Disposition and Media Matter(s)
In Ian Verstegen's article 'Dispositional Realism and the Specificity of Digital Media' he aims to reinvigorate the lost spirit of a medium. He does this not by reviving some archaic, enlightenment idea of 'essence' but by looking at how the material nature of a media/medium has a certain 'dispositional quality'. By this he means that media have specific qualities attached to them but that we realise these are moveable, flexible, plural and non-essentialist. This is partly a reaction to media theorist MJT Mitchell's declaration of the death of media in the digital age - that 'all media is mixed media'. Well we materialists are acting as the necromancers of media, forensic investigators liberating the decaying landscape of our undead mediums.
The idea of 'media dispositionalism' through the lens of 'forensic materiality' comes from Matthew Kirschenbaum. He reminds us that although computers and digital mediums like to give us the illusion of immateriality, they are in fact just as tied into material processes as old forms (like sculpture or painting). Kirschenbaum talks of how 'electronic data assumes visible and physical form through processes of instrumentation that suggest phenomena we call virtual are in fact physical phenomena lacking the appropriate mediation to supplement wave-length optics; that is, the naked eye'. The digital is a ghostly illusion, we must clutch it back and feel it on our fins and wings. Kirschenbaum takes a forensic approach to this new physicality, forensics is compared to the two headed god Janus: in that we should not shy away from the technical elements and theoretical nuance of digital technologies whilst always staying grounded in trying to provide an immediate 'intervention in the current discourse about digital textuality'.
In a discussion of the Deleuzian assemblage, Verstegen notes it can be used to counter media-essentialist narratives. The assemblage exists in a 'flat' ontological space in which many constituent parts are flexible and equal. Dispositional realism is not static, but fluid. However he also says that we should not get too bogged down in the notion of 'flexibility' and instead note how when we look at a media form in 'ritualised use' we begin to see semi-stable properties. Let the disaster snail cultivate their own material rituals

Dispositional Realism and the Specificity of Digital Media, Ian Verstegen
There are no Visual Media, WJT Mitchell
Mechanisms: New Media and the Forensic Imagination, Matthew G. Kirschenbaum
A Thousand Plateaus, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari
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