Media Compression

Longing for the voices to cease, for the disappearance of all that prods and taunts, we can neither block nor escape. Antagonised information only ferments and multiplies. We must implode our feral culture into immediate and local coherence.

So let us spin our wincing biomass into a circle and surround it with the modular and lubricated technologies of popular communication. Neither the high, nor the low, but the swirling middle, the common wire. Let us corral our litters of tapes, disks, and papers, pulling these flickers of reality into the circle with us, folding them into a pliable object of contemplation. And in a deliberate binding of all that seduces and disturbs, we hope to engender a new kind of organism, a creature of circuits and gestures, breathing when we breath, pausing when we pause, screaming when we scream.

In the foam of interconnection we shall make no conclusions. Waves of electronic culture shall lap against our skin and bleed into our minds. Bolts of local and international thought shall ricochet through our web of tongues. We shall sample, project, and discuss. We shall sense and reflect. But only when the waves have gathered into a furious noise can we cry enough -and bring on the sweet void. Then we shall become truly receptive. Then we shall draw upon the ancient resonator, that most intimate of signalling devices: the wetted and pulsing larynx. Then we shall begin a truer mumble.

Perhaps in such a blind, borderless compression we may detect the stirring of a mutually significant media-being, an animal of beneficent and tender instincts.


Gather beings into a circle.

Gather media into a circle around the beings.

Initiate a set of rhythms, organic and synthetic.

Share media in order of increasing complexity (spoken word to hardcopy to radio to television to the internet). Merge each ensuing wave of media until the stimuli become unbearable.

Induce total blackout and silence.

In the darkness discuss and integrate impressions.


LEFT: Media Compression, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 1990 (Jon Rubin, foreground)
RIGHT: Media Compression, Simpson College, Iowa, 2004


©2006 Ebon Fisher