An Elemental Politics
Ed(s): Melody Jue, Rafico Ruiz
Bringing together media studies and environmental humanities, the contributors to Saturation develop saturation as a heuristic to analyze phenomena in which the elements involved are difficult or impossible to separate. In ordinary language, saturation describes the condition of being thoroughly soaked, while in chemistry it is the threshold at which something can be maximally dissolved or absorbed in a solution. Contributors to this collection expand notions of saturation beyond water to consider saturation in sound, infrastructure, media, Big Data, capitalism, and visual culture. Essays include analyses of the thresholds of HIV detectability in bloodwork, militarism’s saturation of oceans, and the deleterious effects of the saturation of cellphone and wi-fi signals into the human body. By channeling saturation to explore the relationship between media, the environment, technology, capital, and the legacies of settler colonialism, Saturation illuminates how elements, the natural world, and anthropogenic infrastructures, politics, and processes exist in and through each other.