Eugene Thacker
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"Appropriate Technology: Artificial Products, Mediation, and Streaming Media"

Streaming media embody one of the more prevalent paradoxes of digtial culture: live streaming events over the Web are simultaneously real-time events (in the manner that music concerts or theatre performances are), but they are also saturated with complex notions of distance, absence, remoteness (technological mediations which include networks, bandwidth, software, computer interfaces). Here the already complex notion of presence is infused with and constituted through technological mediation, a tension inherent within the notion of mediation itself (the distance or buffering which also establishes a connection). Streaming media are thus put into a unique space of immediacy (live, real-time event) and mediation (cybercasting via the medium of computer and networking technologies). Mainstream, commercial media rarely even recognize this tension, presenting media as simply transparent and immediate (we are seing this happen now with the incorporation of RealVideo). One of the tasks of the artist or cultural activist would be, then, to highlight and investigate this tension - a tension not only at the heart of streaming media technology, but a tension indicative of digital culture generally.

Eugene Thacker teaches technology & culture at Rutgers University, where he directs [techne] New Media & Digital Arts. He is currently working on a book entitled "Bioinformatic Bodies: Biopolitics, Biotech, & the Discourse of the Posthuman." He is a member of Fakeshop and a contributing editor at The Thing.