Media history is millions, even billions, of years old, argues media theorist Jussi Parikka. To adequately understand contemporary media culture, we must set out from material realities that precede media themselves - Earth’s history, geological formations, minerals, and energy. Exploring the resource depletion and material resourcing required for us to use our devices to live networked lives, Parikka grounds his analysis in Zielinski’s widely discussed notion of deep time, but takes it back millennia.
Not only are rare earth minerals and many other materials needed to make our digital media machines work, but used and obsolete media technologies return to the earth as residue of digital culture, contributing to growing layers of toxic waste for future archaeologists to ponder. Parikka argues that the environment does not just surround our media cultural world - it runs through it, enables it, and hosts it in an era of unprecedented climate change.
Professor Jussi Parikka is a Finnish media theorist and writer. He is the author of various books on media archaeology, digital culture and technical media, including the monographs Koneoppi (2004), Digital Contagions: A Media Archaeology of Computer Viruses (2007, 2nd. Ed 2017), Insect Media: An Archaeology of Animals and Technology and What is Media Archaeology (2012), and A Geology of Media (2015), selected by the Choice magazine as "an outstanding academic title for 2015". He has edited and co-edited such publications as The Spam Book: On Porn, Viruses and Other Anomalous Objects from the Dark Side of Digital Culture (2009), Media Archaeology: Approaches, Applications and Implications (2011), Medianatures: The Materiality of Information Technology and Electronic Waste (2011) and the special issue of Fibreculture (2011) on “Unnatural Ecologies – Media Ecology”. Professor Parikka is also Docent in Digital Culture Theory at University of Turku, Finland and Honorary Visiting Research Fellow at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge.