Senior Seminar: Dead Media Research Studio
105 | CCN: 32087
Tues 2:00 – 5:00 PM Dwinelle 226 ///
This course is devoted to media archaeology, that is, historical research into forgotten, obsolete, or otherwise “dead” media technologies. This might include typewriters, phonographs, Polaroid photography, prison tattoo codes, the Victorian language of floral bouquets, outmoded video game platforms, computing systems, musical instruments, smoke signals, scent organs, shorthand notation, and rocket mail delivery. Our premise is that understanding these things can help us gain a better sense of the development, meaning and legacy of media technologies, now and in the future; our goal is to introduce students to the skills and resources necessary for producing rigorous research on such obsolete and obscure media. It will include an exposure to scholarship in media archaeology; an intensive introduction to research methods; instruction on the localization and utilization of word, image, and sound archives; and an emphasis on restoring media artifacts to their proper social and cultural context. The course stems from the premise that media archaeology is best undertaken, like any archaeological project, collaboratively. Hence the course follows a research studio model commonly used in disciplines such as architecture or design.