Week 3: Meta-Ecologies

Lets leave the cult of McLuhanites in last weeks technologically determined dystopia and look to the expansive landscapes of Media Ecology. I feel this track is suitably obscure and texturally expansive enough for the ontology so here comes the theory…


Media Ecology is essentially an ontology of media networks, but there are continental disparities. The American understanding (Nystrom, 2009) is that technological mediums (Radio Ecology, TV Ecology, etc.) are figured as environments with inherent modes of communication through which individual and collective human experience is influenced. The European school denounces these simplistic cause & effect/non-convergence/structuralist ideas in favor of a post-structuralist model of vast interconnected planes of meta-communication flows and feedback loops with complex dynamic networked nodes and actants. Ecologies of Ecologies.

I like Guattari’s anit-capital, activist encapsulation of The Three Ecologies (Saffel, 2008) in scale (Mind, Society, Environment) and how this relates to media:  ‘An essential programmatic point for social ecology will be to make the transition from the mass media era to the post-media age, in which the media will be re appropriated by a multitude of groups capable of directing its resingularization…” [Guattari: 1, McLuhan: 0] The Media Ecology Introduction (Saffel, 2008) is useful for key factors of Ecosophy: sustainable growth, feedback, scale, emergence, post-humanism, non-dualism, complexity/systems theory, neuroplasticity, materialism and evolution.

But what about the Digital Ecology? Well I’ve had enough of text for one night.
Here are some Data Visualisations that express ecologies far better than words alone…

Visual.ly: Map of Modern Media – Marvia
This is an expansive map of the different channels a message may take through different media technologies (colour) and organised by gross media expenditure (size). Definitely worthwhile exploring the fragmented channels at the edge.
[Media Ecology]

Visual.ly: The Conversation Prism – Jess3
In this exhaustive categorisation of Social Media/Publishing Platforms, each coloured ‘petal’ constitutes a type of service provided. The central Brand, surround by business practices, participates in and is fedback ‘conversational’ metrics.
[Social Meda Ecology]

Visual.ly: Anatomy of the Mobile Market – GDS Infographics
I work in telecommunications, and this is the most comprehensive collation of worldwide data about the largest and fastest growing market on earth ever. This is colour coded according market share, content use, companies and revenue.
[Mobile Device Ecology]

AT&T Labs: World Internet Topology – Gonzalez-Sanchez
If you’re feeling particularly brave, take a look at this gigantic brain-neuron like World Internet Topology PDF. Commissioned by AT&T Worldwide, this is an impressive statistiacal effort to say the least, mapping 320,000 major network nodes from around the world.
[Network Ecology]

Note: the above visualisations are freely embeddable and enouraged on the Visual.ly FAQ.
Finally this Interactive Map of the Internet is a microbial dot-colour overview of websites, like an ecological petri-dish.

Wikimedia Commons: Turpan Depression – NASA/USGS


Nystrom, Postman & Strate (2009) ‘What is Media Ecology’ Media Ecology Association <http://www.media-ecology.org/media_ecology/>
Saffel, Ty (2008) ‘The Three Ecologies – Felix Guattari’ Media Ecologies & Digital Activism <http://mediaecologies.wordpress.com/2008/10/07/the-three-ecologies-felix-guattari/>
Saffel, Ty (2008) ‘Media Ecology – An Introduction’ Media Ecologies & Digital Activism <http://mediaecologies.wordpress.com/media-ecology-an-introduction/>Media

Savy, Pascal ‘ Acoustic Ecology’ SoundCloud <https://soundcloud.com/static/acoustic-ecology-320>
Enikeev, Ruslan ‘The Internet Map’ <http://internet-map.net/>
GDS Infographics ‘Anatomy of the Mobile Market’ Visual.ly <http://visual.ly/anatomy-mobile-market>
Gonzalez-Sanchez, Javier ‘World Internet Topology by AT&T Labs’ <http://javiergs.com/?p=983>
Jess3 ‘The Conversation Prism’ Visual.ly <http://visual.ly/conversation-prism-v20>
Marvia ‘Map of Modern Media’ Visual.ly <http://visual.ly/map-modern-media>
NASA/USGS ‘Turpan Depression’ Wikimedia Commons <http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Turpan_Depression,_nestled_at_the_foot_of_China%E2%80%99s_Bogda_Mountains.jpg>

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