Electrical grids as media: the post-humanist media archaeological analysis of electrical grids as media

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Abstract

Abstract

In this paper we provide our post-humanist media archaeological analysis of electrical grids as media and provide an overview of the historical and cultural context of their digitalization. Electrical grids are basic infrastructure of our society and can be conceptualized as media or an assemblage of associated technologies, fields of information and social institutions. We provide a media archaeological overview of the electrical grid of one Finnish city and start by presenting cultural and historical contexts of power grids as media and the digitalization of electric networks. In addition to using historical documents, our analysis is bases on our reading of media archaeology theory and ethnographic field research conducted in 2018.

Based on our preliminary results, it is apparent that before the computers, internet, mobile phones, social media, navigation systems etc. electrical grids were a separate network and its role was purely to provide the societies' the light and heating. But now in our digitalized culture or the infosphere electrical grids and media cannot be separated. Electrical grids as media is provided electronical power to modern ICT technologies and have, therefore essential role for organising time in our society.

We argue that understanding the cultural historical context of electrical grids is important when media archaeology theory seeks to study the role of new ICT technologies used in our basic infrastructure. In the future electronical grids and media should be investigated from a more philosophical perspective by taking account the role of delay and noise in the time axis manipulation related to malfunction situations in electric networks. From a technological viewpoint, contemporary electrical grids as media have now overlapped and combined in space technology, where the media content and electrical networks are formed in one unified system.


Key words: Media archaeology, Electrical grid, Digitalization
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationElectronic Imaging & the Visual Arts  
Subtitle of host publicationEVA 2019 conference, Florence 8-9 May 2019
EditorsVito Cappellini
Place of PublicationFirenze
PublisherFirenze university press
Chapter1
Pages49-56
ISBN (Electronic)978-886453-869-3
ISBN (Print)978-88-6453-868-6
Publication statusPublished - 8 May 2019
MoEC publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventElectronic Imaging & the Visual Arts: ‘The Foremost European Electronic Imaging Events in the Visual Arts’ - Hotel Pierre, Florence, Italy
Duration: 8 May 20199 May 2019

Conference

ConferenceElectronic Imaging & the Visual Arts
Abbreviated titleEVA
CountryItaly
CityFlorence
Period08.05.201909.05.2019