Networked Screens: Topologies of Distance and Media Regime of Immunization
Keywords:transcendence, technical mediation, meta-operation, plasticity, self-reference
Media theory usually foregrounds transmission, storage, and processing as elementary media operations, neglecting the role media play in protecting living beings. However, the biopolitical and discursive reactions to the spread of Covid-19 have evidenced how protection and establishing safe distances can be implicated in the media process of transmission, which viral infection is, basically. Takingthe window photos reacting to the pandemic-induced isolation in early 2020 as a starting point, I propose to examine the dynamics of distance and proximity by focusing on the protective functionalities of small networked screens. Today, networked screens such as laptops, tablets, smartphones, or television dominate our everyday and personal media use. Their omnipresence and our permanent attachment to them became even stronger during the Corona crisis, giving the screens new political significance. Placed between the self and the world, screens are able to cocreate protective topologies of distance and, thus, to fulfill immunitary functions in addition to their communicative and connective ones. In order to elaborate on this double operativity, I will draw on etymological, media archaeological, and media theoretical understandings of screens as protective ‘shields’, ‘barriers’, and ‘filters’ and combine them with the philosophical perspectives on immunization developed by Roberto Esposito and Peter Sloterdijk.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Olga Moskatova
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