Grappling with Media Studies Part 1: Peter Galison

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So I'm back at university after a few years off, and I couldn't be more excited about one of the courses in particular that I'm taking. It's got a long-winded and high-falutin' title, but it's basically looking at what different social and technological theorists have to say about the interplay between cultural, social, and technological development. Among the first we've looked at are Peter Galison. The article of his that we examined is his historical contextualization of Norbert Weiner's appropriation of the term 'cybe

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rnetics', and what Galison himself has to say about conceptions of humanity technology, and their

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interrelationship. The most salient point of his that I came across is that 'the cultural meaning of concepts or practices... is indissolubly tied to their genealogy. What I take this to mean is that there are concrete, or hard-wired connections between modern uses of technology and the technologies they replace. He makes this point in the context of Norbert Weiner's attempts to use artificial intelligence to improve the accuracy of anti-aircraft guns. Weiner, like practically everyone else involved at every level of World War II conceptualized their enemy by de-humanizing them, and Galison, in part, makes the case that this failure to account for the indeterminism of human volition made his project doomed to fail.

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So why am I telling anyone who wants to read this about Peter Galison? Well, because one of our assignments is to create a meme, and the way in which I've decided to go about it is to use the course authors themselves. A great deal of what makes this course what it is, is the vocabulary of media studies. There are constellations of terms, metaphors, and verbal imagery that you must learn in order to speak with any degree of authority about the authors being discussed... and this reminds me of the strange constellation of wrestling-specific terms I've learned by listening to the Power-bomb Cast. The language itself is a barrier to entry, and I thought playing with that, and using Microsoft paint to superimpose the faces of authors onto pictures of wrestlers performing elbow drops would be a fun direction to go with this idea. I also really like what happens to images when you reduce their colour fidelity, they almost start to look like impressionist paintings, and the pictorial noise that makes these images more grungy also makes them more interesting, to me anyway. Anyways, I'll be posting a few more of these over the next little while, and anyone who has any inclination to comment on any aspect of this blog is free to do so.

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