Mechanisms: New Media and the Forensic Imagination

MIT Press, 2007

Mechanisms is the first book in its field to devote significant attention to storage—the hard drive in particular—of electronic writing and new media. Kirschenbaum argues that understanding the affordances of storage devices is essential to understanding new media. Drawing a distinction between "forensic materiality" and "formal materiality," Kirschenbaum uses applied computer forensics techniques in his study of new media works. Alan Liu writes that this book "is the most rigorous, cohesive, historically informed, materially grounded, and theoretically interesting treatment of textual artifacts in the age of digital mutation that I have yet encountered."