[ISEA2014] Keynote: Erkki Huhtamo – Obscured by The Cloud: How Media Archaeology Can Help Us Understand the Traffic of Images on the Internet?


The traffic of images on the Internet has reached explosive dimensions. Millions of images come and go, appear and disappear every moment. These images are dispatched and captured by almost anyone from children to the elderly; from private people representing any imaginable walk of life
to businessmen and government officials. Some are premeditated, while others are inspired by a moment’s fancy. The situation represents a moment of crisis, at least for those whose profession it is to analyze the changing forms of visual culture. Grasping something so elusive and enormous has made some scholars to raise their hands in despair, while others have sought help from digital tools designed to handle and analyze Big Data. The problem with the latter approach is that while it may be able to detect patterns on macroscopic scale its possibilities are often limited to formal and stylistic analyses. By applying media archaeological topos study, this lecture outlines and demonstrates an approach that coud provide new possibilities of penetrating behind the surface manifestations of the image traffic taking place on the Internet.

  • Professor Erkki Huhtamo holds a PhD in Cultural History. He is a media archaeologist, author, and exhibition curator. Professor Huhtamo’s most recent books are Media Archaeology: Approaches, Applications, and Implications (ed. with Dr. Jussi Parikka, University of California Press, 2011), the large monograph Illusions in Motion and Media Archaeology of the Moving Panorama and Related Spectacles (The MIT Press, 2012). He is currently working on a book on interactive media (The MIT Press, under contract). Professor Huhtamo has curated numerous exhibitions and events, including the major international exhibition Alien Intelligence (KIASMA Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, 2000). Professor Huhtamo owns an extensive collection of antique optical viewing devices and documents, such as magic lanterns, peep show boxes, camera obscuras, praxinoscopes, kinoras, etc., which he often demonstrates to his students.  erkkihuhtamo.com