[-empyre-] Surfing: new discussions about new media and theory

Renate Ferro rtf9 at cornell.edu
Tue May 6 06:15:03 EST 2014

In flux: New Media and Mediation in 2014

Recently while surfing the net I ran across Geert Lovink’s  intriguing
article, "Hermes on the Hudson: Notes on Media Theory after Snowden"
on the e-flux journal site. (For links to these publications see
below. )

Lovink asserts that Edward Snowden’s exposures represent the finality
of new media as we know it.  “The NSA scandal has taken away the last
remains of cyber-naivety and lifted the ‘internet issue’ to the level
of world politics.” The egalitarian and utopian hopes and
possibilities of the networked internet is lost.” Citing a recently
collaboratively published book, Excommunication:  Three inquiries in
Media and Mediation by Alexander Galloway, Eugene Thacker, and
McKenzie Wark, Lovink appropriates Galloway’s first mode or model of
mediation “Hermes” for his title.  Hermes is the communication god of
messaging, “circulation”, and “exchange” as Galloway begins his
proposal for media and its mediations, one that looks back to history
first.  Geographically pinning Galloway, Thacker, and Wark as the New
York’s triumvirate of media theory conspirators, Lovink spins a
relatively geographically distinctively different global view on new
media’s demise or otherwise.

Galloway, Thacker and Wark’s collective claim in their Introduction
expresses, “One of the things the trio of us share is a desire to
cease adding ‘new media’ to existing things...” Lovink responds, “The
‘three inquiries in media and mediation’ open with the widely shared
discontent that ‘new media’ has become an empty signifier. This leaves
us with the question of the mandate and scope of today’s media
theory—if there is anything left.”

Lovink continues with a question, “Are you ready to hand over the “new
media” remains to the sociologists, museum curators, art historians,
and other humanities officials? Can we perhaps stage a more
imaginative “act of disappearance”? Are we ready to disguise ourselves
amidst the new normality?”

What do you think?

Links to Galloway, Thacker and Wark’s as well as Lovink’s writing:
Excommunication by Alexander Galloway, Eugene Thacker and McKenzie Wark
For information about the full text see the University of Chicago:

Geert Lovink’s
"Hermes on the Hudson: Notes on Media Theory after Snowden" in e-flux

McKenzie Warke’s response to Lovink in Public Seminar Commons
"Where next for media theory?"


Renate Ferro
Visiting Assistant Professor of Art,
(contracted since 2004)
Cornell University
Department of Art, Tjaden Hall Office:  306
Ithaca, NY  14853
Email:   <rferro at cornell.edu>
URL:  http://www.renateferro.net
Lab:  http://www.tinkerfactory.net

Managing Co-moderator of -empyre- soft skinned space

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