Francesco Tacchini - Uneven grounds: from the archive to the glitch

A dissertation presented to The School of Arts and Digital Industries (ADI) of the University of East London by Francesco Tacchini in 2013.


This paper is an investigation into remediation trends in the realm of contemporary art and design. The analysis will extend into a methodology of the reuse of both the mere materiality of technological media devices and their operative modes. I will approach the topic under the umbrella of “media archaeology”, a branch of media studies devoted to alternative media discourses. Media archaeology is a methodical way for excavating repressed or forgotten devices and remediation practices, as well as an artistic modus operandi close to bricolage culture, software and hardware hacking, circuit bending and other Do-It-Yourself exercises.

My thesis work is structured as follows: the first part introduces the key theoretical concepts that make up the ground onto which carrying out the media-archaeological investigation. I will briefly outline the genesis of this (sub-)field of media studies and then point out what media archaeology has been up to now. The second part of this paper will execute the media-archaeological analysis undertaking three different case studies. The first is an investigation of works from Yuri Suzuki, a Japanese sound designer and artist, which I had the opportunity to meet and interview regarding what I am writing about. I will discuss how his artistic intervention celebrates the non-linear pasts of media culture by manipulating technological devices.

The second and third case studies witness a shift from the previous manual intervention on the physical device to a more subtle (re)mediation at the level of its processual modes. I will turn to designers engaging with (programming) contemporary media and repurposing the clean aesthetics of lines, geometrical patterns, algorithms and data processing, as well as the random noisy aesthetics of glitches, dis/continuities and visual abstraction.