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BY-NC-ND 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Open Access December 5, 2018

Lossy Media: Queer Encounters with Infrastructure

  • Robert Payne EMAIL logo
From the journal Open Cultural Studies


In an era of “frictionless” digital environments, this article proposes a queer analysis of the “lossy” materialities of mediated encounters. Building on recent scholarship on media failure and media infrastructures, it will argue that moments of disruption and deterioration commonly experienced by users reveal the failure of overlapping social and technical infrastructures to ensure lossless transmission of normative fantasies of subjectivity and mediated relationality. Highlighting the queer instability of material assemblages, it will pay close attention to how the articulation of bodies, objects, and spaces in particular scenes of lossy encounter generates unplanned affective intensities which may disorient and undo the consuming subject. Borrowing the concept of lossy file compression and adapting it for this purpose, the article’s broad aim is to offer a queer critical framework for inhabiting the contingent, emergent, and dissipating energies of media encounters beyond the capital-driven instrumentalisation of agency and the neoliberal imperatives of update culture.


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Received: 2018-06-01
Accepted: 2018-11-03
Published Online: 2018-12-05
Published in Print: 2018-11-01

© by Robert Payne, published by De Gruyter

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License.

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