The Mundania Files

Waiting for Events

¶ When catastrophe happen in fiction, it is often dramatic. It comes as a sudden event. The Netflix-series The Rain (2018) is about a virus, spread through rainfall. It all starts in Copenhagen. The series is full of alluring ruin footage, simultaneously beautiful and horrifying. A postapocalyptic Greater Copenhagen Area. The infrastructure, so familiar for the ones living in the region, demolished, abandoned, ruined. 

¶ The Rain is like a dark mirrorworld of the Corona-world. The oneliner in the trailer: ”You never know when your world is about to change”, bunkers, isolation, a killing virus, civilisation wiped out. The usual formula of postapocalyptic thrillers. Everything twisted into dramatic terror and bombastic disaster.

¶ The occurrences around COVID-19 were dramatic, to some extent. But for many people, not immediately struck by the virus or its chain reactions, life was characterised by slowness. Everyday life had changed, but most of the change seemed to take place somewhere else. People stayed at home, in ”the small world”. Waiting for events. Looking for signs of a coming change. Surfing curves and evaluating prophesies. Listening to the pleas from authorities, pleas for collective discipline: Follow rules and recommendations. People were trying to comprehend Lock-down society or the metrics and practices of social distancing. Associations to war-time were evoked. But the front was ephemeral, somewhat manifested in the Intensive Care Units in hospitals, the healthcare workers being the heroes of confined worlds. The catastrophic was lurking like an undertow running below the mundane. Drama was hinted at in the news. A liminal state, waiting, a state of buffering. 

¶ Buffering occur while a stream of data loaded in advance of a rendered online-video is choked. As a watcher you are forced into a state of waiting, while the flow of events in the video is paused.

¶ Buffering is the digital technological equivalent of the philosphical concept becoming, a state through which humans are not merely being, but all the time becoming. Humans are becoming through living, experiencing, perceiving and thinking together with the things of the world, immersed in a continous flow of impermanence and flux.

¶ Anthropologist Tim Ingold, drawing on philosphers like Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, have contemplated on the way that humans live life as a kind of go-along or entanglement together with things, materialities and various entities. “To know things you have to grow into them, and let them grow in you, so that they become a part of who you are”[1] This is a transformative process, a process of self-discovery/learning about things and the world. You learn and become who you are through cohabitation with things and entities.

¶ Sociologist Deborah Lupton, when writing about the ways people live with the data that is generated by them, expounds on Ingold’s approach by stressing that he:

…contends that material artefacts are never fixed or completed. Because they are open to new meanings and uses, they are always in a process of becoming something else. As they move into new or different contexts, artefacts change in meaning, even if not always in shape.[2]

¶ When living with networked digital technologies, the process of becoming is conjoined with the properties and manifestations of the technology. One such property is buffering. A feedback loop might occur between human becoming and technological buffering. A movement along with technology, through which human lingering is conjoined with technological buffering.

¶ Buffering is a major theme in author Tom McCarthy’s novel Satin Island.[3] The novel is an intriguing account of the life of a corporate anthropologist during the 2010’s. The protagonist U., with a background in university-based anthropology, has left academic life to work in a corporation. He’s doing applied or corporate anthropology. The book delivers some good and quite witty analyses of anthropological practice in a corporate world:

What does an anthropologist working for business actually do? We purvey cultural insight. What does that mean? It means that we unpick the fibre of a culture (ours), its weft and warp – the situations it throws up, the beliefs that underpin and nourish it – and let a client in on how they can best get traction on this fibre so that they can introduce into the weave their own fine, silken thread, strategically embroider or detail it with a mini-narrative (a convoluted way of saying: sell their product).

Satin Island. page: 20-21.

¶ U. works on an extensive and open-ended-project called “The Great Report”. Inspired by early anthropologists, especially Claude Lévi-Strauss and dreams about the combinatory and general intellectual work of polymaths such as 17th and 18th Century Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, U. tries to find a secret logic behind the overwhelming flows of data, information and goods in the world. He formulates something called Present Tense Anthropology.[4]

¶ Through Present Tense anhropology U. collects a wide array of stories and vignettes about everything from oil spills to dead parachuters. But all the time, the endeavour is characterized by a kind of preparation for something, a kind of lurking anticipative atmosphere, a state of suspension, buffering.[5] The growing diverse collection of material for The Great report is there as potential seeds, from which narratives could sprout. But not quite yet.

¶ This mindset, through which all actions and experiences are lived while preparing for how the experiences can be presented for others in the future, characterize the novel. A mindset or a kind of social media-ethos, through which experiences are always lived in a reflexive state aimed at potential future Instagram-posts or Tweets. Provisional renditions. Mundane suspension. Material collected and composed to eventually be used in the future. An uncertain future.

Tom Mccarthy made this video for BBC Newsnight, as an extension of the novel Satin Island. It’s about concepts from the novel, about buffering and the role of corporate anthropology in a data-saturated world.

¶ Buffering also characterized Corona-2020. Now it was at a large scale, societal, collective level. The overwhelming flows, the wide-ranging mobility of airports and bustling tourist sites from the Satin Island-novel had been brought to an almost standstill. Instead of flow and mobility: Buffering.

 The real action taking place in caring units and among people fighting the virus or handling the collateral damage. Or in the improvisatory work of organisations that hastily had to reorganise. Preparing for the worst, while hoping for the best. In the obfuscated work taking place beneath the surface, beyond grasp in datacenters, in the electronic circuitry, and among often neglected sectors of service- and maintenance-work. For many people, the crises meant enormous stress and arduous work. Except that: buffering.

 Waiting or buffering can be especially charged when living in a society characterised by “change imaginaries”, by rapid change, speeed and expectations of instant delivery. In the book The Secret World of Doing Nothing, ethnologists Billy Ehn and Orvar Löfgren make an extensive analysis of the role of waiting, impatience and boredom in Western culture. They argue that:

It is difficult to know if we wait more or less patiently than people did in earlier times, but in an era where “time is money” and where we have become accustomed to immediate gratification any wait can feel as if one had been waiting “for an eternity.” The modern landscape of impatience takes on emotional charges–irritation, restlessness, anxiety, boredom, and longing–as well as evokes ideological debates.

Ehn, Billy & Löfgren, Orvar (2010). The Secret World of Doing Nothing. Berkeley: University of California Press. page 209.

¶ Waiting is something humans always have done, but the way it is experienced, imagined, discussed and handled varies depending on time, space and context. During the Corona-crises waiting got its special characteristics. In debates and discussions the frustrated question about “how long will this last” was recurrently asked. What are we waiting for? What is the prognosis, how does the curve look, what does the experts say?

¶ The buffering-state is a construct, whose techno-organisational underpinnings have to work to keep the circle spinning. Or, buffering will turn into a full stop. But when it works, when the societal buffering-circle spin, we are in a digitally engendered state of preparation and premediation. Waiting for some eventful future.

[1] Ingold, Tim (2013) Making. Anthropology, Archaeology, Art and Architecture. London: Routledge. Page 1.

[2] Lupton, Deborah (2018). How do data come to matter? Living and becoming with personal data. Big Data & Society5(2), 205395171878631.

[3] McCarthy, Tom (2015) Satin Island. London: Jonathan Cape. See also: Devin Thomas O’Shea’s Buffering in Tom McCarthy’s Satin Island. He reflects on Satin Island, buffering and the role of literature and novels in an age of abundant data. He also connects the organisational world of Satin island with Franz Kafka’s The Trial in a convincing manner.

[4] McCarthy was inspired by anthropologist Paul Rabinow and his work (together with Marcus, Faubion and Rees) on methodology in eg. Designs for an anthropology of the Contemporary when writing the novel).

[5] Satin Island evoke a scenario where the protagonist is influenced by the mediations and technologically engendered logics of the (present) world. It has some interesting parallells to the novel Television (1997) by Jean-Philippe Toussaint.

The novel Television was published in French in the 1990’s, and it is a humorous account of that time and of the meaning of TV, when Internet-driven streamed moving media did not yet exist. This is how the novel was described on the cover of the English translation:

The amusingly odd protagonist and narrator of Jean-Philippe Toussaint’s novel is an academic on sabbatical in Berlin to work on his book about Titian. With his research completed, all he has left to do is sit down and write. Unfortunately, he can’t decide how to refer to his subject Titian, le Titien, Vecellio, Titian Vecellio so instead he starts watching TV continuously, until one day he decides to renounce the most addictive of twentieth-century inventions. As he spends his summer still not writing his book, he is haunted by television, from the video surveillance screens in a museum to a moment when it seems everyone in Berlin is tuned in to Baywatch. One of Toussaint’s funniest antiheroes, the protagonist of Television turns daily occurrences into an entertaining reflection on society and the influence of television on our lives.

In Television, the protagonist has stopped watching TV to be able to write his PhD about Titian. It becomes a time of procrastination in Berlin, a suspended state, influenced by the receptive condition induced by the TV. In a review in New York Times, Joy Press describe how procrastination is justified by the protagonist:

…the narrator spews hilariously elaborate justifications for his avoidance of work, at one point bragging that he has, “in a spirit of scholarly scrupulousness and perfectionism, maintained myself for nearly three weeks in a state of perpetual readiness to write, without taking the easy way out and actually doing so.

TV-induced stalling and receptive readiness. This can be considered a predecessor of the Internet-media-induced buffering-state of Satin Island and of the atmosphere of Corona Lock-down in 2020.

Version History

v. 1.01 June 1 2020. Minor language fixes.

v. 1.02 June 15 2020. Minor language and typographic fixes.

The Mundania Files

Curve Surfing

In the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, a joke about “time spent looking at exponential graphs” circulated on social media.

This was surely a time of graphs, charts and curves. Uncertainty made people search for signs, trends and tendencies. Something to hold on to. Credible prognoses. How would it all develop? What could we expect to happen? Would we be able to “flatten the curve” of registered COVID-19 cases and deaths? Would the curve go up, would it go down?

What is this imaginary surfing along curves? Diagrams, charts and graphs. Plots, points and grids. All these abstract representations. Notions of time and some other factor. X- and Y-axes. An imaginary line takes form. It is said to show how something changes over time. Giving direction, capturing the orientation of minds and collectives. Moving, bending, twisting, curving.

A graph can of course have different shapes. A common and widespread version is the S-curve. A shape imagined to show how something changes slightly at the beginning, then how change speeds up exponentially. The curve becomes steeper. Rising towards an imagined top, onward and upwards. Then it gradually becomes almost horisontal. A continued movement towards the right. Moving forward? Progression of time without any notable growth or increase.

The S-curve has been used to show how innovations are spread, how consumers or user adopt novelties.[1] It pictures how, first a smaller group of early adopters are influenced, starts to use or take on something. It all depends on what is counted, but the shape of the curve is more or less universal. After the early adopters comes the majority. Now the curve becomes steeper. Rising upwards, for good or for bad, depending on what the curve represents and who is looking at it. The majority is followed by laggards, the ones coming in late.

The S-curve has been used to show everything from the dissemination and dispersion of certain tools, like rakes in the Swedish countryside during early 20th Century, to the spread of Internet connectivity around year 2000. Twenty years later curves similar to the S-curve were utilised to illustrate virus infections and the development of the pandemic. Seldom have so much statistics and numbers been transformed to curves and graphs, then projected, disseminated, discussed, used, interpreted and misinterpreted.

The chart and the curve. Their suggestive power comes from the simplistic imaginaries they evoke. Complex processes and conditions transmuted into visual objects and shapes within the frame of a chart. Organised in a grid. Representing amounts, levels and size. What is off-grid does not exist in this evocation of a demarcated reality. Straightforward and easy to address as supposed evidence and as weapons of argumentation and persuasion.

Also the sequentiality of curves. The progression and an envisaged one-way direction of change. This is how reality is depicted and collectively imagined in many parts of society. In board rooms, in class rooms, at conferences and meetings.

The use of tools and cognitive aids to imagine, communicate and do knowledge work does of course have a long and multi-faceted history. In a review essay of Reviel Netz’ The Shaping of Deduction in Greek Mathematics: A Study in Cognitive History (2003) Bruno Latour stress the importance of scripto-visual inventions and quote Netz:

I will argue that the two main tools for the shaping of deduction were the diagram, on the one hand, and the mathematical language on the other hand. Diagrams – in the specific way they are used in Greek mathematics – are the Greek mathematical way of tapping human visual cognitive resources. Greek mathematical language is a way of tapping human linguistic resources … But note that there is nothing universal about the precise shape of such cognitive methods. They are not neural; they are a historical construct … One need studies in cognitive history, and I offer here one such study. (pp. 6–7)

Reviel Netz’ The Shaping of Deduction in Greek Mathematics: A Study in Cognitive History (pp. 6-7) as quoted in Bruno Latour (2008) Review Essay: The Netz-Works of Greek Deductions. In:  Social Studies of Science 38 (pp. 441–459)

Here Netz highlights the diagram as a tool for the shaping of deduction, arguing that practices like, what I here call, curve surfing have been crucial collective cognitive techniques. Latour continue to reflect on Netz´ argument:

As can be seen from this quotation, Netz’s materialism is not to be found as in some ‘social construction of mathematics’ in the economical background of classical Greece, but in the intellectual technologies in which so much of science studies today consists. How do you demonstrate something to someone? That is, how do you show it? How do you draw it? How do you point your finger at it while speaking? How do you letter it? How do you gain assent in the absence of your correspondents? How do you share conviction?

Latour, Bruno (2008) Review Essay: The Netz-Works of Greek Deductions. In:  Social Studies of Science 38, pp. 441–459. page 443.

In the spring 2020 and more or less the rest of the year, diagrammatic visualisations were brought up at Corona-press conferences led by authorities as well as in the informational flows in online media. An abstract ride along a curve was imagined and evoked. This practice of curve surfing is one of the most central orientational concepts of modern society. A virus induced an epidemic of curve surfing. A practice that we can trace back to practices of formalism and mathematical deduction thousands of years ago. An imaginary about a common collective journey. Where are we heading, how will it be? We’re on a road to…? Surf’s up, catch the wave of change and ride along. 

[1] The S-curve appear in Everett Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovations (1962), see the post: From Early Adopters to Early Alerters. Several innovation imaginaries evoke change as “the march of new technology”, disruption, technological evolution and “inexorable progress”. The way I address emerging technologies through ideas about mundanisation is however more aligned with ideas about temporal entanglements as discussed by Shannon Mattern in Code and Clay, Data and Dirt (2017). By combining methods from archeology and media-archeology she stress the importance of local variations of media, of different temporalities and evolutionary paths. This create methodological opportunities to study media that also “…necessitate an alternative means of writing history – one that looks beyond revolutions, Great Men’s accomplishments, origin stories, and reductive distinctions between “old” and “new””(Mattern 2017:xxviii) .

Version History

V. 1.1 June 6 2020. Added a paragraph about the suggestive power of charts and graphs. Added an image of diagram-templates, and a part in note 1 referring to Shannon Mattern and her methodological arguments about studying media. Smaller typographic adjustments.

V. 1.2. October 11 2020. Added a quote by Bruno Latour, in which he discusses cognitive tools for deduction, based on Reviel Netz studies of deduction in early greek mathematics.

The Mundania Files

From Early Adopters to Early Alerters

In 2020, during times of sudden enforced physical distancing, people searched for ways to connect socially through new digital services and devices. Adoption of technological novelties became rampant. Transformation abrupt. People searched for new tools, new habits took form. Technological change seeped into everyday life.

These are times when the ones embracing new technologies get attention, when they might act as influencers for a majority searching for new technologically generated solutions and opportunities.

In come the early adopters, sometimes considered the heroes of innovation economies, the avant garde, the pioneers, the trail blazers. Sometimes called Lighthouse Customers or even Alpha Consumers. Embracing the new. Taking some kind of risk by engaging with beta-versions and early versions of technologies under development. The early adopter-concept come from Everett Rogers’ ideas and book about Diffusion of Innovations from 1962.[1] The ideas do not expound on social and cultural complexity and various irregularities that can be related to technological change. But based on a simple and straightforward model the theories are very persistent and remain widely used to describe the processes around emerging technologies.

Adoption is not that far from adaptation. Both words point at a transformative process. Some new element is introduced in an (ec0)system and it changes what was there before. The change can be slow and barely unnoticably, or it can be dramatical. New conditions, opportunities, threats and after a while also new habits and routines.The early adopters are ready to take on this transformation, to adopt a service or device and to also be adapted to a system. Early adoption is often promoted as a proactive manoeuvre, an acquisition or takeover. But it is often disregarded that it is also a submissive action. Adoption is to some extent adaptation, a defiance, acceptance and submission to a system or technology.


There are other ones than the early adopters in the landscape of technological change and innovation. People not necessarily intentionally taking risks, but being put at risk. In times of widespread technological change, we should raise our gaze and look at not only early adopters but also at early alerters. The ones telling us about the inherent maladies and defects of an emerging system or technological innovation.

Within a system focused on social and technological transparency, a system fetishising  limitless sharing of information, we certainly find the early alerters. The people being put at risk by the very system, by enforced transparency. The people not following norms, challenged minorities, dissidents. People that for some reason are not accepted by a majority. People for whom total transparency can be a lethal risk.

If you are part of a minority, you can seldom be totally transparent with what you are doing and what you are feeling and expressing. As long as a majority does not totally accept minorities, secrecy in itself is a treasure. Secrets something to hold on to. Transparency breeds uniformity, the following of rules. Often this is something good, but sometimes it is bad. Uniformity and rules are seldom compatible with everyone.

Cage for reviving canary, with oxygen cylinder, made by Siebe Gorman & Co. Ltd, London. Photographed 3/4 view on a white background.

The early alerters are the canaries in the mine, warning also the majority about an invisible risk that is evolving in the atmosphere. A risk that is invisible to the ones without the involuntary abilities of the early alerters. We should not consider early adopters as trail-blazing heroes without also recognising and listening to early alerters.

[1] Rogers, Everett (1962). Diffusion of Innovation. Free Press of Glencoe.

The Mundania Files

Mundania 2020

¶ From early 2020 COVID-19 sparked a time of disruption. What had once been normal was renegotiated. When The Virus started to spread, the conditions of Mundania were challenged. Some patterns of everyday life were transformed and new ones emerged. New imaginaries took hold. Social distancing and proximity, mobility and domesticity, as well as offline-integrity and technological connectivity had to be reconsidered. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Hotel_heart-1024x768.jpg
The light art appearing on hotel facades in 2020 had a warming message, but the background to it was empty hotels, facing a crisis.The absence of guests gave the possibility to use windows as points of light or “pixels” to create a symbol. Photo from Park Inn by Radisson, World Trade Center in Lund Sweden.

¶ When futures are uncertain. When structures and systems are in flux, we need new concepts, new methods, new approaches and hybrid forms to orient ourselves. Mundania is one attempt along these lines. By framing the way emerging technologies disappear into everyday life as a process of mundanisation, curiosity and the wayward can be put at the forefront. New thoughts can hopefully be provoked in academic fields already characterised by an abundance of theory and studies. 

¶ The Mundania concept can be related to discussions within some different contexts. Although the academic disciplines studying media, technology and everyday life is a densely inhabited and yet dynamic field, we still need new approaches to understand how the sublime, the thrilling, the unexplainably complex become part of bland and boring everyday life. How do emerging technologies turn from vaporware, via novelties to invisible and ignored infrastructure? Why are some technologies successful and others not? And what does success really mean here? Malevolent technologies are also becoming part of the obfuscated fabric of everyday life.

¶ Since the 1990’s the word domestication has been used to describe how technology is incorporated in user’s everyday life.[1] It captures how technology is adopted, how negotiations take place, and even how users may affect future strategies of producers. But we still need a word for the processes through which incomprehensible complexity is turned into the ordinary, a word saying something about how layers between ominous complexity and commonplace everyday life are engendered when technologies are habitually used. Because this is not about something wild becoming domesticated or tamed. It is not about something wild becoming tamed and domesticated.

¶ Complex technologies are only seemingly converted step-by-step into controlled parts of everyday life. Where are the ends of control? How are dependencies engendered? Mundanisation is an attempt to address these questions. It is meant to capture how complex arrangements of technologies and human organisation maintain its incomprehensible unmanageability while still being transmuted into the ordinary, the mundane, the commonplace in people’s everyday lives.  Normalising what before, or at its introduction, was seen as impossible, frightening or fantastic. 

 Mundanisation is basically characterised by two principles. Technological and organisational workings can firstly be obscured “by design”. Black-boxing of technologies and intentional seclusion of operations take place “under the hood” (Pasquale 2015). Media scholar Lisa Parks has called this phenomenon “infrastructural concealment”[2]. Mundanisation is also evoked by the very everyday use of technologies and things (Highmore 2001; Löfgren 2015; Shove 2003). This is the ignorance that is engendered when things become parts of unreflected patterns of behaviour. These two parts reinforce each other. 

¶ Mundanisation has happened for a long time. It is how routines, habits and patterns of everyday life are formed. The processes of mundanisation have become more easy to recognise in modern and industrial societies. Widespread standards, the prerequisite for industrialisation, shifts knowledge in the head to knowledge in the world, to use the words of design theorist Donald Norman. Precise behaviour can emerge from imprecise knowledge.[3] You don’t have to learn exactly how standards and protocols are assembled and organised to use them. A USB-C-connector will fit another USB-C-connector. You don’t even have to be able to descibe how it looks. This is the logic of standardised systems. You can use a coin without remembering exactly how it looks. Heads or tails? King or queen? Statesman or animal? Just remember the size, material and how it feels in your hand. When something is standardised, it should “just work and fit”, without you having to think about it. 

¶ Power buttons and all the hidden wirings and connections, then followed by radio transmissions, moving images on screens, software and satellites, The Internet and The Clouds. Data centers and protocols. AI, “smart” things, homes and cities. It is all there, yet most of what manifests it is obscured. The continuous supply of electricity has been flowing mostly unnoticed for decades. Now, during the first decades of the 21th Century, new layers of technology are becoming ambient. More and more GPS-based services, online shopping, camera surveillance, machine learning and ever-present touchscreens. Infrastructures and interfaces. Technologies harnessed by software, enmeshed through the logistics of wired as well as wireless networks. Utterly complex systems are seamlessly intertwined with people’s lives.

¶ When technology and infrastructure work, it is experienced as a backdrop to life, as ambient, part of the atmosphere, as uncomplicated parts of daily practices. Technology becomes woven into, what geographer Nigel Thrift has called, epistemic wallpaper.[4] Infrastructures, supply-chains and distributed power relations are rarely reflected upon when technologies have been effectively integrated in everyday life. Like wallpaper, it is just there, while we are doing whatever we are doing.

¶ Services, things and technologies can start as something utterly fascinating, as something awkward or even disquieting. Then they disappear in the muddle of everyday life, they become almost impossible to bring up in discussions or small talk. At some point in the life cycle of a popular technology, extensive critical reflection and discussion seems to vanish. Even though there are obvious risks and uncertainties, many technologies are still used. They are considered as normal. We need to know more about when and how this really happens. Despite wide-spread awareness about potential threats, these are ignored. When technologies become part of routines and habits, large parts of technological assemblages and organisational operations are constantly ignored. Until something happens. Like a virus. Something that force us to renegotiate, reconsider and reimagine.

[1] The use of the word ”domestication” in relation to media appeared first in: Silverstone, R., Hirsch, E., & Morley, D. (1992). Information and Communication Technologies and The Moral Economy of The Household. In: R. Silverstone & E. Hirsch (Eds.), Consuming Technologies: Media and Information in Domestic Spaces (pp. 115–131). London: Routledge, and have subsequently been used and developed in a number of scholarly contexts. See eg. Berker, T., Hartmann, M., & Punie, Y. (2006). Domestication Of Media And Technology. London: Open University Press.

[2] Parks, Lisa (2012): Technostruggles and the Satellite Dish: A Populist Approach to Infrastructure. In:  Bolin, Göran (Ed.). Cultural Technologies: The Shaping of Culture in Media and Society. London: Routledge 64–84.

In an interview Parks expound on her interest in infrastructural invisibility and concealment. She describes how she became interested in the topic and also stress the social and gendered dimensions of technological visibility.

My interest in thinking about infrastructures and their ‘invisibility’ was born out of a recognition of my own socialization not to notice them. Over time I have become increasingly aware of technological objects in the built environment that are relevant to global media economies – telecom towers, satellite Earth stations, data centres and other infrastructure sites. I learned the language of cinema. I knew how to read a TV text. But I did not really understand the mechanics or physical arrangements of systems used to distribute audiovisual content to screens or interfaces. It was that moment of recognizing that this was really a problem of disciplinary training and knowledge, but also of gendered socialization. 

Parks, Lisa (2019). Televisual epistemologies and beyond. In: Journal of Visual Culture18(2), 234–249. Page: 241.

In the interview she also advocates artistic approaches to imagine and visualize complex infrastructures. She also points out a risk that the quite broad interest in the studies of media infrastructures can lead to a kind of scholarly entropy around the concept.

There are now quite a few young scholars and graduate students interested in researching and theorizing various aspects of media infrastructures. With any concept or sub-topic in a field, an entropy can start to set in when lots of people gravitate to a concept at once. Suddenly, the term starts to become overloaded and not as useful any more. I argue that we need to have more sub-level concepts in media infrastructure studies, concepts that help to account for the diverse socio-technical relations that materialize media infrastructures in different parts of the world.

Parks, Lisa (2019). Televisual epistemologies and beyond. In: Journal of Visual Culture18(2), 234–249. Page: 242

My work with Mundania and processes of mundanisation is one way to move along with studies of the infrastructural and to see where these concepts might lead.

[3] Norman, Donald A. (1998): The Design of Everyday Things. Massachusetts: MIT Press. See also: Willim, R. (2005). MenuingEthnologia Europaea. Journal of European Ethnology35(1–2), 125–129.

[4] Nigel Thrift discussed epistemic wallpaper as part of arguments about how technologies relates to thinking and spatial awareness. Thrift, N. (2004). Movement-space: The changing domain of thinking resulting from the development of new kinds of spatial awareness. Economy and Society33(4), 582–604. See also: Bowker, Geoffrey C. and Star, Susan Leigh (1999), Sorting Things Out: Classification and its Consequences (Cambridge Massachusetts: MIT Press).

Version History

V. 1.1 June 16 2020. Added reference to Lisa Parks and her work on infrastructural concealment and visibility, see note 2. References to Bowker and Star and Peters added.

V. 1.2 November 19 2020. Reference added to Highmore, Löfgren and Shove, and the discussion on domestication was slightly modified.