Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Reading: The New Media Reader (Introduction)

Inventing the Medium -Janet H. Murray
  • Establishing the genealogy of the computer as an expressive medium
  • Bush and Borges-Failure of the linear media to capture our structure of thought
  • Reflecting not a new technology, but a change in how our minds are working
  • We see the scientific culture articulating a medium that “augments” our humanity, that makes us smarter by pooling our thinking and organizing it at a higher level, and even by facilitating new ways of thinking that are more synthetic and have more power to master complex operations and ideas.
  • Englebart did not think of the computer as merely improving human thinking, but as transforming the processes of our institutions in a more profound way.
  • A decade before the development of “multimedia” and at the point when “hypertext” was just a concept, the sheer representational power of the computer was apparent to those who were leading its development. They realized that the whole of the medium was much more than the sum of the various enabling technologies.
  • The awe-inspiring representational power of the computer derives from its four defining qualities: its procedural, participatory, encyclopaedic, and spatial properties. 
  • The more fundamental properties, the procedural and participatory foundation of the computer, are the ones that provide the basis for what we think of as the defining experience of the digital medium, its “interactivity.” Although this word is often used loosely it can be thought of as encompassing these two properties, and also the pleasure of agency, the sense of participating in a world that responds coherently to our participation. 
  • The critics of technology are an important part of the development of a new medium because they challenge us to identify more clearly what we find so compelling about it, why we are so drawn to shape this new clay into objects that haven’t existed before. 
  • The videogame also won over the young to the new medium and developed an expanding vocabulary of engagement, including ever more detailed and intricate elaboration on the theme of the violent contest as well as increasing interest in creating detailed, immersive, expressive story worlds. 
  • Sherry Turkle offered the foundational view of the psychosocial dynamics of the digital medium, calling it a “second self” upon which we projected consciousness, and an “evocative object” which had tremendous “holding power” over the interactor. 
  • We are drawn to a new medium of representation because we are pattern makers who are thinking beyond our old tools. We are drawn to this medium because we need it to understand the world and our place in it.

New Media from Borges to HTML -Lev Manovich
  • The logic of the art world and the logic of new media are exact opposites. The first is based on the romantic idea of authorship which assumes a single author, the notion of a one-of-a-kind art object, and the control over the distribution of such objects which takes place through a set of exclusive places: galleries, museums, auctions. The second privileges the existence of potentially numerous copies; infinitely many different states of the same work; author-user symbiosis (the user can change the work through interactivity); the collective; collaborative authorship; and network distribution (which bypasses the art system distribution channels).
  • As digital and network media rapidly become an omnipresent in our society, and as most artists came to routinely use this new media, the field is facing a danger of becoming a ghetto whose participants would be united by their fetishism of latest computer technology, rather than by any deeper conceptual, ideological or aesthetic issues.
  • In the last few decades of the twentieth century, modern computing and network technology materialized certain key projects of modern art developed approximately at the same time. In the process of this materialization, the technologies overtook art. That is, not only have new media technologies actualized the ideas behind projects by artists, they have also extended them much further than the artist originally imagined. 
  • New Media vs. Cyberculture: Cyberculture is focused on the social and the networking; new media is focused on the cultural and computing. 
  • New Media as Computer technology used as a distribution platform 
  • New Media as Digital Data Controlled by Software 
  • New Media as the Mix between Existing cultural conventions and the conventions of software
  • New Media as the aesthetics that accompanies the early stage of every new modern media and communication technology
  • New Media as faster execution of algorithms previously executed manually or through other technologies. 
  • New Media as the encoding of modernist Avant-Garde; New Media as Metamedia. 
  • New Media as parallel articulation of similar ideas in post-ww2 art and modern computing.

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