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Susan Schuppli

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Entangled Matters

My PhD thesis is theorised as an “ontology of the output” my research project conceptually repurposes media machines in order to activate new or alternate entanglements between historical media artefacts and events. Although the particular circumstances that produced these materials may have changed, the project asks why these analogue media artefacts might still be a matter of concern. What is their relevance for problematizing debates within media philosophy today and by extension the politics that underscore the operations of the digital? Does the analogue as I intuit have the capacity to release history and propose alternate pathways through mediatic time?

Case Studies:

ARCHIVAL FUTURES considers the missing or ‘silent’ erasure of 18-1⁄2 minutes in Watergate Tape No. 342 (1972).

TELE-TRANSMISSIONS explores the 14-minute audio transmission produced by the Muirhead K220 Picture Transmitter to relay the image of napalm victim Kim Phúc from Saigon to Tokyo (June 8 1972).

RADIOLOGICAL EVENTS examines thirty-three seconds of irradiated film shot at Chernobyl Reactor Unit 4 by the late Soviet filmmaker Vladimir Shevchenko (April 26 1986).

This research turns upon a reconsideration of the ontological temporalities of media matter; a concern both in and with time which acknowledges that each of the now historic machinic artefacts and related case studies have always-already been entangled with the present and coming events of the future. The thesis project as such performs itself as a kind of “tape cut- up” that reorganises and consequently troubles the historical record by bringing ostensibly unrelated events into creative juxtaposition with one another. Recording asserts temporality; it is the formal means by which time is engineered, how it is both retroactively repotentialised and prospectively activated. Recording in effect produces a saturated ontology of time in which the reverberations of past, present, and future elide to become enfolded within the temporal vectors of the artefact.

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