Jussi Parikka

Green Media Times: Friedrich Kittler and
Ecological Media History

There are very different notions of materiality that have been circulating
in international media and cultural studies discussions during the past few
decades. In a cultural and media studies context, materiality is meant to
focus on something different than the same word within a German Medien­
wissenschaft context. In Britain, on the axis of universities from Lancaster
to London with the centre at Birmingham in the Midlands, » materiality «
quite often calls to mind a lineage starting from Raymond Williams’ cultural studies emphasis, and its modern variations. University departments
still carry a strong legacy of cultural studies, and even in media studies,
the technical speciics of media culture are often left to colleagues in the
sciences and engineering on the other side of the Faculty lines. This emphasis often has to do with the birth of the Birmingham school of cultural studies in the 1960s, and its aftereffect on modern cultural and media studies departments across UK. In such a heritage, materiality is often related
to ( human ) experience. The critique of positivism in this tradition might
assume forms that emphasise the empirical above theoretical considerations. The construction of meaning is a central feature through which to
understand the living materiality of media practices, and media materialism reverts to concrete practices of cultural production in speciic spatiotemporal settings.1 Therefore, it is no wonder that the teachings of the likes
of Friedrich A. Kittler did not always ind fertile ground across the Channel,
despite his admiration for certain sites of British culture: the Cambridge of
Turing and Pink Floyd, Bletchley Park, and the London of rock engineering
culture and studio technologies.2 But as we know, he admired neither British cultural studies, nor the rising hegemony of English-language international universities. Indeed, as a theoretician, he was invested in writing an
alternative history of media and materiality, even if the latter’ s focus changed in his later work on the love life of the Greeks – a mediatic affair. The
Kittler that is internationally known as a material media historian, especially
in the Anglo-American world, is both lauded and reviled for his emphasis on the primacy of technology. This Kittler is the scholar interested in
the triangles of war, science and engineering, as indexes for what humanities should be about in the Turing age. In this sense, there was always a
strong normative sense in Kittler’s provocations that had an inluence on his
historical methodology too. For people trained in contextual thinking, some
of his demands always felt somewhat anachronistic. Kittler’ s methodology
was partly recognizable for those knowledgeable about Foucault, but also

( 1 ) Nick Couldry, Inside Culture. Re­Imagining the Method of Cultural Studies, Los Angeles– 
 London – New York 2000, p. 11–12.
( 2 ) On related topics, see Geoffrey Winthrop­Young, Cultural Studies and German Media 
Theory, in: Gary Hall and Clare Birchall ( eds.), New Cultural Studies. Adventures in Theory, 
Edinburgh 2006, p. 88–104.


Jussi Parikka

( 4 ) John Durham Peters. While punk bands inluenced by the Sex Pistols learned to play basic chords and to write anarchist lyrics. we should seriously consider the centrality of time in Kittler’ s media history. was far removed from Kittler’ s emphasis on insider knowledge of hardware and software. p. we know that Kittler’ s punk attitude really had more to do with Pink Floyd and with knowing how to solder. in: Friedrich Kittler. Cambridge 2010. The engineered model is detoured around the semiotic understanding it received in Anglo-American hands. people and political agency are pursuing Kittler’s agenda! Indeed. it is as if Kittler and the Brits share something of the 1970s: a punk culture or at least an attitude. and returned to its mathematical roots – and therefore also those roots planted as the initial stages of an investigation of media history. Introduction: Friedrich Kittler’ s Light Shows. Kittler Now: Current Perspectives in Kittler Studies. and the ways that war inancing affected the development of television. which is now being reconstructed by artist Jan-Peter Sonntag and other supporters.).puzzling when it came to ideas such as those expressed in Optical Media: to take Claude Shannon’ s mathematical theory of communication of 1948. Kittler articulated materiality as part of the humanities’ agenda.  Optical Media. with soldering gun in hand and DOS screen in view. in his 1990s campaign against Microsoft Windows. is not always evident. In this way. and ask if there are ways to expand Kittler’ s media historical interests to something I will call » non-mediatic media materiality « – which leads to a different approach to media temporality as well. certainly suggests an activist role for at least those with an engineering bent. Kittler could sound a bit like a cultural studies type praising the agency of ordinary folks who rewrite the dominant code for their own purposes. 70 Green Media Times: Friedrich Kittler and Ecological Media History . even on the level of topics: it is as if institutions. reconigures the user-friendly interfaces of dumbed down technologies. In this paper. I will address this entanglement of materiality and time. This was the model of seeing history through the set diagram of Source-Coding-Channel-Decoding-Reception. » Optical media is clearly interested in the development of institutions such as Edison’s Lab. the ways that marketing imposes compromises between consumers and engineers. for example. but rather ( 3 ) On recursion and Kittler. Punk culture’s celebration of the amateur. The difference to British cultural studies. It is a sort of a backwards recursion. Aside from any references to punk culture. Anthony Enns.3 As John Durham Peters notes in his introduction to the English translation of Optical Media. 7. in:  Stephen Sale and Laura Salisbury ( eds. who does not have to possess musical talent or even know how to play. see Geoffrey Winthrop­Young. Indeed. › Kittler’ s siren recursions ‹ . Kittler investigated what makes songs happen by building his own synthesiser. As a media historian. the unique historical conditions that enabled the emergence of photography in the 1830s. His celebration elsewhere of the technological bricoleur who. he also posited new notions of media ontology and temporality. we ind a speciic understanding of a materialistic media methodology in Kittler’s relation to time.«4 As Peters suggests.  Cambridge ( Forthcoming ) 2013. and to transpose it as a method through which to map media history before the term › media ‹ was even properly used in the way in which we understand the term. And yet. variations on a theme. This approach is not interested in explaining Kittler’ s stance. trans.

There is much more to visual culture than merely the screen and its images. I want to open up the possibility of thinking about ecology more literally with Kittler. in: Cultural Politics vol.  Cambridge  / M A 2005. for Kittler. In this context. What separates Kittler from otherwise appropriate references to established traditions of media theory in Canada – primarily McLuhan and Innis – is his penchant for factual detail and technical speciicity. however. This double movement characterizes much of Kittler’ s inluence both in terms of media studies and practice-based research. continues to attract interest. » It’ s dreadful when media scholars pontiicate about computers without ever having looked underneath the lid. and as genealogical mapping of the contemporary moment. 2012. toward software. for instance. So what is the place of materiality in his media historical account ? What are the suggestions offered and which characterize the idea of » media materialism « as it pertains to the imagined brand of German media studies ? Put simply. The Place of Media Matter It goes without saying that Kittler was devoted to analysis that paid close attention to the materiality of contemporary media technologies.« 6 A narrative of his early career might be told through the technologies he used to write. the double movement between history and technology constantly focuses on the materiality of the object in Kittler’ s media history.  Materialist  Energies  in  Art  and  Technoculture. Naturally. an » under-the-hood « methodology of media theoretical excavation that departs from what Nick Montfort later called » screen-essentialism «. 71 Jussi Parikka . and how. hardware. p.5 Beyond this link. and even to Stiegler. 2 ) and in the technological sense. In any case. and further levels. Friedrich Kittler interviewed by Christoph  Weinberger. the absence of media from media theory was one of the worst possible starting points. the analysis of technical media cultures is an epistemological border patrol ( 5 )  See  Matthew  Fuller.in variations: how to continue and develop Kittler’ s inspiring accounts of media and time. from typewriters to electric typewriters. and complemented with his 1970s synthesizer building. The investigations carried out under the inluence of Foucault ( and Lacan early on ) are mappings of the contemporary. 8 / issue 3. this explains why his theory’ s relation to the anthropotechnics tradition from Leroi-Gourhan to Simondon. Especially the latter is often undertaken outside of universities: much of the Kittlerian spirit ( to use a counterintuitive term for someone who wanted to chase spirits out of Geisteswissenschaften ) can still be seen in hacktivist practices. on an international level. The Cold Model of Structure. ( 6 ) Friedrich Kittler. 379. but it was still a systematic way of dealing with media historical topics in the present that did not consider technology a mere externality. Indeed. to computers that expressed the internalized Nietzschean mantra. through the archival. His approach never assured that the facts were necessarily correct in the end. Kittler has thoroughly inluenced much of post-cultural studies media theory and media ecology over the past several years in Britain.  Media  Ecologies. one can already speak of the two forms of Foucauldean inluences of the 1970s mobilizing into what was later called media archaeology: 1 ) a descent in the historical sense. his work is giving rise to further variations on the theme of › media ecology ‹. For later commentators.

 Understanding Media. [ nach den Medien ].«11 Siegfried Zielinski’ s most recent book [ Nach den Medien ] seems to develop this thought in the same vein. a radical opening of the analytical domain to any kind of medial process.operation that at least implicitly produces lists of media: » What are media ? « is a question answered through the various operations in which it is being exercised. is utilized and defended as property but it is no longer a coveted object of desire. 15. Eva Horn. note 10. There Is No Media.12 » Now the media exist in superabundance. Zürich 2011.9 Pushing the boundaries of media studies has even created a discourse of media studies in the past tense. Indeed. Was waren Medien. has been more productive and theoretically challenging than any attempt. p. 27–29. Nachrichten vom ausgehenden zwanzigsten Jahr­ hundert. at answering the question of what media are. 6–13. ( 8 ) Marshall McLuhan. in the Kulturtechniken debates ) have successfully expanded the deinition of media beyond mass media. ( 9 ) Bernhard Siegert. an archive of what counts as media. in: Grey Room 29. given the long-term political attacks by conservative voices against such new disciplines – the idea that there is no media actually aims to capture the pragmatic aspects of how to approach the materiality of the object. In this speciic sense the media have ( 7 ) Bernard Siegert. ( 10 ) See Claus Pias ( eds.8 The list is expansionist. 2008. The Extensions of Man. The Map is the Territory.). for instance. in:  Grey Room 29. trans. in the sense that media studies as a discipline has appropriated not only historiographical methods ( Foucault and new historicism led to media archaeology ) but also those of anthropology and other humanities ields. however convincing. What has now turned into a given that is at one’ s disposal. 2008. There is no Media. Berlin 2011. there is certainly no lack.. p. For the thoroughly media-conditioned individuals they cannot possibly be the stuff that obsessions are made of any longer. and as such. 8. For McLuhan in Understand­ ing Media nearly ifty years ago. Methodological choices are always ways of producing stable objects. Cacography or Communication ? Cultural Techniques in German Media  Studies. Geoffrey Winthrop­Young. In a similar way to what McLuhan achieved. ( 11 ) Horn. ( 12 ) Siegfried Zielinski. cf. to practices of technology that condition formations of knowledge and serve as a historical ontology7 for current investigations too. g.10 Rather than expressing a nihilistic sentiment intended to close down media studies departments – something that one might suspect in the UK. Radical Philosophy 169. p. clothes and clocks. p. ( September / October  169 ). German-based media studies such as Kittler’ s and many more recent ones ( e. London – New York  1964 / 2001. it meant extending the deinition of media to allow for analyses of roads and housing. instead of closing the discipline down by deinition – an ontological project – Eva Horn posits the lack of media in media studies as a radical opening: » Perhaps such an anti-ontological approach to media. as well as claims that the notion itself has become redundant: » What were the media ? « becomes as pertinent a question as the claim that » there is no media «.  72 Green Media Times: Friedrich Kittler and Ecological Media History .

and his meticulous close readings of analog and digital technical media. his observation targets a contemporary analysis of the globalization of digital economy as a loating signiier through which » media « can assume any meaning. p. p. who provided a short memorial reminder on Kittler’ s behalf: » One of his most prominent demands was that nowadays people should not only be obliged to learn to read and write. in: Continent issue 3:1. Sean Cubitt’ s work has  also been pioneering in this ield. After writing whole books about the subtle effects and inner-political aspects of ( 13 )  Ibid. However. Indeed.). and materials ? Discourses of media obsolescence. Through the monumental exertions of the twentieth century. see Garnet Hertz and Jussi Parikka.livingbooksaboutlife. infrastructure.g.com / index. Oxford 2012. 45 / 5.become superluous / redundant.  The  Materiality  of  Information  Technology  and  Waste. http: // w ww. in: Oliver Grau..  The  Media  Have  Become  Super­ luous. » zombie media «.org / books / M edianatures [ last accessed on 29. In the words of Markus Krajewski. Circuit Bending  Media Archaeology Into An Art Method. the issue of environmental dangers of chemicals and metals feels removed from discussions of media materiality. 2013 ]. 09. with his occasionally heavy emphasis on war. dead media. the environment. where issues of media waste and the environmental load of  advanced technologies must be considered in relation to global media governance. 2012. what if one takes the last part of his critique literally and begins to examine all the used up and spent media technological devices. Leonardo vol. media materiality – and this is a necessary simpliication for my purposes here – has been successfully expanded and intensiied by media theoretical accounts such as Kittler’ s. and waste: Jennifer Gabrys.  2011. It is now also one of the required fundamental cultural techniques to understand how computers can be directed. 21–26.continentcontinent. Imagery in the 21st Cen­ tury. this approach implied a focus on the engineering and scientiic contexts of technical media. Zombie Media. In Kittler’ s work. It will sufice to recall his early notes on the need to update Foucault’ s archaeology to methodologically suit the technical media age ( instead of focusing solely on books and archives ). and therefore. A Natural History of Electronics. especially his writings from the 1980s and 1990s.14 At irst. Greening the Media. 73 Jussi Parikka . with Thomas Veigl. they have also become time­ worn / shopworn / used up / spent.«13 Zielinski laments the disappearance of the critical moment from the promise of media.  Sean Cubitt.  Digital Rubbish. 2013. I will not recapitulate Kittler’ s main points in detail here. ( 14 ) On zombie media. a new arena of media history has opened up that eschews worn out statements about the primacy of mass media. Ann Arbor 2011. 2013 ]. but it actually provides positive feedback that helps expand our thinking about media materiality. media history has also concentrated on speciic ways of understanding materiality. and calls attention to the abundance of media-related discourse that itself is emptied of any particular critical force.. 424–430. e. his suggestion to update Lacan by incorporating the symbolic logic of information technology.  Translation  from:  Siegfried  Zielinski.  p. See. Cambridge / M A 2011. In short. For general  references to some recent literature on media. Jussi Parikka ( ed. 16. Media­ natures. and more recently. take up this speculation. Current Screens. 09. However.php / conti­ nent / article / view / 136 [ last accessed on 29. which acknowledge the environmental hazards that technologies carry with them. as do an increasing number of accounts in media analysis.  Richard Maxwell and Toby Miller.  online  book  under  http: // w ww.

 149. is not only related to media devices and infrastructures ? Should we also attend to the broken and discarded machines. These are critically mapped and discussed by Geoffrey Winthrop Young: » And since  there is a lot to fear in Kittler he has acquired an impressive litany of labels: techno­deter­ minist. ( 18 ) Kittler. anti­humanist. similar ideas have guided post-Kittler developments in media archaeology. reactionary modernist. 2011. it is not only the choice of hardware objects based on the primacy of the materiality of the technological – and hence the pejorative accounts that condemn Kittler as a hardware fetishist masquerading as a media historian – but also the methodology itself that is based on this primacy: the historical methodology that begins with Shannon and Weaver’ s mathematical theory of communication. in: Thesis Eleven 107 / 1. p. including how historical time has been transposed as technological time: the › Eigenzeit ‹ of the machine as a speciic instance of microtemporality. Kittler. and so on.  Amsterdam 1997.  p. in:  Thesis Eleven 107 / 1. minerals and metals as a metallurgical prelude to media before its time. ( 20 ) Cf. 74 Green Media Times: Friedrich Kittler and Ecological Media History . there is another sort of media materiality attached to different temporalities that escapes most of these accounts. 380. in Literature. Kittler demanded an equal level of knowledge in writing computer sources among students. paradoxically. to a point beyond which it is no longer history in the traditional sense. ( 17 )  Kittler’ s  reception  in  the  Anglosphere  has  often  been  characterized  by  pejorative  accounts. « Kittler. the historical method and the archival moment are to be subsumed only to the logic of technical media. Gleichursprünglichkeit. Eurocentric Heideggerian clone. which was always a metaphor for the possibility of written inscription. disgruntled literary scholar  suffering from a strong case of physics envy. Heidegger. understanding C and Assembler. Media.«18 In different ways. 43–45. On Kittler Applied: A Technical Memoir of a Speciic Coniguration in  the 1990s. Berlin 2012. The Cold Model of Structure. Optical Media.16 As suggested above. as Wolfgang Ernst suggests.17 Kittler summarized this idea in the speculation that » [ p ]erhaps telecommunications brings history itself. ( 15 ) Markus Krajewski. Zeitwesen und Zeitgegebenheite technischer  Medien. and the whole corporate logic in which technicity is hidden. too. and what if there is another materiality of the media which. military fetishist. Bogeyman: Kittler in the anglosphere.19 However. p. like those in [ Gilles Deleuze and Felix  Guattari’ s ]  Anti­Oedipus – may have been what united us.«15 The nucleus of this knowledge comprises the painstaking cultural techniques of coding. p. ( 16 ) See Friedrich Kittler. and the wider computer infrastructure that governs knowledge. and intellectuals. Indeed. scholars. in an interview: » The fact that Foucault and I had such an interest in functio­ ning machines – as opposed to broken ones. ( 19 ) Wolfgang Ernst.«  Geoffrey Winthrop­Young. p. 2011. Krautrock. cf. what if there is a way of tapping into media temporality other than that of the machinic time. to obsolescence ? 20 Should we pay attention to material things that are not yet media in the traditional sense ? This might imply a focus on rocks. London 2009. Similar to the way in which writing in the age of word processing is subsumed under the logic of executable commands.alphabetization [ … ]. leads from a media-theoretical intervention to media historical methods. note 4. algorithmic thinking. Information Systems. 35. 8. There is No Media.

 Pinto. too. Here.. media studies as a discipline is founded on objects that it. media ecology also implies rethinking the temporal regimes of media technologies themselves. contains materials that leak not only into nature but also into media theoretical accounts. mercury. arsenic. one opens up a different sort of media historical / temporal horizon. but rather to the concrete connections that media as technology has to resources ( as in the Heideggerian concept of » standing in reserve « ) and nature. which comprise one set of material conditions that extend media materiality to media ecology. In short.21 This sense of materiality exists in a systems-theoretical loop. silver. N. wood. g.  in: Claus Pias ( ed. whereas there are certain contexts that are increasingly important to considerations about which materialities and temporalities of media interest us analytically. But it remains clear. we encounter not only an alternative materiality but also an alternative temporality of media. 65–70. and to the afterlife of media technological waste. including media events. These new objects also necessitate broadening media historical inquiry. for instance. as a matter of environmental importance as well.Ecology as Non-Mediatic Media Materialism Kittler’ s media historical framework has paved the way for a reconsideration of media materiality. this is where the expansion of what counts as media materiality feeds back into the question of what temporalities count for our horizons of media history. has posited as media. ( 22 ) Axel Volmar ( ed. ( 21 ) Wolfgang Hagen. However. the media ecological context has been increasingly broached in recent media theory. by toxic screen technologies. this new perspective corresponds to the environmental urgency of electronic waste as a global problem.). and media history. Indeed. cloud computing’ s massive use of CO2-releasing energy. On the other end of the spectrum. ( 23 ) V. as well as other environmental factors that condition digital technologies: e. Coltan is the » conlict mineral « that appears in accounts by several recent theorists. screen studies. E­waste Hazard: The Impending Challenge. Berlin 2009. in: Indian Journal of Occupatio­ nal and Environmental Medicine. so to speak. gold. Aside from an interest in the current ecological problems caused. that we must consider an expanding list of objects. 75 Jussi Parikka . hexavalent chromium. media ecology does not refer to ideas stemming from the Canadian school of media studies from McLuhan to Neil Postman. Zürich 2011. cerium. Zeitkritische Medien. Through a selection of what sort of objects media studies deals with. and lame retardants. 94. as well as a speciic understanding of the temporal nature of technical media. cadmium. but there are dozens of others which are of importance for geopolitical and material reasons: lanthanum. neodymium. such as coal and raw materials. which can be found in electronic waste management manuals as well as in a document distributed to health oficials enumerating the toxic materials inside information technology. yttrium. Indeed.23 A list like this one.22 we might use the theoretical seeds as an impetus to broaden this agenda further toward the non-mediatic basis of technical media: from minerals to the scientiic development of synthetic materials. palladium. 2008 ( 2 ). selenium. Wie is eine » eigentlich so zu nennende « Medienwissenschaft möglich ?. p. copper. itself. it concentrates on speciic technological and scientiic frameworks. For instance. As noted above. who paved the way for an expansion of material questions and methodologies. August 12. one could include rare earth minerals necessary for the speciic effects of audiovisuality. Was Waren Medien. aluminum. as relevant to our analyses. In a similar way to Kittler. plywood. one could consider media studies to include objects such as plastics. p.). lead.

in the form of LCD and LED displays. This is a different sort of remediation culture than some earlier uses of the term have indicated. In short. which inluenced historical methodology. which played a role in the world of human affairs through architecture and other formations. Whether in a state of decay or preservation. Gabrys formulates it as follows: » Any museum or archive in which electronics are held is a collection of repeated obsolescence and breakdown. Kittler does not neglect this topic altogether. ( 26 ) Manuel Delanda. since approximately the middle of the nineteenth century.«27 ( 24 ) Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin. and combine a Kittlerian media history of physics with Manuel Delanda’ s call for a thousand years of non-linear history. Its epistemological shift is one of an episteme that expands to the grounding scientiic cultures in which the wider set of materialities are to be discovered. ( 25 ) Kittler.and praseodymium are examples of what makes our media truly media. we need to ask: why stop here ? If we take a more courageous step forward. too. many of which are concentrated in China. 32. p. he wanted to move from the body to the realm of materials and physics. perhaps we should examine copper and copper mines. ( 27 ) Gabrys. Cambridge / M A 2000. and even lirts with the idea of a social history of mineralisation. and I have elaborated on it in terms of the » general accident of digital culture «. note 18. Along with new mines.26 The point becomes even clearer if we relate it to media waste. 76 Green Media Times: Friedrich Kittler and Ecological Media History . But failure is only one part of this story. 104. instead of networking technologies. or even on the time of inventions. there is also the widespread illegal business of rare earth mineral mining.«25 However. too. Optical Media. Digital Rubbish. We should expand the media history discourses and practices of framing time inside museums and collections of objects to failures. for example. Aside from the oficial mines. after all. Cam­ bridge / M A 2000. breakdowns and the broken. note 14. we enter a new temporal horizon. His physics and complexity theory. p. is also driving historians such as Fernand Braudel toward new non-human regimes. Delanda’ s project mapped non-human agencies. one can reuse mines that already exist: an old copper mine might turn out to be rich in indium. including rocks. This tendency is evident. It does not focus on the use-time of media anymore. In a way. Scholars such as Jennifer Gabrys have argued that media waste pushes dead media and obsolescence discourse into new and interesting areas. when we enter into this ield of physics. which is part of visual culture. cf. cf. A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History. This is an argument that Jennifer Gabrys makes as well. in the Optical  Media lectures of the late 1990s: » The only thing that remains is to take the concept of media from there – in a step also beyond McLuhan – to where it is most at home: the ield of physics in general and telecommunications in particular. obsolete devices begin to express tales that are about something other than technical evolution. Remediation: Understanding New Media.24 This collection of media objects – a kind of a media history of the materialities of media from minerals to discarded and waste objects – includes a change of horizon.

cadmium. there is the hardness of which the hardware is composed: the aforementioned lists of materials. perhaps we need concepts to account for the multiple materialities at play when considering media history – a laminated ontology of multiple levels which allows us to speak with ease about the different aspects of media across code..30 This question is also about ontologies: what is the ontology of media historical materiality. rather. 163–164. afiliated with software cultures and information understood mathematically. which do not proceed merely from the alternatives of acceleration vs. more signiicantly.31 Green( er ) media technologies is a topic that has moved from the policy and awareness agendas of NGOs to the academic work of media scholars as well. So this is not just a story about the vaporization of » all that is solid «. p. Berry. copper.Gabrys underscores another aspect of media temporality.Gabrys suggests including speculative questions such as: can we gain a new perspective on media history from the point of view of dust ? What is the temporality of dust – and then. which are » substances thicker and more enduring than any transcription of ones and zeros «. Greening the Media. and waste constitutes one pole of the discussions relating ( 28 ) Ibid. interfaces. in response to accusations about the hardware fetishism of media historical methods. I would add. p. one might say that we have never been hard  enough. toxins and others that contribute to an ecological and environmental awareness of technical media. 88. the topic of green media technologies may be able to offer theoretical innovation. mercury and lead. p. 77 Jussi Parikka . 60–63.«29 In other words. As Gabrys puts it. Throw away plastic to discover it lasts for an ice age. aside from concrete empirical work and a challenge to contemporary media policy. but arise out of a more complex mix of materialities that » time «. what are the speciic temporalities that media technology produce on the level of materials and toxins ? This is one speciic attempt to tackle the issue of speed. and brominated lame retardants. However. note 14. in which the surface of ephemerality. Discussing media. what is its focus. The balance of time shifts. ( 29 ) Gabrys. and on which » metal « does materiality focus ? In short. The instant plastic package creates new geologies. it suggests that new forms of solidity – new types of » hardware « – emerge with the program of disposability. Maxwell and Miller elaborate on this point in detail in Greening the Media. environmental concerns. » [ m ]aterials are caught in a tension between the quick and the slow. What is Media Archaeology ? Cambridge 2012. cf.28 as well as beryllium. ( 31 ) David M. We now have mountains of congealed carbon polymers. ecology. hardware and. which offers a researched perspective on the chemical and material basis of media. See  also Jussi Parikka. Critical Theory and the Digital. This reply refers to the fact that aside from the hardware of media technologies. and instead of increasing speed. we might examine the slowness of material decomposition. note 14. 87. it instead reveals new spaces of permanence. Ephemerality can only hold at one level. Entirely new landscapes are built up around the fallout from the momentary and the disposable. p. is embedded in speciic materialities of modernity: such media materials include plastic. cf. obsolescence. and even labour. from mass-manufactured paper to networks and technological screens. ( 30 ) Maxwell and Miller. New York – London 2014. Digital Rubbish. This approach involves a mix of temporalities.

 Winchester School of Art. we could speak about the copper inside cables or the gutta percha insulating them in the nineteenth century. toxic phosphors. and even energy consumption ? This would mean that a » Green Kittler « would not imply a Kittler that is any less hardware-oriented – perhaps this ield would be even harder.  ( 32 ) However. knowledge of screen technologies here becomes a question of energy consumption. note 14. LCD and plasma-screens. cf. is a curious example of epistemological concepts / objects shifting across disciplinary boundaries in twenty-irst century academic debates. ( 33 ) See Cubitt. S. emphasising the emergence of  a new geological era because of human actions. vectors and bit mapping. barium ) and energy consumption. itself. one of the concepts which. with its focus on the rocks.. Instead of speaking of networks. spectacle and emergence of visual culture – but which also are intensive risks in terms of their components ( lead. Current Screens. we need to remember that in the 1870s. but rather one that has been inluenced by the more science-sensitive Kittler and that has been pushed toward an environmental agenda. for example: the knowledge that LCD -technology reliance on mercury-vapor luorescent backlights consumes less energy than electroluminescent phosphors. to the world of chemicals and materials. minerals and materials of which media is constituted. ( 34 ) Ibid. 78 Green Media Times: Friedrich Kittler and Ecological Media History . Similar to the way in which historians like Dipash Chakrabarty have called attention to the need to reconsider the ield of history in relation to its Other – that is. 22–28. instead of screens and computer graphics. and the agency attributed to the scientiic basis of technical media. natural history – media history should also be able to reconvene around shared topics and concerns that attach it to ecology. but it might present new ways to think about media history. This does not imply the media ecology we inherited from McLuhan and Postman.32 But perhaps Kittler’ s media historical impetus toward materiality can provide a way to address the emerging concept of the anthropocene. and whose histories are those of minerals. a detail pointed out by Sean Cubitt. in light of Kittler’ s own legacy. A » green Kittler « might not sound correct. to the materials and material sciences on the outskirts of these interests. Media ecology would imply an agenda wherein media materialism shifts from a perspective on devices. Indeed. we could talk about the chemical basis of Cathode Ray Tubes ( CRT ).34 Cubitt implicitly raises the media historical point we are after: should we try to radicalize Kittler’s media historical methodology and push media studies out from its sole focus on media.to the anthropocene. Jussi Parikka teaches at the University of Southampton. a screen media technology that might have accompanied much of our post-World War II lives as part of what theorists then referred to as the simulation. technological inventions. the geologist Antonio Stoppani was  already writing about the anthropozoic era in a similar manner.33 LCD technologies make a difference to CRTs. the soil and geological formations.