Siegfried Zielinski – Variations on Media Thinking


University of Minnesota Press, ISBN-13: 978-1517907082, English, 416 pages, 2019, USA

Variations on Media Thinking is a much needed selection of Zielinski’s texts for non-German speakers, made of eighteen translated essays, produced over several decades. The author’s radical transdisciplinarity, and especially the multiform of his unique media archaeological research, can be enjoyed here through the texts. These deal with the Zielinski’s concepts of the ‘genealogy of media’ and ‘deep time’ explicitly and indirectly. In a fascinating travel through media spaces and times, all major media are addressed. Three of the essays in particular seem to define the author’s distinct trajectories: “From Territory to Intervals” focuses on the essential economy of time; “The Audiovisual Time Machine” concerns the cultural and technical implications of the Video Recorder; and “”To All!”, The Struggle of the German Workers Radio Movement 1918-1933” focuses on broadcast radio. These enlightening texts originate from the experimental methodologies that the author has applied to technical apparatuses. Zielinski’s tireless historical research, and his “expanded hermeneutics” have produced the genealogical and the ‘variantology’ approach, pushing us to look differently at the chaotic present from very different art and science perspectives, in order to build equally dynamic, resistant versions of the future.