Jacob Gaboury Co-Edits Critical Inquiry

25 May, 2023

Jacob Gaboury Co-Edits Critical Inquiry

Weihong Bao, Daniel Morgan, and our own Jacob Gaboury co-edited a special issue of Critical Inquiry on Medium/Environment.

From the introduction:

Ecological crises provoked by technological transformations under the pressure of capitalism have prompted a move toward new modes of environmental thinking within the humanities and social sciences. A critical locus has been media studies, where the environmental quality of media as that which surrounds and connects us—along with the resource-intensive requirements for the production and circulation of media forms—has led to a dramatic refiguring of the discipline’s objects and methods. As technologies saturate our planet, media have ballooned to take up our entire living sphere. Our living environment—air, earth, ocean, sky—has become saturated by media technologies ranging from planetary satellites, undersea cables, surveillance cameras, and ubiquitous screens, such that our understanding ofmedium has come to be theorized in environmental terms. Here, medium is not a static object. More than a set of discrete technologies, the very concept of a medium has evolved into a complex ecology with flexible boundaries, seen most readily in the context of infrastructures, systems, and networks. Taken in this expansive frame, all media may be understood as environmental. This does not mean that media simply reflect or mediate nature as it has been historically constructed—a familiar argument within critical theory—but rather that all environments, natural or artificial, become sites for the mediation of living systems. It is a seismic shift in the conceptual frame of a discipline, as well as modern life, that poses a basic question. How is it that these terms have become so broadly coconstitutive, and how does their dialectical relation transform the very notion of our contemporary media environment?

Read the full article here!