in Accelerated Modernity
Author: Greg Siegel
The author, Greg Siegel has written a monograph where he has researched and discussed how
photographic, electronic, and digital media have been used to record and reconstruct accidents,
particularly high-speed vehicular crashes, focusing in on the birth of the field of forensic engineering, He
discusses Charles Babbage's invention of a "self-registering apparatus" for railways, flight-data and cock-pit
voice recorders ("black boxes") for aircraft, the science of automobile crash-testing, and various
accident-reconstruction techniques and technologies. Greg Siegel demonstrates how "forensic media"
works to transform chaotic chance occurrences into analytical narratives. Through historical and
philosophical analyses, he demonstrates that forensic media are as much technologies of cultural
imagination as they are instruments of scientific inscription, as imbued with ideological fantasies as they
are compelled by institutional rationales. By rethinking the historical links and cultural relays between
accidents and the application of forensic science, Siegel illuminates the corresponding connections
between media, technology, and modernity.
Greg Siegel is an Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies at the University of California, in Santa
Barbara. He undertook his studies and research toward his Doctor of Philosophy within the Department
of Communication Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, producing a Dissertation in
2005 titled “Technologies of Accident: Forensic Media, Crash Analysis, and the Redefinition of Pro-gress”.
He is therefore well placed to have written the monograph, Forensic Media.
In his monograph, Greg Siegel has covered each of the following major topics: Introduction: Accidents
and Forensics; Engineering Detectives; Tracings; Black Boxes; Tests and Split Seconds; Epilogue:
Retrospective Prophecies. The monograph reviewed is published by Duke University Press, Durham and
London, 2014, ISBDN: 978 0 8223 – 5753 – 7 (pbk).