Techno-Historical Knowledge

One of the many things I like about teaching is when current and former students send me links to stuff they think I'd like. When this happens, it says to me "Hey, this person got the class and what I'm all about!" In this way, exchanging links functions as a form of recognition.

So PB, a current student, sends me this link to the website for The Raconteurs (a band). Using Flash, the site simulates a pre-mouse-ian, old-school computer interface, complete with keyboard commands, beeping, and green-on-black. Go there to relive these poetics. The mouse over commands bring the site slightly up to date (necessary, in this case), but otherwise it's authentically old school.

What The Raconteurs have going on reminds me of a void-like 45 minutes I spent last week playing old-school Asteroids online. The embalmers of the original video game did a perfect job, getting the sound and simplicity of the original just right. The only thing lacking, for me, was having to stand in the grocery store while zapping the rocks and saucers.

I mention these revivifications for two reasons: The first is that there is nothing quite like the experience of techno-nostalgia when it comes to bringing back time and place and feeling. Take a look at this old Merlin and know instantly what I mean.

The second reason is that, while remediation is certainly at work in the production and design of new technologies and media, these sites seem not so much to remediate previous gear as thrive on the circulation of otherwise obsolete markers as indicators of techno-historical knowledge. The techno-historical knowledge, in that way, has cha-ching.

Or something like that.


  1. Anonymous1:50 AM

    Lived experience with the artifacts conveys authentication, authorization.

  2. Beep beep beep! Pew pew pew!

  3. LOL! A student sent me this link (http://homestarrunner.com/dungeonman.html) a few days ago. She thought the interface was so "cute" and wanted to replicate it for her final Flash project. A few minutes discussion about php, mysql and database design squelched that one...but it was a great walk down memory lane!