Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

New Media Archaeologies

Tuesday, January 29th, 2019

The collection of essays I have edited with Mark Goodall is out with Amsterdam University Press. The book is in the Recursions series edited by Jussi Parikka, Anna Tuschling, and Geoffrey Winthrop-Young. The book highlights innovative work in the developing field of media archaeology. It explores the relationship between theory and practice and the relationship between media archaeology and other disciplines. There are three sections to the collection proposing new possible fields of research for media studies: Media Archaeological Theory; Experimental Media Archaeology; Media Archaeology at the Interface. The book includes essays from acknowledged experts in this expanding field, such as Thomas Elsaesser, Wanda Strauven and Jussi Parikka.

Table of Contents

Introduction (Ben Roberts and Mark Goodall)


1 Media Archaeology as Laboratory for History Writing and Theory Making (Wanda Strauven)

2 Doing Experimental Media Archaeology: Epistemological and Methodological Reflections on Experiments with Historical Objects of Media Technologies (Andreas Fickers and Annie van den Oever)

3 The Ghosts of Media Archaeology (Mark Goodall)

4 (game)(code): re-playing program listings from 1980s British computer magazines (Alison Gazzard)


5 Cinema, Motion, Energy, and Entropy (Thomas Elsaesser)

6 Collector, Hoarder, Media Archaeologist: Walter Benjamin with Vivian Maier (Peter Buse)

7 Media Archaeology and Critical Theory of Technology (Ben Roberts)


8 The Cube: A Cinema Archaeology (Angela Piccini)

9 Inventing Pasts and Futures: Speculative Design and Media Archaeology (Jussi Parikka)

Sussex Humanities Lab

Friday, September 18th, 2015

I have taken up a new position as a Lecturer in Digital Humanities in the Sussex Humanities Lab at the University of Sussex. You can find out more about the lab here.

Archaeologies of Media and Film – Programme now Available

Thursday, August 28th, 2014


<a href="http://blog.benroberts .org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/swamptv.jpg”>"Swamp TV" by James Good is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

“Swamp TV” by James Good is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Archaeologies of Media and Film

Confirmed Keynotes: Thomas Elsaesser (Amsterdam), Jussi Parikka (Southampton), Peter Buse (Kingston)

3-5 September 2014, Bradford

Programme is now available here:



Archaeologies of Media and Film

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014


"Swamp TV" by James Good is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

“Swamp TV” by James Good is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2 .0

Archaeologies of Media and Film

Confirmed Keynotes: Thomas Elsaesser (Columbia), Jussi Parikka (Southampton)

3-5 September 2014, Bradford

An international conference on media archaeology organised and hosted by the University of Bradford and the National Media Museum.

The aim of this conference is to bring together researchers, archivists, curators and artists working in the field that has become known as “media archaeology”: an approach that examines or reconsiders historical media in order to illuminate, disrupt and challenge our understanding of the present and future.

We are particularly interested in what media museums and their archives can contribute to media archaeology.

Topics may include (but are not restricted to):

– theories of media archaeology
– media museums and media archives
– new film history and its impact on film studies
– radiophonics
– remediation
– photography and the archive
– archaeologies of recorded sound
– vintage computing
– software studies
– archaeology of computer and video games
– media ecology
– German media theory
– media art and archaeology
– variantology

The conference invites proposals for individual papers or panels; individual papers should be twenty minutes in length. Proposals of 300 – 500 words should be submitted on the conference website:

The deadline for proposals is 6 June 2014.

Stiegler and Technics

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

stiegler_and_technicsI have an essay in Stiegler and Technics, a new(ish) collection of essays on Stiegler’s work edited by Christina Howells and Gerald Moore.

My piece is about Stiegler’s critique of Boltanski and Chiapello’s The New Spirit of Capitalism and is called ‘Memories of Inauthenticity: Stiegler and the lost spirit of capitalism’.

You can find out more about the book at the Edinburgh University Press site.

Bernard Stiegler: technics, politics, individuation

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

nfThe issue of New Formations which I have been editing with Jeremy Gilbert has come out. It includes a new interview with Stiegler. This is the table of contents: Table of contents:

Editorial pp. 5-7(3)
Gilbert, Jeremy; Roberts, Ben

Technics, Individuation and Tertiary Memory: Bernard Stiegler’s Challenge to Media Theory pp. 8-20(13)
Author: Roberts, Ben

Enchantment, Disenchantment, Re-Enchantment: Toward a Critical Politics of Re-Individuation pp. 21-43(23)
Author: Barker, Stephen

Technics Beyond the Temporal Object pp. 44-62(19)
Author: Hansen, Mark B.N.

The Reality of Real Time pp. 63-75(13)
Authors: Wambacq, Judith; Buseyne, Bart

The Forgetting of Aesthetics: Individuation, Technology, and Aesthetics in the Work of Bernard Stiegler pp. 76-96(21)
Author: Ieven, Bram

Editing (and) Individuation pp . 97-110(14)
Author: Crogan, Patrick

Life and Thought in the Rushes: Mnemotechnics and Orthographic Temporal Objects in the Philosophy of Bernard Stiegler pp. 111-126(16)
Author: Swiboda, Marcel

Proletarianisation pp. 127-149(23)
Author: Hutnyk, John

Antagonism and Technicity: Bernard Stiegler on Eris, Stasis and Polemos pp. 150-163(14)
Author: Marchart, Oliver

Bernard Stiegler: ‘A Rational Theory of Miracles: on Pharmacology and Transindividuation’ pp. 164-184(21)
Authors: Stiegler, Bernard; Roberts, Ben; Gilbert, Jeremy; Hayward, Mark

Glossary pp. 185-186(2)

War at the Membrane pp. 187-191(5)
Author: Thoburn, Nicholas

Unconsoled pp. 192-195(4)
Author: Graham, James

Beyond the Everyday pp. 196-200(5)
Author: Ganguly, Keya

Post-Cinematic Effects pp. 201-203(3)
Author: Bowman, Paul

Baldwin’s Atlantics pp. 204-208(5)
Author: M’Baye, Babacar

Resisting Deconstruction pp. 209-213(5)
Author: Macdonald, Molly

Paying Attention

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

The Fifties in 3D, from the National Archives UK

A new special issue of Culture Machine, in which I have an article, has been published. It is a special issue on the topic of ‘Paying Attention’ collecting papers given at the ESF conference of the same name in Sweden in 2010. As the editors of the issue, Patrick Crogan and Samuel Kinsey, put it:

How are the ways we understand subjective experience – not least cognitively – being modulated by political economic rationales? And how might artists, cultural theorists, social scientists and radical philosophers learn to respond – analytically, creatively, methodologically and politically – to the commodification of human capacities of attention?

My own article is called ‘Attention-seeking: Technics, Publics and Software Individuation’ and is basically concerned with arguing against the usefulness of the concept of ‘attention economy’ as a way of understanding free software communities. It also looks critically at Christopher Kelty’s concept of the recursive public, as articulated in Two Bits: the Cultural Significance of Free Software .

‘Waiting for the Political Moment’

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

An interesting Call For Papers from Bram Ieven at Utrecht for an event called ‘Waiting for the Political Moment‘:



Utrecht & Rotterdam, June 17-19, 2010

Convened by Frans-Willem Korten and Bram Ieven

Sponsored by Stichting Letteren en Samenleving Rotterdam, Erasmus Trust Fund Rotterdam, the Centre for the Humanities and the OGC at Utrecht University, The Faculty of History and Art of the Erasmus University Rotterdam, and the City of Rotterdam.

Hamm: What’s happening?

Clov: Something is taking its course.’

Beckett, Endgame

Over the last decades, several political and cultural theorists have argued that the domain of politics, and even the very idea of the political, has been hollowed out. Politics today appears to have lost its proper status or has been submerged in the more powerful and encompassing infrastructures of late capitalism. Instead of frantically affirming or denying the emptying-out of the political, this conference traces the appropriation of the political by apparatuses of state, church, capitalism and media in modernity to look for ways to reinvigorate it. To do so, the conference focuses on a key concept: the political moment – the moment in which political agency becomes possible, as well as the formative role of the moment in politics.

To get to grips with the political moment we not only need to understand our current moment; we need to have an idea of how it developed over time. Not considering the political moment from an exclusively contemporary point of view, this conference also calls for proposals that focus on the formation of the political in relation to its emptying-out from the late Middle Ages to the present.

Contributions in the form of a 4000 words positioning paper distributed in advance and to be discussed in a seminar setting could address (but are not limited to) the following issues: what is a political moment? What does the emptying-out of the political imply? How has the appropriation of the political by state, religion or media shaped the conditions of possibility of the political? What is the role of the moment in politics?

Confirmed speakers include: Mieke Bal, Bruno Bosteels, Rosi Braidotti, Simon Critchley, Martin van Gelderen, Olivier Marchart, Patchen Markell, Benjamin Noys, and Alberto Toscano.

If you are interested in participating, please send in a 300-words paper proposal and a short résumé of your current research by January 15 2010 to Frans-Willem Korsten, Professor of Literature and Society, Erasmus University Rotterdam, email:; and/or to Bram Ieven, lecturer in comparative literature at Utrecht University, email:

For more information see:

Beyond the ‘Networked Public Sphere’: Politics, Participation and Technics in Web 2.0

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

Tangled Network, by Bruno Girin, used under CC-BY-SA

Tangled Network, used under CC-BY-SA

I’ve just published an article in the new issue of the open access journal Fibreculture. This is the abstract:

This paper argues for a sceptical approach to the political promise of Web 2.0. In particular it examines critically the claims made about participation and the ‘network public sphere’ in Yochai Benkler’s The Wealth of Networks. Moreover it argues that the work of Bernard Stiegler and that of others in the Ars Industrialis group cofounded by Stiegler can help inform a more nuanced account of the relationship between politics, participation and technics. It looks specifically at the arguments in Marc Crépon and Bernard Stiegler’s recent book De la démocratie participative, written during the recent French presidential campaign, and examines how the idea of participation articulates with key themes in Stiegler’s philosophy of technics. Finally it suggests some ways in which this debate on participation might be moved on.

The end of newspapers

Monday, March 16th, 2009

Clay Shirky, Nicholas Carr and Yochai Benkler on the end of newspapers.