Wild Blue Media

Thinking through Seawater

Book Pages: 240 Illustrations: 29 illustrations, incl. 8 in color Published: February 2020

Author: Melody Jue

Cultural Studies > Ocean Studies, Media Studies, Science and Technology Studies

In Wild Blue Media, Melody Jue destabilizes terrestrial-based ways of knowing and reorients our perception of the world by considering the ocean itself as a media environment—a place where the weight and opacity of seawater transforms how information is created, stored, transmitted, and perceived. By recentering media theory on and under the sea, Jue calls attention to the differences between perceptual environments and how we think within and through them as embodied observers. In doing so, she provides media studies with alternatives to familiar theoretical frameworks, thereby challenging scholars to navigate unfamiliar oceanic conditions of orientation, materiality, and saturation. Jue not only examines media about the ocean—science fiction narratives, documentary films, ocean data visualizations, animal communication methods, and underwater art—but reexamines media through the ocean, submerging media theory underwater to estrange it from terrestrial habits of perception while reframing our understanding of mediation, objectivity, and metaphor.


“‘Blood is seawater,’ said the French biologist René Quinton more than a century ago. Melody Jue shows that seawater can be the lifeblood of a new ‘milieu-specific’ analysis that discards terrestrial biases in understanding media. Navigating across topics such as iron lungs, squid skin, and Google maps of the ocean floor, this book invites us to let our thinking go productively wild by transcending our lazily land-based concepts via a deep dive into the wet blue yonder.” — John Durham Peters, Yale University

“Melody Jue's bracing and brilliant Wild Blue Media invites readers to reorient their terrestrially tuned assumptions about media by dunking such notions as inscription, storage, and transmission underwater, into the multiplicitous materialities of the oceanic. Jue teaches us the vital lesson that by rethinking the medium of the ocean through media theory—and vice versa—we may better apprehend the sea changes of our fraught, climate-changing time.” — Stefan Helmreich, author of Sounding the Limits of Life: Essays in the Anthropology of Biology and Beyond


Availability: In stock
Price: $25.95

Open Access

Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Melody Jue is Assistant Professor of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Preface: Into the Blue  ix
Acknowledgments  xiii
Introduction / Thinking through Seawater  1
1. Interface / Breathing Underwater  34
2. Inscription / Vampire Squid Media  71
3. Database / Proteus and the Digital  112
4. Underwater Museums / Diving as Method  142
Notes  167
Bibliography  193
Index  209
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

Rights and licensing
Additional InformationBack to Top