Re/Lab: Re-emergent Media Research
As our cameras, computers, and phones become outdated with increasing speed, discarded as e-waste and replaced, the study of media forms and practices often dismissed as obsolete, archaic, or dead provides not only a valuable context for analysis, it may also offer new sustainable creative possibilities. In this hybrid theory/practice course, rather than focusing on the newness of media technologies (which may not, in fact, be so new) students will be challenged to critically and creatively explore residual media forms, “recovering the analog ancestors of the digital and reading the digital back into the analog” (Lori Emerson). Guided, in part, by scholarly methodologies outlined by the field of media archeology, we track the work of media theorists and artists who have renewed efforts to explore the materiality of media, to regenerate analog media’s relation to digitality, and to specify the interconnectedness of humans with environmental systems. While moving image (filmmaking) technologies and creative practices focus our research, creative projects may be driven by student skills and interests. This course emerged out of a New School faculty-led initiative, Re/Lab, premised on the idea that students of media think and engage more meaningfully when they deeply understand the material history of their subject, encouraging media innovation that is critically and historically informed for a sustainable creative future.
Many thanks and much gratitude to past and future efforts of the re/labbers who contributed to and continue to build on this project.
Image credit: Win Khaing