The fantastic second issue of Amodern — a special issue of “Network Archaeologies” edited by Nicole Starosielski, Braxton Soderman and cris cheek — is now available online. My “Ear to the Wire: Listening to Historic Urban Infrastructures” is in there. Here’s the abstract:
What might media archaeologists of the Kittlerian variety have to learn from archaeologists of the Indiana Jones school? In studying the networked urban environment, there’s much to be gained by taking up trowels and examining the material artifacts of urban communication. This is particularly true in exploring the history of the “sonic city” – the city of radio waves and public address and everyday conversation. The material spaces in which echoes once reverberated can offer invaluable clues about how our cities (re-)sound. We find that our media histories are deeply networked with our urban and architectural histories, and that, in many cases, these cultural and technological forms are mutually constructed.
The issue also features a fantastic synthetic intro (which does what all good intros should do: previews the upcoming attractions, identifies the threads that connect them, and proposes what larger, “meta” insights we can derive by reading across the articles); an interview with Jussi Parikka; an interview with Alan Liu; a magnificent piece by Lisa Gitelman on telephone poles as communications hubs; a sparklingly brilliant piece by Adrian Johns on the information defense industry; another fantastic article by Rory Solomon, based on his thesis research on the “network stack”; a lovely piece by Liam Young on lists (a favorite topic of mine, too); as well as other no-less-impressive contributions by Brooke Belisle (on railroads and photography), Brian Jacobson (on electrical networks at Gaumont’s Cité Elgé), Veronica Paredes (on historic movie palaces-turned-churches), James Purdon (on the pylon), Sebastian Gießmann (on the London Tube map), Peter Schaefer (on LANs), Alex Ingersoll (on “divining rods” and locative media), John Shiga (on neural networks and dophin communication), Chris Paulsen, Sandra Gabriele (on newspaper archives and microfiche), and two pieces by John Cayley; as well as a piece on comic book scans jointly authored by Darren Wershler, Kalervo Sinervo, and Shannon Tien.