In Search of Media Series, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, MN, 2019
n.p. Paper, $25.00
University of Minnesota Press, known for its Anthropocene theories, has launched a series co-produced by Meson Press, a new publisher with Open Access license. Meson Press was initiated by Mercedes Bunz, Marcus Burkhardt, and Andreas Kirchner as a part of Hybrid Publishing Lab at Leuphana University of Lüneburg. The project is dedicated to research on digital cultures and networked media that would position it close to Institute of Network Cultures series, but also combining a hard peer-review process, similarly to Open Humanities. What will distinguish the series further among the online-theory publishers is that the edition is designed as a series of collaborative formats. Books are not single-authored but consist of a few chapters written by different authors; still they are not presenting a pretentious format to the academic reader.
The series In Search of Media, edited by Gotz Bauchamm, Timon Beyes, Mercedes Bunz, and Wendy Hui Kyong Chun has already published several interesting titles: Archives by Andrew Lison, Tomislav Medak, Marcell Mars and Rick Preling; Machine by Thomas Patrick Pringler, Gertrud Koch and Bernard Stiegler; Communication by Paula Bialski, Finn Brunton and Mercedes Bunz; Markets by Armin Beverungen, Jens Schroter, Philip Mirowski and Edward Nik-Khah; Pattern Discrimination by Clemens Apprich, Florian Kramer, Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, and Hito Steyerl; and Remain by Ioana R. Jucan, Jussi Parikka and Rebecca Schneider. The Remain book features (besides an introduction to the series) three sections; Introduction Remain x Remain(s) by Jucan, and two chapters; Remain(s) Scattered by Parikka and Slough Media written by Schneier, each of about 50 pages.
The theme of the booklet is the process of remaining “in global capitalist, consumerist culture that is constantly rushing after the “new” thing on the market’ (Jucan, 2019:5). Remain, here, is distinguished from an archaeological object that has a meaning. After being abandoned, objects that are remains no longer have a meaning; yet while their meaning is degradable, materials are not.
Jussi Parikka thus defines remain against that did not endure, introducing the principle of heterocronia. Heterocronia questions the site where the remains are kept, location and distribution of remains. Parikka here refers to various systems in which remains are being kept (e.g. Wudnerkammern, archive) but also various relationships (e.g. history, nostalgia). Elaborating more on media archaeology, as his domain field, he also emphasizes the role of the infrastructure behind the object itself. Besides remains, Parikka also dwells on what will not remain (as after the extinction) conceiving Cabinets of Consequence (with agriculture-animals, energies-resources, media-natures and afterlifes-extinctions).
Schneider’s essay that follows Parikka’s also relies on his (Parikka’s) geological definition of media, asking an intriguing question about the performance of laborers, dealing with media as a mask. The most interesting part she deals with is the problem of the past and present, saying “the past that is not past reappears as the future that is not future. Past, present, and future – bygone, living, yet to come – are intra-articulate and intrapresent, composed in each other through call and response” (ibid: 116).
This small book is downloadable from https://meson.press/books/remain/ as are all other books by Meson Press.