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Here comes… Insect Media!

April 12, 2010

I am excited to read about the forthcoming (fall 2010) book from Finish media theorist Jussi Parikka, Insect Media: An Archaeology of Animals and Technology. Here’s the info that he posted on his blog about the book:

Since the early nineteenth-century, when entomologists first popularized the unique biological and behavioral characteristics of insects, technological innovators and theorists have proposed the use of insects as templates for a wide range of technologies. In Insect Media, Jussi Parikka analyzes how insect forms of social organization—swarms, hives, webs, and distributed intelligence—have been used to structure modern media technologies and the network society, providing a radical new perspective on the interconnection of biology and technology. … Parikka develops an “insect theory of media,” one that conceptualizes modern media as more than the products of individual human actors, social interests, or technological determinants. They are, rather, profoundly nonhuman phenomena that both draw on and mimic the alien life-worlds of insects.

I am really interested in the ‘insect theory of media’ – especially as my own work looks at media and evolution. I enjoyed Parikka’s previous work, ‘Digital Contagions’ which – a not unrelated idea – looks a media though the lens of viruses; both real and virtual. I am also drawn to the subject matter as I was very influenced by another book looking at human/non-human boundaries – John Gray‘s excellent Straw Dogs (2002) which declares that there is no difference between a human city and an ant city. In an ant city we see storage depots, graveyards and security posts. In a human city we see storage depots, graveyards and security posts. If one is natural, so must the other be, humanity and its creations cannot not escape nature to exist on a pedestal because they are nature.

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