PODCAST: Geocinema in conversation with Jussi Parikka

Digital Earth
Jul 17, 2019 · 6 min read

by Geocinema

In a conversation with media theorist Jussi Parikka, filmmaker Solveig Suess and art historian Asia Bazdyrieva address multiple scales of large infrastructural systems, as they not only challenge the modes of representation but also require novel ways of understanding visual aesthetics in such geopolitical systems.

Geocinema project investigates planetary-scale sensory networks that consist of multiple forms of recording, transmitting, processing, calibrating, stitching and reworking images in complex feedback loops between satellites, geosensors, cell phones, surveillance cameras, ground observations and more. Drawing on the recent fieldwork on the Digital Belt and Road Initiative (DBAR) in China, they speak, among other things, about the oblique connections between historical Jesuit contributions to techniques of earth sensing, vast resource extraction, and current demands aimed towards battling a future of climate change. Here, filmmaking and collaborative practices become both a mode of research and a modest proposition to draw missing planetary connections.

The conversation was recorded at Jessika Khazrik’s studio in Berlin, following a collaboration between Parikka and Geocinema under the Digital Earth Fellowship in 2018–2019.

About the authors

Jussi Parikka is a writer, media theorist, and professor in technological culture & aesthetics at Winchester School of Art (University of Southampton). He is the author of books on media archaeology, digital culture, and technical media including Insect Media: An Archaeology of Animals and Technology (2010), What is Media Archaeology? (2011), and A Geology of Media (2015). Parikka’s most recent work has been on art and “Middle East Futurisms” and a co-authored short book Remain (2019, also available as Open Access).

Geocinema consists of art historian Asia Bazdyrieva and filmmaker Solveig Suess. Bazdyrieva studied analytical chemistry at the Kyiv National University (2009) and art history at The City University of New York as a Fulbright grantee (2017). Suess completed her undergraduate in Visual Cultures at the Glasgow School of Art, with her postgraduate at the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths University, London (2017). Bazdyrieva and Suess started their collaboration at the New Normal urban design think-tank, Strelka Institute, Moscow (2018).

Contextual Footnotes:

  1. Thousands of Tiny Futures and Geology of Media, Jussi Parikka 2018.

Mentioned books:

  1. Jennifer Gabrys, Program Earth. Environmental Sensing Technology and the Making of a Computational Planet (University of Minnesota Press, 2016)

To note:

A filmmaking practice we also want to mention is Sasha Litvintseva’s proposition for the concept and practice of “geological filmmaking” as a strategy for tackling the perceptual challenges posed by the ecological crisis and the Anthropocene. Geological filmmaking emerges from the understanding that the form and content of any film, and thus the perceptual and durational experience it engenders, are rooted in geological materiality. (Sasha Litvintseva, “Geological Filmmaking: Seeing Geology Through Film and Film Through Geology.”, Transformations, issue 32, 2018).

Jessika Khazrik is a Beirut-based interdisciplinary artist and a writer. In her practice, she focuses on topics ranging from ecotoxicology and machine learning to linguistics, photography, and the history of science. The podcast features Jessika Khazrik’s music composed for Geocinema’s next documentary (expected in 2020). We also included the piece which had first drawn us to her work, “I Am Not Your History” from “Terrella Al2ard Alsaghira” (2017).

Digital Earth

Digital Earth is a global research network of artists and…