates the ways the different qualities in media systems can be said to mix and interrelate, and, as he writes, "to produce patterns, dangers, and potentials." Fuller draws on texts by Felix Guattari (and his "serial collaborator" Gilles Deleuze) as well as writings by Friedrich Nietzsche, Marshall McLuhan, Donna Haraway, Friedrich Kittler, and others, to define and extend the idea of "media ecology." Arguing that the only way to find out about what happens when media systems interact is to carry out such interactions, Fuller traces a series of media ecologies - "taking every path in a labyrinth simultaneously," as he describes one chapter. He looks at contemporary London-based pirate radio and its interweaving of high- and low-tech media systems; the "medial will to power" illustrated by "the camera that ate itself"; how, as seen in a range of compelling interpretations of new media works, the capacities and behaviors of media objects are affected when they are in "abnormal" relationships with other objects; and each step in a sequence of Web pages, "Cctv - world wide watch," that encourages viewers to report crimes seen via webcams. Contributing to debates around standardisation, cultural evolution, cybernetic culture, and surveillance, and inventing a politically challenging aesthetic that links them, Media Ecologies, with its various narrative speeds, scales, frames of references, and voices, does not offer the academically traditional unifying framework; rather, Fuller says, it proposes to capture "an explosion of activity and ideas to which it hopes to add an echo."
Anmerkung: Rez. in: JASIST 58(2007) no.8, S.1222 (P.K. Nayar): "Media ecology is the intersection of information and communications technology (ICTs), organizational behavior, and human interaction. Technology, especially ICT, is the environment of human culture today-from individuals to organizations, in metropolises across the world. Fuller defines media ecology as "the allocation of informational roles in organizations and in computer-supported collaborative work" (p. 3), a fairly comprehensive definition. Fuller opens with a study of a pirate radio in London. Adapting thinkers on media and culture-Stuart Hall, J. F. Gibson's ecological psychology, Deleuze and Guattari figure prominently here. Exploring the attempted regulation of radio, the dissemination into multiple "forms," and the structures that facilitate this, Fuller presents the environment in which "subversive" radio broadcasts take place. Marketing and voices, microphones, and language codes all begin to interact with each other to form a higher order of a material or "machinic" universe (Fuller here adapts Deleuze and Guattari's concept of a "machinic phylum" defined as "materiality, natural or artificial, and both simultaneously; it is matter in movement, in flux, in variation, matter as a conveyer of singularities and traits of expression," p. 17). Using hip-hop as a case study, Fuller argues that digitized sound transforms the voice from indexical to the "rhythmatic." Music becomes fundamentally synthetic here (p. 31), and acquires the potential to access a greater space of embodiment. Other factors, often ignored in media studies, include the role of the DJs (disk jockies), are worked into a holistic account. The DJ, notes Fuller is a switch for the pirate station, but is also a creator of hype. Storing, transposing, organizing time, the DJ is a crucial element in the informational ecology of the radio station. Fuller argues that "things" like the mobile phone must be treated as media assemblages. Pirate radio is an example of the minoritarian use of media systems, according to Fuller. ; Exploring John Hilliard's 1971 series of photographs, A Camera Recording it Own Condition (7 apertures, 10 speeds, 2 mirrors), Fuller argues that the camera's media ecology consists of the interplay between mathematical, material, and social powers, while demonstrating a medial will to power. Fuller shows how every apparatus is an ensemble of other apparatuses. Thresholds of visibility and disappearance are built into the camera's structure, of its material capacity. When the camera focuses on itself, it is engaged in a cybernetic circuit that brings together forces of form, programs, material structures: in short, a media ecology. Fuller marks out two sets of interconnected and antagonistic relations of force that "make" the camera in this act of recording itself. One, the problematic of the camera working on the condition of being a camera (a machine reflexivity). Second, it mobilizes the constraints and freedoms generated by the correlation of the intensive and extensive qualities embedded within the camera. Fuller expands his exploration of media ecologies by working with multiple "objects": the introduction of an on/off switch in a residential street, BITRadio, "phreaking" of radio broadcasts and others. Perhaps the most argumentative chapter of the book-certainly one of the most lucid ones!-this demonstrates how technology and the dynamics of media systems are appropriated for other, nonofficial purposes. Fuller shows how the "standard object"-a serial element such as an ISO standard shipping container whose "potential" has been stabilized, circumscribes knowledge itself, limiting all other forms of understanding. Standard objects, even as they work with other "forms" define the technicity and organizational frames of systems. ; Moving on to Web pages-Heath Bunting's cctv-world wide watch, where users watching four Webcams are encouraged to report crimes on an HTML form, which is then sent to the nearest police station-Fuller shows how cultural and technological components mesh uneasily in the project. Fuller argues that the "meme" (a kind of replicator that mutates as it passes from person to person or media to media, and works in combination with its immediate environment) or "bit" of identity constitutes a problem for surveillance. Packets of information-often the most common "meme" in Web technology-is, for Fuller, the standard object around which an ecology gets built. Networks check packets as they pass isolating passwords, URLS, credit data, and items of interest. The packet is the threshold of operations. The meme's "monitorability" enables not only dissemination through the network, but also its control. Memes, or what Fuller calls "flecks of identity" are referents in the flows of information-they "locate" and "situate" a user. Fuller's work is full of rich insights, especially into the ways in which forces of power operate within media ecologies. Even when the material/technological object, such as the camera or the Webcam turns in on itself, it is situated within a series of interrelated forces, some of which are antagonistic to the object. This insight-that contemporary media technology works within a field of antagonistic forces too-is Fuller's major contribution. Fuller is alert also to the potential within such force fields for subversion. Pirate radio and phreaking, therefore, emblematize how media ecologies create the context, possibility, and even modalities of political and social protest. Unfortunately, Fuller's style is a shade too digressive and aleatory for us to discover these insights. In his eagerness to incorporate as many theorists and philosophers of media/technology-he moves from Nietzsche to Susan Blackmore, sometimes within the space of a single paragraph-Fuller often takes a long time to get to his contribution to the debate or analysis. The problem, therefore, is mainly with style rather than content, and the arguments would have been perfectly fine if they had been couched in easier forms."
LCSH: Aesthetics, Modern / 20th century ; Digital communications ; Mass media / Aesthetics ; Telecommunication ; Technology and the arts
RSWK: Ästhetik / Massenmedien
DDC: 700/.1/05 / dc22
LCC: BH201.F85 2005
RVK: AP 13550 Allgemeines / Medien- und Kommunikationswissenschaften, Kommunikationsdesign / Theorie und Methodik / Grundlagen, Methodik, Theorie ; AP 13550 Allgemeines / Medien- und Kommunikationswissenschaften, Kommunikationsdesign / Theorie und Methodik / Grundlagen, Methodik, Theorie