Project brief 4: Final reflective essay [Old’s Cool]

Media 5 Old’s Cool studio

Project Brief 4

Reflective essay

By Georgia Cerni s3487358

Word count: 1085

The artefact that I produced for my final project is a four part reflexive documentary. This film collates together different media technologies and content (books, photographs, VHS and digital files) from my household, providing commentary on their personal significance as archived media. This documentary provides insight from myself and my mother Lindy about the various forms of media that we have elected to collect over the past decades. I have sought to highlight the similarities between our media archiving practises while also acknowledging the differences that will inevitably occur over time and within this particular generational divide.

Throughout this semester my interests in this studio have been focused upon avoiding the “old/new” binary, an idea introduced to me by Natale who proposed to “treat new media as a relational concept.” (2016, p. 585) In this artefact we see how the media that Lindy and I have collected are subject to our own definitions of what constitutes old media – for example, with Lindy it’s books whereas in my case, it’s VHS tapes. In presenting two individual’s experiences with technology I have sought to support Natale’s proposal to regard media from a more subjective point of view.

In addition to the archival material, this documentary also discussed the engagement with the technologies which led to the archival materials – for example, photography and social media use. Viewing new media as a “relational concept” gave me license to acknowledge the differences between both generation’s experience of media while still being able to link them together. My inclusion of the Kodak Starmite advertisement was central to this – I was able to acknowledge how this technology promoted ease of access for domestic photography in the 1960’s, while also later discussing how social media and increased accessibility to smartphones led to greater content production in the 2010s. There was the acknowledgment that my experience with photography is largely “a convergence of digital technology, mobile media and photographic practises” which allow me to partake in personal photography (Gomez Cruz & Lehmuskallio, 2016, p. 20), while technologies like the Starmite camera were also  made with this aim in mind, albeit perhaps with greater barriers than we see today.

While this documentary was focused on archived media, I found materiality to be a recurring theme, particularly when it came to the perceived loss of materiality in the digital age. Interviewing Lindy, I found that a sense of materiality was central to her and that her experience of books was fundamentally different to her experience with any other form of media. I immediately recalled the “trope of death” which Yochim and Biddinger described in relation to aesthetic appreciation for vinyl records – “they are not simply romanticising the past but are articulating an abstract relationship between technology and humanity by grounding it in more concrete qualities.” (2008, p. 183) I felt that Lindy was describing a similar relationship between herself and books as “a living connection to the past”. Similarly, I described my own   ”preoccupation with physical things” which defined my relationship with older technologies like VHS and DVDs. While I had set out to legitimise “newer” digital technologies as having the potential to share old media principles (for example, in their potential to be archived and evoke memories) I did notice throughout this project that physical materiality was relevant.

In exploring this within the context of this documentary where I collated content from all different time frames, I also noticed that this attachment to the physical may have some links to how we adjust to newer technologies. Brinkman was a key perspective here –  “Such attention to older media and fading historical moments strikes me as a refracted attempt at understanding our cultural zeitgeist in ways that can’t quite be tackled head on.” (2017, p. 200) I think that for both subjects in this documentary, comments about older technologies were made with newer technologies in mind – for example when discussing DVDs I made the comparison to current streaming services like Netflix. However, Brinkman also considered that there could be similarities recognised between different media forms. Much of the inspiration behind my artefact could be best described here – “Mass print objects may not function in exactly the same way as do their digital counterparts – and certainly not to the same degree (I can click a “like” button much faster than I can mail a letter of appreciation) – but there are definite connections that beg to be further explored.” (2017, p. 200)

Indeed this documentary sought to further explore these connections in two major ways. The first was by making comparisons between older and newer forms of media – by likening Instagram to scrapbooking and relating physical appreciation of books to the same feelings of appreciation for VHS tapes, the objective was to bridge the divide between how we discuss media. Additionally, these connections were explored through the overarching theme of archival. The idea that regardless of the time period, “there is a need to collect, curate and archive”. In this sense I hoped to communicate that the need to attach meaning to media and archive it is something of a universal concept that occurs irrespective of time.

While this was my aim, it should also be noted that in this process I was preoccupied with legitimising digital forms of archival. Throughout this semester I had noticed that appreciation for older forms of media was very much intact (as I have discussed above) however it was my observation that digital forms of media were often devalued, perhaps because of the need for materiality. For example, Parikka and Wolfgang argued that “the testimonial function of archival records was once firmly rooted in their material authenticity” and indeed we can recognise how “originals” (p. 88, 2013) can hold more value in different contexts. It was my aim to both acknowledge the merits of this argument while also countering it, advocating for the digital space as a legitimate mode of archival. It was through my inclusion of the folders on my hard drive and my own digital archive footage from years past which aimed to communicate this.

In conclusion, I have learnt throughout completing this project brief that while there are definitely merits to considering the digital space as an archival space (including the wider discussion about how this breaks the old and new binary), I have also noted how I might have underestimated the significance of materiality present in older media. I have observed my own interest in materiality and can see how this is an attribute more suited to older technologies.


Brinkman, B 2017, Poetic Modernism in the Culture of Mass Print. John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, pp. 198 – 202. Available from: ProQuest eBook Central. [1 June 2017]

Ernst, W and Parikka, J 2013 Digital memory and the archive, 1st edition. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. pp. 85 – 95. Available at: ProQuest eBook Central. [30 May 2017]

Gomez Cruz, E & Lehmuskallio, A 2016 Digital Photography and Everyday Life: Empirical Studies on Material Visual Practises, Routledge, London; New York. pp. 20. Available from: EBSCOHost eBooks. [30 May 2017]

Natale, S 2016, ‘There Are No Old Media’, Journal of Communication, vol. 66, no. 4, pp. 585 – 603. Available from: Old’s Cool Media Factory Blog. [Accessed: 25th May 2017]

Yochim, E & Biddinger, M 2008, ‘”It kind of gives you that vintage feel”: Vinyl records and the tripe of death.’ Media, Culture & Society, vol. 30, no. 2. pp. 183. Available at: Old’s Cool Media Factory Blog. [Accessed: 25th May 2017]


Project brief 4: Blog post 2 [Old’s Cool]

Over the past week I have formulated a much clearer idea for my final project.

In compiling together different footage, I have realised an interesting theme that has emerged. I have been preoccupied with the idea of avoiding the old and new media binary throughout this semester and I have found a way to reflect this, and that is by looking at domestic archives within my household over two generations.

In collating together all the different media in my household, I have noticed that while older generations may not engage with as many media technologies as younger generations, there are in fact a number of similarities between domestic  engagement with media as entertainment and archival practises over generations.

I have found research which has aided my exploration of this idea – Tacchi researched engagement with domestic audio technologies and found that while young people believe that radio’s “golden age had already passed” (p. 233, 2014) they also noted frequent engagement with audio technologies like podcasts and streaming audio (p. 234, 2014) not realising that these technologies are something of an evolution from traditional analog radio.

In relation to my project, I have edited together examples of how my parent’s engagement with media parallels my own. I have related collecting books to collecting DVD’s, and physical photo albums with 35mm film stills with digital archival of photos on external hard drives and on social media platforms.

Similarly, Schutt, Berry and Cianci explored the Facebook group ‘Lost Melbourne’ which archives old photographs of Melbourne on to social media, finding that it is “inherently a hybrid activity, drawing from a range of practises of traditions.” (2014) This is of interest to me in regards to my project as I explore archival of personal moments on social media and how this could be considered as an evolution of practises which my parents may have engaged with, i.e. sharing photos with family members.

However, my project has also been focused on presenting the differences between media engagement through time and over generations. While filming I have taken into account different aesthetic considerations which show the discrepancies between analogue and digital media. While showcasing the bookcase in my home I have made sure to provide slow pans of the books and close ups (as pictured below) which note the detail of the age of these books. In doing so there is the acknowledgement of the age and fragility of these items.

In contrast, in collating together the media technologies which I own and are central to my archival practises (external hard drives, smartphones, iPod, USBs, as pictured below) I have also sought to note the more sanitised feel to these items. In including the sound of the items hitting the table it can be shown that their materiality is much different to that of the books. The viewer can understand that while we should avoid the dichotomous categorisation of technology, there can be a case made for how digital hardware have lost their “richness” – a similar notion to the “trope of death” (2008) which Yochim and Biddingers explore.

In conclusion, my project so far is focused on media engagement over generations in regard to both entertainment use and personal archive. I’m looking to see how media technologies can be related irrespective of age or “old/new” binaries while also acknowledging the perceived lost sense of materiality.


Bessire, Lucas, Faye Ginsburg, and Daniel Fisher. Radio Fields, edited by Lucas Bessire, et al., NYU Press, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, [Accessed: 25th May 2017]

Schutt, S, Berry, M, and Cianci, L. “Lost Melbourne: A Digital Ethnography of a Facebook Local History Group.” 2014. Available at: [Accessed: 25th May 2017]

Yochim, E & Biddinger, M 2008, ‘”It kind of gives you that vintage feel”: Vinyl records and the tripe of death.’ Media, Culture & Society, vol. 30, no. 2. Available at: Old’s Cool Media Factory Blog. [Accessed: 25th May 2017]

Project brief 4: Blog post 1 [Old’s Cool]

Thinking about my work so far this semester, a common theme has emerged and that is that we should avoid the binary of old and new media. As someone who has engaged with various forms of media over the past twenty two years I think I will be able to explore this. Especially when we consider that is is becoming increasingly more and more difficult to pinpoint what is old and new.

Moving into my project, I have noticed the large amount of technology/archive footage/belongings that I have in my house that belongs not only to me but to my family. I’m interested in exploring the documentation of domestic moments and/or the archives we keep in the home and what exactly these artefacts are, and how they have changed and evolved – or not really changed – over generations and also over one’s lifetime.

To give some examples of this, my Mum has books that are over a hundred years old in our home that belonged to her relatives. She also has a lot of books that were hers as a teenager and young adult. All of these have survived the test of time, moving through a number of different houses, mainly collecting dust but remaining important to her.

My Mum also has a lot of photos spanning over the last sixty years, her own photos and some that have been passed down to her. As for me, I also have physical artefacts that have been archived over the course of my life, from books to VHS to DVD’s to older technologies (iPods, old phones, old laptops). I also have a wealth of digital archive – on social media, on my hard drive, on YouTube/Vimeo and so on.

Dan suggested to me that I should hone in on this idea and focus on my household. With the sheer amount of stuff that I have within my house and on technologies I can use within my home I want to explore how domestic life and personal identity is recorded and archived and how the means of doing so have changed over time, especially as we consider how technology is shifting and changing. There is technology that I used ten years ago that is more or less defunct now (digital cameras which I took photos on). If we consider this in different contexts, this technology can be considered either old or new media.

Additionally within my household we have all of this archive which could be considered as either old or new depending on your own subjective view point. Ultimately many of the technologies which me and my family have engaged with have led to the same result – archived content.

While this has probably been a massive spiel, basically I’m interested in exploring the use of older/more recent technology have both led to recording and archiving one’s life, even over different generations. I am thinking that my final product will be a film which remixes media to comment on this. Hopefully my idea will formulate more as I record some footage… I hope this makes sense!

The studio so far [Old’s Cool]

We’re into week five of ‘Old’s Cool’ and so far I’m enjoying it. There are a few different ideas that I’ve been introduced to that I likely never would have been if not for this studio.

I am particularly interested in one idea that I explored in project brief 2. That is that we can acknowledge that the digital age is bringing about increased accessibility and perhaps a sense of tangibility is lost, but there are some changes which aren’t as radical as we might assume from the outset. I guess what I’m trying to explore is that there are digital, “new media” practises and technologies which are influenced by or something of an evolution of previous technologies. Examples?

VHS home video –> DVD –> renting DVD’s when Netflix was a DVD mail system –> streaming Netflix

PROJECT BRIEF 2: Part 3 [Old’s Cool]

We experience life using new media.

With this artefact, I attempt to visually represent the all consuming nature of what will be referred to as “new media”. New media in this instance relates to current forms of social media, and the fact that as I write this I am able to share content and communicate with any of my friends on nearly a dozen different platforms. This access should be considered as a privileged position from a middle class person in a developed nation, not necessarily pertaining to all.

In the past decade with the democratisation of the smart phone, our ability to communicate with others has increased ten fold. Lenhart cites the Pew Research Centre, which found that 24% of teenagers say they are online “almost constantly”. Lenhart also discusses the diversification of social media use, noting that the vast majority uses more than one social networking platform, with Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter being the dominant platforms. (2015)

This drawing illustrates this pervasive experience of social media technology, particularly for youth, and from this we can question what the future of social media holds. The widespread nature of technology and the diversification of media could be, in part a result of what Bruce Sterling refers to as the constant reinvention and re emergence of different media technologies. He argues that “almost every manifestation of what we call “new media” would be much better described as “temporary media.” (p. 79, 1997) As new platforms are constantly being invented, we are using more and more applications and websites. As we can see in this drawing, interacting with social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and iMessage have become rituals of everyday life. As platform use increases and older platforms are switched out for more innovative ones, it could be seen that our consciousness is being more and more defined by our social media use.

How will this impact the future? We should consider how our use of social media is affecting how we document and share our experiences. This may not only pertain to personal memories but to world events. Brant explores the idea that social media use is also about the construction of a “collective memory”; “we are producing such a wealth of digital artefacts our of everyday experiences that the traditional institutions of cultural heritage… will no longer be the central repositories of our cultural production and memories.” (p. 19, 2014) In this drawing, we consider how conversations and social media activity can be archived for reflection and observation. 

Keightley and Schlesinger note there there are “implications of an unprecedented accumulation of media and cultural resources, and their potential for ways of making sense of our own and others’ experience over time.” (p. 746, 2014) If we are able to access memories from five years ago in moments, from a number of different platforms, it will be fascinating to see how our sense of digital memory continues to develop. The proliferation of social media is our lives has an impact, and this could involve not only how we look back on events and relationships but how we process and experience them. 


Lenhart, A 2015, ‘Teens, Social Media & Technology Overview’, Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech. Available at: [Accessed 25 Mar. 2017].

Sterling, B 1997, ‘The digital revolution in retrospect’.Communications of the ACM, vol. 40, no. 2,  p.79-ff. Available at: ACM Digital Library. [Accessed 23rd March 2017]

Burkey, B 2014, ‘The future of remembering: How multimodal platforms and social media are repurposing our digitally shared pasts in cultural heritage and collective memory practices.’ PhD. University of Oregon. Available at: Proquest. [Accessed 22nd March 2017]

Keightley, E. and Schlesinger, P 2014, ‘Digital media – social memory: remembering in digitally networked times’, Media, Culture & Society, vol. 36, no. 6, pp.745-747. Available at: SAGE Journals. [Accessed: 23rd March 2017] 


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