this term does not imply the search for a beginning; it does not relate analysis to a geological excavation. it designates the general theme of a description that questions the already-said at the level of its existence: of the enunciative function that operates within it, of the discursive formation, and the general archive system to which it belongs. archaeology describes discourses as practices specified in the element of the archive.
(michel foucault, the archaeology of knowledge)

VII. Indicating the material or substance of which anything is made or consists. (OED)

designating or pertaining to a form of artistic, educational, or commercial communication in which more than one medium is used....1968 Sun (Baltimore) 4 July A. 16/3 The notes of one conference we attended a few weeks ago..show that speakers were using such terms..as..multi-media and multi-mode curriculum. (OED)

the conference:



November 2-4, 2000
Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.A.

For two-and-a-half days, participants in the conference raised questions about that particular rhetoric of electronic media that describes them as fundamentally new, irrevocably transformative and virtually unstoppable. By engaging mixed-media art and scholarship, and by refusing to rely on descriptions such as "new" and "digital" (for what medium has not at one time been new, or is not now produced digitally?), the conference sought some alternative interpretations and understandings of the singularity of electronic content, context, form, and audience, as well as another map of the ways in which media have always been multiple. The conference sought to integrate serious historical scholarship and emerging modes of media theory, and to link the study of multimedia with existing work on 'traditional' media, even as it opened some emergent spaces of mixture and multiplicity in present research and action.

In order to do this, we launched the conference with a performance/lecture Thursday night by the digital collective Mongrel (a U.K.- and Jamaica-based artists group set up to explore issues of race, technology and new-eugenics, and an agency to co-ordinate and set up other new media projects so that those locked out of the mainstream can gain strength without getting locked into power structures). This event was followed by eight ninety-minute panels, and student mixed-media displays on Friday and Saturday. For the panels, we brought together an international group of provocative and insightful:

  • scholars in/producers of film (Thomas Elsaesser, Thomas Levin, Mary Ann Doane, Philip Rosen, Michael Silverman), television/video (Richard Dienst, Tara McPherson, Tony Cokes, Lynne Joyrich), photography (Geoffrey Batchen, Nick Mirzeoff, Nancy Armstrong, Roger Mayer), printed mass media (Perry Curtis, Len Tennenhouse, Robert Scholes), and digital media (Wolfgang Ernst, Lev Manovich, Cornelia Vismann).
  • activists/writers on digital media (Geert Lovink), technologists who produce work that bridge print and digital media (Julia Flanders)
  • political/human rights analysts and scholars (James Der Derian, Thomas Keenan)
  • scholars of mediated gender/sexuality/class/race (Ken Hillis, Lisa Nakamura, Renata Selacl, Ellen Rooney, Elizabeth Weed)

Supported by the Malcolm S. Forbes Center for Research in Culture and Media Studies, the Provost, the Watson Center for International Studies, the Scholarly Technology Group, the Multi-Media Lab, and the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women, the Dean of the College, and organized by the Department of Modern Culture and Media at Brown University, this conference is free and open to the public--but please register either on the website, or by emailing amm@brown.edu.

the mixed-media series:  

This mixed-media series launched the Department of Modern Culture and Media's archaeology of multi-media project. Media objects ranged from screenings of multi-media work by Brown faculty (Tony Cokes and Todd Winkler) to a live performance/lecture by the award-winning UK digital collective Mongrel; from early films by the Lumiere Brothers to recent limited-release features (Time Code).

The series ran every Thursday (from September 21 till November 2) at 8 p.m..


the site:  

This site serves as a general clearinghouse for cross-media studies, with an archive that will accumulate off- and on-line references. Please email us any references you wish to add--and any annotations.

This site also supports the AMM conference, film series and edited book, and will contain realmedia versions of the papers delivered in November.

conference/site organizer:



Wendy Hui Kyong Chun


assistant organizer:  

Alexander Russo





undergraduate volunteer organizers/artists:  

Fiona Barnett
Mike Smith
Gabe Grabin
Martin Johnson


undergraduate summer researcher:  

Dorota Szeremeta


conference consultant:  

Thomas Keenan, Bard College