On nonperceptual sensation and media ecology: interrogating computer mediated communication

Thayne, Martyn (2013) On nonperceptual sensation and media ecology: interrogating computer mediated communication. In: The Communication Galaxy: Discoveries, Boundaries, and Opportunities - The Seventh Annual Conference of the Global Communication Association (GCA), 22-24 November 2013, Saint Paul University Faculty of Human Sciences School of Social Communication and Leadership, Ottawa, Canada.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Presentation)
Item Status:Live Archive


This paper draws attention to the various nonhuman actors involved in human communication, embodying what Katherine Hayles has called the ‘technological nonconscious’. This term describes the vast range of embedded hardware, software, protocols and applications which have become central to modes of computer mediated communication in our contemporary digital culture. The recent explosion of networked devices that enable interactive modes of production, consumption and distribution have facilitated a number of techno-cultural developments which challenge our understanding of media as ‘passive’ objects which merely extend the capacities of human communication. One such development is evident in the dynamic and interrelated nature of language involved in the communication process: that of language made accessible to users (what we may call human-only language); and that of computer codes which (although readable by some humans) can only be executed by intelligent machines. In other words, software objects interact not only with human perception (via an interface) but also with each other (via specific algorithms and protocols). Digital media, then, should be considered both ‘active’ and ‘atmospheric’, in that they are ‘always on’ and ‘constantly sensing’, and subsequently register massive amounts of behavioural and environmental data. These relational processes are involved in the production of human subjectivity but also operate beyond the realm of human perception, leading to regimes of what I call nonperceptual sensation; that is, beyond the traditional human sensorium which media theory has traditionally accounted for. Such an approach may lead to a more critical account of the nonhuman entities which are implicated in implicated in the constitution of our technically mediated world.

Keywords:Media Ecology, Media Theory, Nonhuman, Digital Media, Convergence media
Subjects:P Mass Communications and Documentation > P304 Electronic Media studies
Q Linguistics, Classics and related subjects > Q990 Linguistics, Classics and related subjects not elsewhere classified
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Art & Design
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ID Code:12691
Deposited On:13 Dec 2013 15:50

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