This talk will elaborate key aspects of Erkki Kurenniemi’s archival practice, technological worldview, and science fictional narrativization of life. In Kurenniemi’s vision, the coming singularity where computational systems become developed enough to reach self-consciousness also signifies a new quantum leap for the human material life.
Life’s necessity for organic material substrate becomes removed through a new relationship or the body to hardware and software (instead of the traditional relationship between body and soul). The ability to download our brain into near-immaterial data existence implies the realization of fantasies of disembodied life that past decades of science fiction have suggested in various takes. But for Kurenniemi it also means the necessity to archive life as we know it; this future-nostalgic drive to record everything around us is one form of storage-mania turning into an archive fever.
Kurenniemi’s technologically-oriented viewpoint for understanding media, art, and science as part of a post-cybernetic worldview is articulated in the archival sense of the now-moment, aiming for a futurological perspective of what it was to be a human being: passing the sensual pleasures and everyday boringness on to the data bodies as a memory to be relived.
Finnish inventor, engineer, filmmaker, nuclear physicist turned artist and technology pioneer of the 1960s, Erkki Kurenniemi is also a science popularizer, a futurologist, and an experimental film-maker. One of the great unsung pioneers of the electronic age, Erkki Kurrenniemi played a central role in the development of electronic music in Finland.
Jussi Parikka is a Finnish media theorist co-editing a book on Erkki Kurenniemi for MIT Press, with Joasia Krysa.