Strata of Sentience: Deep Mapping the Media City (2015)

On February 24, 2015, I offered a preview of my Deep Mapping the Media City booklet as part of the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities’ Digital Dialogues series. You can watch the video here.

While “smart” cities and urban “sentience” seem to be products of new networked technologies, our cities have actually been mediated, and intelligent, for millennia. They’ve long been shaped by their roles as substrates for and containers of mediation, and they’ve long reflected the logics, politics, and aesthetics of their prevailing communications technologies. I advocate for an “urban media archaeology,” a materialist, multisensory approach to exploring the deep material history – that is, a cultural materialist history that acknowledges the physicality, the “stuff” of history and culture – of our media cities. This talk offers a preview of Deep Mapping the Media City, a book forthcoming (in March 2015) from the University of Minnesota Press’s Forerunners series, in which I investigate our material urban spaces as infrastructures for mediation, and I propose that archaeological tools, like excavation and mapping, might help us to acknowledge and understand our smart, mediated cities in the longue durée.