The Medium Picture Has a Home

I recently got an email celebrating the 21st anniversary of my long-abandoned LiveJournal account. I looked back at my six entries from 2002 and found the seeds of a book: my earliest research in media theory, a note on Brian Eno’s edge culture, the claustrophobia I felt from working on computer screens.

That was supposed to be my first book. I started outlining it in 2001, worked with an agent on it for a few years, and—after a decade of research and revision—I originally signed a contract for it in 2011. The book then went through several publishing shuffles, during which I went on to finish several other projects. I worked on it off and on in the meantime and am happy to finally have it on the way out of my head and into your hands.

My mock cover for The Medium Picture.

To that end, I am proud to announce that the University of Georgia Press has deigned to publish The Medium Picture. To wit, I was born in Georgia, and I attended UGA briefly during my first attempt at grad school. This project is very close to my heart, and I am stoked to have the UGA Press putting it out.

Here is a brief overview:

The ever-evolving ways that we interact with each other, our world, and our selves through technology is a topic as worn as the devices we clutch and carry everyday. How did we get here? Drawing from the disciplines of media ecology and media archaeology, as well as bringing fresh perspectives from subcultures of music and skateboarding, The Medium Picture illuminates aspects of technological mediation that have been overlooked along the way. With a Foreword by Andrew McLuhan, it shows how immersion in unmoored technologies of connectivity finds us in a world of pure media and redefines who we are, how we are, and what we will be.

The book uses ideas from Marshall McLuhan, Brian Eno, and Mark Fisher, examples from Fugazi, Radiohead, Gang of Four, and Run the Jewels, and artists like Christian Marclay, Richard Long, and Laurie Anderson. It’s post-punk media-theory!

Here’s what some nice people are saying about it:

“Exactly the sort of contemporary cultural analysis to yield unnerving flashes of the future.” — William Gibson

“Like a skateboarder repurposing the utilitarian textures of the urban terrain for sport, Roy Christopher reclaims the content and technologies of the media environment as a landscape to be navigated and explored. The Medium Picture is both a highly personal yet revelatory chronicle of a decades-long encounter with mediated popular culture.” — Douglas Rushkoff

“A synthesis of theory and thesis, research and personal recollection, The Medium Picture is a work of rangy intelligence and wandering curiosity. Thought-provoking and a pleasure to read.” — Charles Yu

“Immersed in the contemporary digital culture he grew up with as a teenager, Roy Christopher is old enough to recall vinyl, punk, and zines — social media before TikTok and smartphones. The Medium Picture deftly illuminates the connections between post-punk music critique, the increasing virtualization of culture, the history of formal media theory, the liminal zones of analog vs digital, pop vs high culture, capitalism vs anarchy. It’s the kind of book that makes you stop and think and scribble in the margins.” — Howard Rheingold

I have a bunch of things planned for the rollout, but first…

After all of this time and all of the rejections, it feels really good to announce that The Medium Picture will be out next fall from the University of Georgia Press.