[iDC] Learning from 1967

Sean Cubitt scubitt at unimelb.edu.au
Mon Jun 22 01:13:53 UTC 2009

What's missing from David's interesting post is a better definition of
'media', and for that we have media studies to blame, with their
concentration on entertainment, news and more recently person-to-person.

The key media of the 21st century (and their predecessors over a much longer
period) have not been narratives,pictures or even conversations but
databases (filing systems, bureaucracies), spreadsheets (double-entry
bookkeeping) and geographic information systems (maps). The history of
networks (see Debray, matte;lart and Beniger among others) is a history of
commerce and government at least as far back as the Thurn und Taxis system.

Workplace media have fallen out of the domain of media analysis (with
notable exceptions).

One result of this has been the 'immaterial' thesis - as if there were no
material media implicated in and embodying human relatiuons. Today, in a
reversal of Marx's adage, relations between commodities appear to us in the
fantastic guise of a relation between people.


On 22/06/09 10:17 AM, "David Golumbia" <dgolumbia at virginia.edu> wrote:

> What worries me especially is a strong focus in these and similar
> discussions on "media" as if "media" equals "capital." Media is one very
> small part of capital. Yes, certain aspects of media production,
> consumption, and even creation have been "democratized" in some sense
> (though i'd argue about what that sense is). If you look at media in
> particular, the web looks as if it may be distributing some parts of
> culture that were previously more concentrated. But in the scheme of the
> capital life-world, they are small potatoes. 

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