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February 1, 2023: Francesco Casetti: At the Roots of Digital: in Praise of a Rhizomatic Archaeology

Rhizomatic archaeology

AN-ICON - ERC Advanced Grant (2019-2024) - Seminars 2022/23 "Multisensoriality"

Francesco Casetti (Humanities and Filmand Media Studies at Yale University)

At the Roots of Digital: in Praise of a Rhizomatic Archaeology

February 1, 2023, h. 16:00–18:00

Malliani Room, Via Festa del Perdono, 7- Milano, h. 16:00–18:00.


Against the idea that the advent of digital media is a sudden ‘revolution’ triggered by the availability of binary code and electronic devices, I suggest a less linear and deterministic scheme. Indeed, this advent is due to the convergence of a number of factors, including technological innovations, cultural technologies, perceptual skills, and bodily gestures. Many of these factors have a long and independent history, which started in the 18th and 19th Centuries, and became apparent with the emergence of new optical dispositifs, new labor routines, new scientific discoveries and new technological applications. In the second half of the 20th Century, by interacting with each other, these different factors elicited a sort of ‘critical mass’ that prompted the emergence of a new mediascape.

Such a theoretical framework demands a twofold research strategy. On the one hand, we must ‘unpack’ the digital and trace the individual threads of each of these factors, not only in their achievements but also in their unexpressed possibilities and their failures. On the other hand, we must grasp the effects that the merging of these factors had on the whole system. Hence an archeology of the digital that avoids causality and teleology, and that, instead, takes the form of a rhizome. We have a series of routes that often develop under the track, and which, as they spread out on the ground, intersect, divide, sometimes get lost, perhaps to resume a little further away.

The seminar is aimed at drawing a first overall map of the rhizome that presides over the advent of the digital, and at discussing the methodological implications that such an approach entails.

ERC Advanced Grant “AN-ICON. An-Iconology: History, Theory, and Practices of Environmental Images"
(GA n°834033 AN-ICON)

The meeting will be held in English.

Participation is strongly recommended to students of the Doctoral School in Philosophy and Human Sciences and to students of the Doctoral School “The Human Mind and its Explanations: Language, Brain, and Reasoning”.

Everyone interested is welcome to attend.

For further informations: an-icon.unimi.it

01 February 2023
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