Zielinski on Academia, Media, and the Future

This quote probably won’t make the final cut for my MLA 2012 paper. Too long, and more suggestive than providing any real ground for argumentation. But it does suggest the danger I am trying to articulate about placing our faith in media per se. Moreover, Zielinski’s thoughts on “the deep time of media” and the manner in which media is “deeply inhuman” (from which Jussi Parrika commences in Insect Media), suggest that any attempt we make to draw “new media” into the political economy of traditional academia (via peer review, by “counting it like a book” for T&P, by reading it with old methodologies, or by inserting it into an ill-conceived genealogy) will be problematic and ignore any possible future-that-is-not-the-past. In my paper I will tie this issue to Stiegler’s long vs. short circuits (as conceived in Taking Care of Youth and the Generations) and to debates about digital work in the context of T&P.

In any case, here Zielinski writes, with regard to the “inflation” of the definitions of “media” in the 1990s:

Media and future became synonymous. If you didn’t engage with what was then baptized media, you were definitely passé. By adding media to their curriculum, institutes, faculties, academies, and universities all hoped to gain access to more staff and new equipment. In the majority of cases, they actually received it—particularly after, in association with the magic word digital, media systems were established that the decision makers did not understand. This was another reason they called the process a revolution. The digital became analogous to the alchemists’ formula for gold, and it was endowed with infinite powers of transformation. (32)


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