Media Archaeology: Linking Asia and Latin America


Session Title:

  • Other Panels

Presentation Title:

  • Media Archaeology: Linking Asia and Latin America




  • Media studies is facing many challenges. One of them is finding out how to account for the presence of technical media in an increasingly global mondial environment. This cannot be achieved by concentrating only on the present, or by studying contemporary media platforms based on computing on a planetary scale. It is also necessary to work at the historical level, and to deconstruct standard historical narratives of media history written from a pervasive Western perspective. At the same time, it is necessary to tell alterna tive stories of devices and artifacts by linking them to their cultural-historical contexts and giving an account of their resonances and migrations between different cultures. Media archaeology provides potential to contribute to this process, but its tools must be critically investigated and modified to fit the task. Some scholars practicing media archaeology have purported to expand their field of operations by questioning accounts West-centered historiography and looking for more diverse and complex approaches. However, that is only the beginning. Many issues remain to be solved.

    The three presentations in this panel will explore ways of applying media archaeology to issues of cross-cultural and international media and technology transfers. The first presentation by Erkki Huhtamo will discuss the possibilities and pitfalls of extending media archaeology to cross-cultural issues from a theoretical perspective. It is followed by two presentations shedding light on the vicissitudes of the magic lantern in different cultural contexts. Machiko Kusahara will discuss the uses of magic lanterns in nineteenth-century Japan adding little known aspects to the understanding of visual media in Far Asian cultures. The second presentation by Andres Burbano will explore the magic lantern as a literary object in the Mexican poetry of the seventeenth century, exposing some of the roots of optical media and literary culture in Latin America.