Epistemological Implications of Media Saturation

By Jason Wasiak.

Published by The Technology Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The city provides a cultural text where media saturation is most heightened. In urban space the omnipresence of posters, billboards, digital signs, loudspeakers and TV screens comprise the backdrop of day-to-day experience, and people routinely engage with a growing number of personal electronic devices. Given the pervasiveness of ever-growing and converging media across the contemporary urban landscape and within everyday lived experience, critical analysis with respect to the character of information we are exposed to and the impact this has on the construction of knowledge is of critical importance. Drawing on ideas from the Toronto School of Communication (particularly Harold Innis and Marshall McLuhan), the emerging literature surrounding the attention economy, and the existing research pertaining to information overload, this paper explores the paradoxical relationship between information and knowledge. It examines the character and prevalence of noise, fragmentation and superfluous information as epistemological by-products of media saturation and a significant part of daily urban experience.

Keywords: Media Saturation and Urban Space, Information Communication Technologies, Information-Knowledge Paradox, Noise, Fragmentary Information, Epistemology

The International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp.113-118. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 533.108KB).

Jason Wasiak

Ph.D. student, Joint Program in Communication and Culture, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Jason Wasiak is a Ph.D. student in Communication and Culture at York University and teaches in the Sociology department at Ryerson University. His current research interests revolve around the pervasiveness of media in everyday life and the implications that this has on how knowledge is constructed. His M.A. work uprooted the concept of entropy as an analogical vehicle for understanding the ongoing negotiated relationship between technology, aesthetics, and epistemology. It explored the feedback loop between technology and cut-and-paste aesthetics in sound and image, examining collage as a way of making sense of information overload—as sculpting with audio-visual noise in a way that generates new linkages and associations between fragmented bits of information.

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