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from Sterling’s Life and Death of Media

from Bruce Sterling “The Life and Death of Media”, Speech at Sixth International Symposium on Electronic Art ISEA ’95Montreal Sept 19 1995:

Media is a commodity. Media is something that is sold to us. Media can be something that we are sold to, even. Media is an everyday thing. You can buy bandwidth in job lots. You can watch television, buy books, videos, records, CDs, but that’s not it. That’s not what’s interesting.

* Media is an extension of the senses.
* Media is a mode of consciousness.
* Media is extra-somatic memory. It’s a crystallization of human thought that survives the death of the individual.
* Media generates simulacra. The mechanical reproduction of images is media.
* Media is a means of social interaction.
* Media is a means of command and control.
* Media is statistics, knowledge that is gathered and generated by the state.
* Media is economics, transactions, records, contracts, money and the records of money.
* Media is the means of civil society and public opinion.
* Media is a means of debate and decision and agitpropaganda.

(also quoted in Shiralee Saul’s “Technologies of Time and Space: A prehistory of multimedia”)

and the classic:

You know, in today’s ultramediated world, I think it’s quite a good idea to go into a quiet room with a quipu. Go to a room and shut off the electricity. Don’t look at the quipu with scorn or condescension. Just hold it in your hands and try to pretend that this the only possible abstract relationship, besides speech, that you have with the world. Really try to imagine what you are *missing* by not comprehending all economics, all governmental business, all nonverbal communication, as a network of colored yarn. Think of this as a discipline, as an act of imaginative concentration, as a human engagement with a profoundly alien media alternative.

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