Thoughts, Exteriorizations and Ecologies

14 Mar

The primary concern of media ecologies is to try and discover how media manipulates the way we think, feel and behave. In theory we absorb a media, for example about the latest fashion trends, and then go out and set out to follow that trend by purchasing the required product. This then is an exteriorization of the desire retained within ourselves through our absorbing of media into our unconscious. We think, or we are touched, we then desire and that desire turns into an action. Neil Postman in his essay on educations writes that media and communications “affect human perception, understanding, feeling, and value; and how our interaction with media facilitates or impedes our chances of survival.” In simply terms media can be used as tool to manipulate how we interact with the world around us by having us believe we need something for our survival, not only that but it plays on our desire to thrive in the community as a whole. Felix Guattari argues that the only “true response to the ecological crisis is on a global scale, provided it brings about an authentic political, social and cultural revolution.” A call to action and to exteriorize that which we have learnt so far to aid the world in finding a different way forward, which is of benefit to everyone.

A media ecology is system of which many strands of information and knowledge interact together to form a new environment which makes something new possible. Any car, plane or boat, or transportation systems all operate in an ecology. The motor works alongside the wheels, alongside the wheel the driver steers to produce movement. All different parts of the whole, brought together to perform and action. Interesting when a car is no longer a viable means of transport we often term it as only useful for ‘parts’. This is a breakdown of an ecology, the individual parts however still have use and can function in a further ecology elsewhere. Matthew Fuller sees media ecologies as the way media systems interact with each other. He believes that just as the Dadaists did with cutting up poetry and sticking them back together again, all media objects have their own poetics which make the world or going to McLuhan’s theories the environment, which in turn make other worlds and environments possible.

Fuller notes that media ecologies to sum up are the “massive and dynamic interactions of processes and objects, beings and things, patterns and matter. (p.2) Each process must be “multiply connected, acting by virtue of those connections, and always variable” (p.4). I understand this in terms of relationship, especially the idea of family. A family functions through many connections, those connections change and grow. Roles, objects and ways we relate to one another change, yet in order to carry of acting as an ecology the parts must work together to keep the interactions alive. Felix Guattari sees ecologies acting in three different modes. The mental, the natural and social must interact together to bring about a “cross-fertilization” of knowledge and information. Ecology in this sense operates of the level of relations. We must go outside our comfort zones and put ourselves out into the world in order to see results. Humanly this can be exteriorized in relationships in marrriage, pregnancy, parenthood or simply the way a person relates to their dog.An ecology, or environment must exist where all parties feel safe and connected, in order to grow together, in order to produce.


Fuller, Matthew (2005) ʻIntroduction: Media Ecologiesʼ in Media Ecologies: Materialist Energies in Art and Technoculture Cambridge, MA; MIT Press: 1-12

Postman, Neil (1970) The Reformed English Curriculum in A.C. Eurich, ed., High School 1980: The Shape of the Future in American Secondary Education.

Anon. (2008) ʻThe Three Ecologies – Felix Guattariʼ, Media Ecologies and Digital Activism: thoughts about change for a changing world

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