The New Inquiry: Media Matters

Silicon Valley’s rhetoric of magical innovation relies on a hidden abode of rare earth mining and hydro-cooled server farms. A review of Jussi Parikka's A GEOLOGY OF MEDIA.

A Geology of Media by Jussi ParikkaBEFORE you continue reading this review, sit for a minute. Take stock of the device you are using to read these words. Are you reading on a laptop, on a smartphone, or a tablet? How did this particular device arrive in your life? Can you visualize the supply chains that carried it along? Whose hands fashioned it before it arrived in yours? Do you know what chemicals, minerals, and raw materials were involved in making it? Can you imagine the ways that such a labor process lingers on in workers’ bodies and in the effects it has on environments? Our devices have become part and parcel of our everyday, intimate lives, and the more that they become data sensors for an increasingly hungry digital capitalism the more they know about us. Yet what do we know about the lives (and afterlives) of our devices?

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Published in: The New Inquiry
By: Karen Gregory