Fall 2020 // Week 6 Discussion by Maliyamungu Muhande

By in Blog on January 21, 2021


The preconceived idea that a medium is better or worst than, is one that is shaped in the interest of capitalism.  The brief outline of the eight users (Imagined, configured, experts, amateur, remembered, re-enacted, and artificial users) highlight the strategy design that can be derived from such ideal-typical constructions. These clear categorizations are clear indications of the tools used to persuade production and purpose-orientated desires to the various target audience(users). How much of the target audience profile dictates the user perspective and visa versa? Can a user perspective merely be a reflection of the consumer demographic they qualified for?

The re-enacted user draws inspiration from the sensing of the past but can this perspective also be a product of capitalism camouflaged with the production and purpose of nostalgia? Yes and no.

Yes, because Human-centered design is a creative approach used to design new media to suit each different user’s perspective and to convince them that the new is better than the old in order to buy it.

No, because as Siegfried Zielinski called it ‘variantology’ exist, technology can be engaged without comparison and through the lens of alternative narratives, quirky and marginal media histories(plural).  The purpose and use of technology don’t have to be defined by its prior use, prior relevance, or empowerment. Experimental media archaeology explores the use of technology by prioritizing the materiality of the object in the present and sensorial engagement with historical media to derive insight beyond the English function descriptions.  The true value of the re-enacted users is when their engagement with media has a hands-on manifestation and uses the re-enactments as a heuristic tool for the technological history of media rather than intellectual, mental appropriation (nostalgia/concepts that reflect a superficial seeking of the “old”).


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