edited by Josephine Diecke, Dr. Bregt Lameris, and Dr. Laura Niebling
With this special section we would like to provide a platform for the debate on media and materiality as it has been evolving with the digital turn. By approaching the topic of materiality and its effects on the basis of material objects, different paths and debates open up. Whether through a historical analysis of an object’s meaning, its relationship with the media environment, or its access and (digital) reproduction with the help of interfaces – questions of the material and immaterial constitution of objects arise from almost all perspectives. In this special section we would like to bring them together in order to explore the numerous levels of materiality in the media objects surrounding us.
Starting from the object itself, we aim to open up a range of perspectives on its (im-)materialilty, particularly acknowledging that media histories not only run simultaneously, but have plural meanings in the process. To invite and bring together some of the views currently discussed in media studies and beyond, we ask: What kind of materiality does an object bring with it and which cultural spaces surrounding it have to be considered? How do we contextualise a material object with analog or digital approaches?
Although the materiality of media has always mattered, the discursive boundaries between materiality/immateriality, old/new, waste/innovation, and obsolete/modern seem to gain new significance in the digital era in particular. Previously established and standardised media objects are disappearing from public and private spaces, which is something Samual Wilson called the ‘crises of materiality’. Furthermore, digital media are increasingly discussed with regards to their material status and environmental footprint due to their mode of production. In this context, the transition from analogue to digital has opened up new paths for investigations into the conservation and preservation of analogue media practices with the help of digital tools.
Over the past decades, interdisciplinary research at the intersection of media archaeology and science and technology studies (STS) has emerged, while other projects combined natural sciences and (digital) humanities to closely investigate media objects as historical sources. Our interest also lies with the range of so-called ‘experimental media archaeological’ initiatives, which have been launched to (re)gain agency over techniques and tools, often in the form of collaborations between academia and archives. We especially invite articles on these approaches of re-configuring tacit material knowledge in the context of media history. To this end, the role of materiality shall also be addressed, as it is particularly negotiated, exhibited, and discussed in many ways in the museum context, up to and including entire institutions dedicated to the topic itself.
In recent years, the materiality of media and the corresponding artifacts and concepts have been culturally charged with new values, connotations, and symbolic perspectives, including and reaching beyond their historical functions for example as user objects or design tokens. These manifold values and positions are the topic of an extensively growing media theoretical debate with new experimental practices of media research, art, and curating. Equally, artistic practices are returning to analogue formats with an increasing number of analogue laboratories and stand-alone artists pushing a practice-oriented counterculture of experimental filmmaking with photochemical processes, providing a varied range of new kinds of knowledge. We also invite perspectives into these practices of artistic re-production of material knowledge.
In this special section we will reflect on this constellation of ideas, concepts, and practices that is currently developing with regard to media materialities. We wish to emphasise that we are interested in contributions concerning a broad range of audiovisual media, such as film, video, new/digital media, and the entire range of sound technologies and equipment. This call for submissions invites contributions dealing with, but not limited to, #Materiality and the following topics:
# New (digital) materialisms, obsolescence, sustainable media, and ecological sensibilities, in relation to consumer culture
# Media art, found footage, and experimental film
# DIY culture as well as re-use and re-mixed culture, including questions on material aesthetics
# Experimental media archaeology, embodiment, and tacit knowledge, and the tactility and haptics of media knowledge production via materiality and objects
# Preservation and restoration, curating and exhibiting the materiality of media, history and practice of playback machines and practices
# Dispositif and apparatus theory
We also invite submissions on the intersection between academic research and artistic practice. Submissions may address the audiovisual essay as an old and new method of doing media studies; also, practice-based research or research-creation as evolving methods of knowledge production and performance.
We look forward to receiving abstracts of 300 words, 3-5 bibliographic references, and a short biography of 100 words by 15 March 2022 to email@example.com. On the basis of selected abstracts, writers will be invited to submit full manuscripts (6,000-8,000 words, revised abstract, 4-5 keywords) which will subsequently go through a double-blind peer review process before final acceptance for publication.
NECSUS also accepts proposals throughout the year for festival, exhibition, and book reviews, as well as proposals for guest edited audiovisual essay sections. We will soon open a general call for research article proposals not tied to a special section theme. Please note that we do not accept full manuscripts for consideration without an invitation. Access our submission guidelines at necsus-ejms.org/guidelines-for-submission/