Digital Materiality (MS4101.02)

Brian Michael Murphy

“The cloud” is not in the sky, but is comprised of thousands of securitized data centers and fiber optic networks that span continents. Undersea cables still carry nearly all internet traffic that travels across oceans. How can we critically analyze these massive systems that are often either invisible or too large to see all at once? This course will explore the materiality of digital media and their infrastructures. We will read key works in media history, media archaeology, and related fields to trace the life cycle of digital devices, from mineral extraction and industrial production to the carbon footprint of consumer usage and digital technology’s afterlife as e-waste. As we delve into the prehistories and possible futures of digital technology, we will also consider the work of designers, engineers, and artists who help us think creatively about digital media, whether from the perspective of deep-time, or in speculations on post-digital media and data.

Prerequisites: Permission of instructor. Please send a brief email explaining your interest in the class and how previous coursework and/or experience relates to it, and/or how it relates to your Plan.
Course Level: 4000-level
Credits: 4
M/W 1:40PM-5:20PM (2nd seven weeks)
Maximum Enrollment: 16
Course Frequency: Once a year

Categories: All courses , Environment , Media Studies
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