reviews Insect Media

By Michael Dieter

For networked societies, emergent intelligence and swarms have taken on important explanatory power in terms of highly distributed modes of behavior, ranging over contexts and discussions as wide as military theory, economics, the development of software algorithms, political organisation and user-led content generation. Indeed, as new media theorists Alexander Galloway and Eugene Thacker have argued, the recurring power of this bestial figuration today demands historical clarification beyond being simply a naïve metaphor applied to digital and networked technologies. Jussi Parikka's Insect Media: An Archaeology of Animals and Technology can be read as taking up precisely this invitation by excavating a critical past for the weird intersections between insects and (late) modern technologies. For the record, one great advantage of this curious text is the command Parikka has over contemporary media theory: expect an excellent crash course not only in entomology, but debates occurring in software studies, network theory, new materialism and (of course) media archaeology.

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