Unnatural Ecologies | Fibreculture Journal | Issue 17
Fibreculture Journal | Issue 17
We are pleased to launch issue 17 of the Fibreculture Journal "Unnatural Ecologies", edited by Michael Goddard and Jussi Parikka
FCJ-114 Towards an Archaeology of Media Ecologies: Media Ecology, Political Subjectivation and Free Radios Michael Goddard.
FCJ-115 Autocreativity and Organisational Aesthetics in Art Platforms Olga Goriunova
FCJ-116 Media Ecologies and Imaginary Media: Transversal Expansions, Contractions, and Foldings Jussi Parikka
FCJ-117 Four Regimes of Entropy: For an Ecology of Genetics and Biomorphic Media Theory Matteo Pasquinelli
FCJ-118 Faulty Theory Matthew Fuller
FCJ-119 Subjectivity in the Ecologies of P2P Production Phoebe Moore
This issue is an exercise in media ecology that is paradoxically unnatural. Instead of assuming a natural connection to the established tradition of Media Ecology in the Toronto-school fashion of Marshall McLuhan, Neil Postman, and the work of scholars involved in the Media Ecology Association (http://www.media-ecology.org/media_ecology/), our issue stems from another direction; its theoretical orientation is more inspired by the work of Felix Guattari and engages with several overlapping ecologies that are aesthetico-political in their nature. It stems from a more politically oriented way of understanding the various scales and layers through which media are articulated together with politics, capitalism and nature, in which processes of media and technology cannot be detached from subjectivation. In this context, media ecology is itself a vibrant sphere of dynamics and turbulences including on its technical level. Technology is not only a passive surface for the inscription of meanings and signification, but a material assemblage that partakes in machinic ecologies. And, instead of assuming that ecologies are by their nature natural (even if naturalizing perhaps in terms of their impact on capacities of sensation and thought) we assume them as radically contingent and dynamic, in other words as prone to change.
The concept of media ecology was revived in 2005 by Matthew Fuller's theoretically novel take on the idea. His Media Ecologies: Materialist Energies in Art and Technoculture set out to map the dynamic interrelation[s] of processes and objects, beings and things, patterns and matter? (Fuller 2005: 2) in a culture where the relation between materiality and information has been redefined. Steering clear of earlier celebrations of media as informational environments which dismiss any connection with the physical as for example with the cyberculture of the 1980s and 1990s.
Fuller is keen to map out how we can develop a material vocabulary for media ecological processes. The roots of such a vocabulary that bends itself to the intensive connections of pirate radios and voice, the photographic medium and the Internet as well as such informational entities as memes come from Whitehead, Simondon, Nietzsche as well as Guattari and contemporary writers such as Katherine N. Hayles. What emerges is a different genealogy for theories of media ecology.
What was demonstrated already in Fuller's take on the concept was a special appreciation of material practices involved in establishing the regimes of media ecologies. Media ecologies are quite often understood by Fuller through artistic/activist practices rather than pre-formed theories, which precisely work through the complex media layers in which on the one hand subjectivation and agency are articulated and, on the other hand, the materiality of informational objects gets distributed, dispersed and takes effect. Media ecological platforms can be seen to range from network environments for philosophy and media activism as in Rekombinant (http://www.rekombinant.org) to art platforms on the net such as Runme.org (http://runme.org/). Related themes can be detected in the various negotiations of nature being remixed, resurfaced, revisualized or sonified through media environments. Examples include Natalie Jeremijenko's work, the Harwood-Yokokoji-Wright Eco Media collaboration (featured in Parikka -this Issue), biological art projects such as Amy Youngs's The Digestive Table (2006, http://hypernatural.com/digestive.html), the work of activist/artistic groupings like Critical Art Ensemble, the Yes Men or the Wu Ming foundation and various bioart projects of recent years. In all these cases a dynamic media ecology is generated, incorporating natural, technical and informational components and giving rise to singular processes of subjectivation that are equally an essential part of the media ecology.
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*The Fibreculture Journal* is a peer reviewed international journal, first published in 2003 to explore the issues and ideas of concern to both the Fibreculture network.
*The Fibreculture Journal* now serves wider social formations across the international community of those thinking critically about, and working with, contemporary digital and networked media.
*The Fibreculture Journal* has an international Editorial Board and Committee <http://fibreculturejournal.org/policy-and-style/>.
In 2008, *the Fibreculture Journal* became a part of the Open Humanities Press <http://openhumanitiespress.org/> , a key initiative in the development of the Open Access journal community. The journal encourages critical and speculative interventions in the debate and discussions concerning a wide range of topics of interest. These include the social and cultural contexts, philosophy and politics of contemporary media technologies and events, with a special emphasis on the ongoing social, technical and conceptual transitions involved.