Jussi Parikka – A Geology of Media


University Of Minnesota Press, ISBN: 978-0816695522, English, 224 pages, 2015, USA

There is a never-ending tension between the ‘materiality’ of media and its endless (personal) proliferation, unresolved almost by definition. At the core of most media art preservation strategies, this tension can be seen as an absolutely crucial one, being more meaningful for understanding the paradoxes that the digital has induced than many other writings based on abstract disembodiment. Drawing on Siegfried Zielinski’s seminal concepts of “deep time” and “anarchaeology”, Parikka explores this tension, in both its aesthetics and radicality, in the third and final volume of his media ecology trilogy (after Digital Contagions and Insect Media). This analysis goes, quite literally, deep into space and time. The former is evaluated in its tiny particles, specifically in the chapter about dust, an extremely symbolic element of materiality and metaphorically of information. The latter takes into account classical geological questions on the slow formation of basic materials needed to build our media, as well as the far future impact of radioactivity in contaminated materials. The political consequences of both are skilfully integrated in a comprehensive anthroposcenic perspective and the economy of media materials powerfully emerges. In this respect Parikka’s classic ‘Zombie Media’ text, co-authored with Garnet Hertz and added as appendix in this book, reinforces this transformation of the material vs. immaterial tension into a geological vs. manufactured tension.