2015 Special Focus: Media Materiality: Towards Critical Economies of “New” Media

When speaking about “new” media, the claim to newness draws meaning from what is supposed to be the peculiar nature of digital technologies. This narrative is mirrored in the analysis of a historical shift from an industrial age, based in the logic of mass factory production and uniform consumption, to an information age centered on the production and communication of information. In an industrial logic “material” referred primarily to a critique of a political economy of real objects, whereas “immaterial” referred to a politics of identity and culture.

In 2015, the special focus for The Image Knowledge Community will be centered on a series of cascading questions. For example, could the lens of “media materiality” be a productive way to view the flows of political economy, identity, and sexuality in the context of a critical analysis of what is “new” in the new media? How can one address the intersection, co-dependency, and interplay of media materiality and immateriality? And, how do we understand the production, consumption, and distribution of images in an age of “new“ compared to “old“ media? How might we frame critical economies of “new media in relation to the legacy, rebirth, and re-imagination of “old“ media?