If early 20th-century avant-garde poets exploited contemporary media practices in order to undermine the technologies that determined their situation, as Niebisch claims, does that mean that media parasites necessarily operate within the technology of their present? Since Marinetti’s work was primarily concerned with subverting newsprint, film, photography, and other media that shaped the early 20th-century, it would seem that in order to “be” a media parasite, one needs to infiltrate the media of one’s moment. If so, can we practice media parasit-ism(?) on dead media that no longer “determine our situation”?
Thinking back on my recent trips to the MAL, I’m inclined to believe that it’s impossible to subvert dead media – to draw attention to it as media, as Niebisch explains – because my unfamiliarity with older technologies means that I can’t ever see them as anything other than media. Does that make sense? Because they’re not part of my mediated world, they stick out to me as media. So, if the goal of the early avant-garde was to make consumers aware of the media ecologies they inhabited, we need to focus on the technologies that compose our own media ecology. Not to mention that I have enough trouble learning how to operate dead media for its intended purpose, much less subverting it.
And yet, we know there’s something new in the old. Maybe learning to infiltrate dead media could give us better sense of our current media ecology? Can media parasites transcend the ecologies in which they originated?