Posts Tagged ‘new media


Bolter and Grusin’s Remediation

Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin
Remediation: Understanding New Media
Area: Digital Media

•    Our culture wants both to multiply its media and to erase all traces of mediation: ideally it wants to erase its media in the very act of multiplying it
11: “Remediation didn’t begin with the introduction of digital media.  We can identify the same process throughout the last several hundred years of Western visual representation.”
Part I
•    Programmers seek to remove the traces of their presence
o    27: “Computer programs may ultimately be human products, in the sense that they embody algorithms devised by human programmers, but once the program is written and loaded, the machine can operate without human intervention.  Programming, then, employs erasure or effacement, much as Norman Bryson defines erasure for Western painting, or as Cavell and other describe the erasure of human agency from the production of photographs.”
•    All any new technology could do: define itself in relationships to earlier technologies of representations
•    Immediacy: 30: “Our name for a family of beliefs and practices that express themselves differently at various times among various groups, and our quick survey cannot do justice to this variety.”
•    Hypermediacy: 34: “Where immediacy suggests a unified visual space, contemporary hypermediacy offers a heterogeneous space, in which representation is conceived of not as a window on to the world, but rather as ‘windowed’ itself—with windows that open on to other representations or other media.”
•    Hypernediacy was the counterpart to transparency in Western painting, an awareness of mediation whose repression almost guaranteed its repeated return
•    “Just What it is that Makes Today’s…” hyper conscious of the medium of photo-montage because photography is normally so transparent
•    Hypermediacy expresses the tension between the visual space as mediated and as a “real” space that lies beyond mediation
o    Looking “at” v. Looking “through”
o    Attempt to hold the viewer at the surface indefinitely
•    “Repurposing”: to take the “property” from one medium and reuse it in another
o    Example: Jane Austen novels → films
•    McLuhan: the “content” of any medium is always another medium
•    Digital Media = hypermedia => explicit critique and refashioning
•    Hypermediacy and transparent media desire to get past limits of representation to achieve the real
•    “They look what they do”
•    Our history is genealogical, not linear, and older media can remediate new ones
•    Fisher: colonizing the space between the canvas and the viewer has been one of the most aggressive features of the twentieth century
•    A medium is that which remediates
•    When we focus on an aspect of a medium, we must remember to include its other aspects (film: darkened theater, etc.)
•    2 senses of immediacy:
o    Epistemological: immediacy is transparency (absence of representation/ mediation)
o    Psychological: immediacy names the viewer’s feelings => authentic feeling
•    Remediation doesn’t destroy the aura of a work of art, but instead it always refashions that aura in another form
22: On VR: “You can visit the world of the dinosaur, then become a Tyrannosaurus.  Not only can you see DNA, you can experience what it’s like to be a molecule.”
23: “What designers often say they want is an ‘interfaceless’ interface, in which there will be no recognizable electronic tools—no buttons, windows, scroll bars, or even icons as such.  Instead the user will move through the space interacting with the objects ‘naturally,’ as she does in the physical world.”
47: “The new medium can remediate by trying to absorb the older medium entirely, so that the discontinuities between the two are minimized.  The very act of remediation, however, ensures that the older medium cannot be entirely effaced; the new medium remains dependent on the older one in acknowledged or unacknowledged ways.”
55: “ Remediation as the mediation of mediation; Remediation as the inseparability of mediation and reality; Remediation as reform.”
56: “Jameson has traced out the connection between the ‘linguistic turn’ and what he calls ‘mediatization.’ Jameson describes the spatialization of postmodern culture as ‘the process whereby the traditional fine arts are mediatized: that is they now come to conscious of themselves as various media within a mediatic system in which their own internal production also constitutes a symbolic message and the taking of a position on the status of the medium in question.”



Marshall McLuhan
Area: Digital Media
(All notes from the McLuhan Reader)

•    Studies of the effects of mass media on thought and social behavior
•    The perception of reality now depends on the structure of information
•    “Because of the decentralizing, integrating, and accelerating character of electric proves, the emphasis in communication shifts from the specialist ‘one thing at a time’ or linear, logical sequence, to the ‘all-at-once’ simultaneous relations that occur when electronic information approaches the speed of light” (2).
•    Hot v. cool media
o    “McLuhan’s famous distinction between ‘hot’ and ‘cool’ media referred to the different sensory effects associated with media of higher or lower definition.  ‘Hot’ media (radio, photography, cinema) are more full of information and allow less involvement of the user; ‘cool’ media (telephone, cartoons, television) are less full of information and allow much greater sensory participation by the user” (3).
•    Retribalize the structure of psychic and social awareness
o    Closely related to tribal relations of tyrannous instruction and control
•    How do our sensory lived change in response to the media we use?
•    McLuhan: an “updated” rhetorician
•    In electronic media, the user is the co-producer
•    The future is always a new way of retrieving the past
Gutenberg Galaxy
•    Shapes and structures of human interdependence and expression are non-verbal, but oral in form
•    Competitive individualism
•    3-D perspective
o    “A conventionally acquired model of seeing, as much acquired as is the means of recognizing the letters of the alphabet, or of following chronological narrative.  That it was and acquired illusion Shakespeare helps us to see by his comments on the other senses in relation to sight.”
•    “The interiorization of the technology of the phonetic alphabet translates man from the magical world of the earth to the neutral visual world”
•    Literacy gives people a way to focus a bit in front of an image so we take in the whole image or picture at a glance.
•    Imaginative reconstruction
o    Cultures having difficulty attaining skills after others are ingrained: music after reading/writing; film and the non-literate
•    Writing is a visual enclosure of non-visual spaces and senses
o    Ordinary sense interplay
•    The alphabet is not used by civilized people—it is used to do the civilizing
97: “Whereas the Elizabethans were poised between medieval corporate experience and modern individualism, we reverse their pattern by confronting an electric technology which would seem to render individualism obsolete and the corporate interdependence mandatory.”
114: “A child in any Western milieu is surrounded by an abstract explicit visual technology of uniform time and uniform continuous space in which ‘cause’ is efficient and sequential, and things move and happen on single planes and in successive order.  But the African child lives in the implicit, magical world of the resonant world.”
127: “This externalization of our senses creates what de Chardin calls the ‘noosphere’ or a technological brain for the world.  Instead of tending towards a vast Alexandrian library the world has become a computer, an electronic brain, exactly as in an infantile piece of science fiction.  And as our senses have gone outside us, Big Brother goes inside.  So, unless aware of this dynamic, we shall at once move into a phase of panic terrors, exactly befitting a small world of tribal drums, total interdependence, and superimposed co-existence.”
137: “A theory of cultural change is impossible without knowledge of the changing sense ratios effected by various externalizations of our senses.”
139: “The invention of the alphabet, like the invention of the wheel, was the translation or reduction of a complex, organic interplay of spaces into a single space.  The phonetic alphabet reduced the use of all the senses at once, which is oral speech, to a merely visual code.”
Understanding Media/The Medium is the Message
•    Technology of literacy: power to act without acting
•    Mark of our time = revulsion against imposed patterns
•    Brain surgery/baseball game: content of electric light—couldn’t exist without
o    Medium (light) controls the scale and form of human association and action
•    “The products of modern science are neither good or bad; it’s the way they’re used that determined their value.”
o    This ignores the nature of the medium
•    Cool media—so little is given and much has to be filled in
•    Hot media—don’t leave much to be filled in
•    Hot: low in participation; Cool: high in participation
•    Makes all the different whether a hot/cool medium is used in hot/cool culture
•    Extensions of man: “make happen” agents, not “make aware” agents
149: “Rapidly, we approach the final phase of the extensions of man—the technological simulation of consciousness, when the creative process of knowing will be collectively and corporately extended to the whole of human society, much as we have already extended our senses and our nerves by the various media.”
151: “Many people would be disposed to say that it was not the machine, but what one did with the machine, that was its meaning or message.  In terms of the ways in which the machine altered our relations to one another and to ourselves, it mattered not in the least whether it turned out cornflakes or Cadillacs.”
158: “If the criminal appears as a nonconformist who is unable to need the demand of technology that we behave in uniform and continuous patterns, literate man is quite inclined to see others who cannot conform as somewhat pathetic.”
164: “For myth is the instant vision of a complex process that ordinary extends over a long period.  Myth is contraction or implosion of any process, and the instant speed of electricity confers the mythic dimension on ordinary industrial and social action today.  We live mythically but continue to think fragmentarily and on single planes.”
171: “Electricity does not centralize but decentralizes.  It is like the difference between a railway system and an electric grid system: the one requires railheads and big urban centers.  Electric power, equally available in the farmhouse and the Executive Suite, permits any place to be a center, and does not require large aggregations.”
177: “What I am saying is that media as extensions of our senses institute new ratios, not only among our private senses, but among themselves, when they interact among themselves.  Radio changed the form of the news story as much as it altered the film image in the talkies.  TV caused drastic changes in drastic changes in radio programming, and in the form of the thing or documentary novel.”


Hansen’s New Philosophy for New Media

Mark B.N. Hansen
New Philosophy for New Media
Area: Digital Media
Notes from presentation

•    Early on in his introduction, Hansen states that one of the aims of his book is to offer an account of “how the body is modified through interactions facilitated by digital technology”
•    Now, I think the idea “facilitated by digital technology” is important because it is suggesting that technology is bringing us into its realm, and not the other way around
•    The following examples of digital technology facilitate interaction.
o    This is what Hansen calls “affectivity”: the capacity of the body to experience itself as ‘more than itself’ and thus to deploy its sensorimotor power to create the unpredictable, the experimental, the new.
o    Hansen’s definition is different from a Deleuzean characterization in that the body has the capacity to experience its own intensity.
•    Chapter one begins by asking, “What makes new media, new?”
o    Hansen argues that there is a flexibility brought by digitization, and there occurs a displacement of the framing function of the medial interfaces back onto the body from which they themselves originally sprang.
o    Hansen also says that new media art concerns the refunctionalization body as the processor of information—it calls on the body to inform the concept of the medium
o    Look at this first slide: The Way messes with our normal perception
•    We would think that the runners would be lower than the tall houses, but in fact the perspective is off
•    There is a displacement—what we take as normal (the runners should be going up the hill in the background) has been rearranged
•    Hansen continues and in chapter two discusses how the body becomes the actual screen for digital art
o    As we can see in Shaw’s MovieMovie, people are actually invited to physically interact with the flowing screen onto which images, movies, lights, and music are being projected
•    Here, the body is almost indistinguishable from the artwork itself, as it becoming enmeshed with it.
•    There is a feeling of continuity that partially obscures the difference between physical and virtual space
•    This is also illustrated in Shaw’s Place: A User’s Manual
•    The viewer steps into this panoramic space and takes control of the video camera
•    The viewer is not limited to the framing of the image, but actually controls the output
o    Also, the viewer is actually shadowed on the one wall, again the body is a part of this construct
•    In this sense, Hansen notes that there is a virtual totality
•    The artist, Jeffrey Shaw, says of this installation that he is “using technology to break out of the frame of the image and thereby empower the body
•    In chapter three, Hansen brings in Deleuze’s argument that “perception can no longer be defined in terms of the relationship between images,” that the brain has become a deterritorialized object
o    Now, to Hansen, this results in a machinic vision, the selection of information is no longer performed exclusively or even primarily by the human component
•    The digital image has an “electronic underside” because it is entirely without correlation to any perceptual recoding that might involve human vision
•    Here, in the Golden Calf, “the virtual object are seemingly and paradoxically located within the actual space
•    You are seeing not the actual image of the calf but the electronic prosthesis (the moveable computer screen) is allowing the brain in supplant this image as though you have control over it
o    We can see how the guy on the right is moving it around as though he has control over it, but the computer is controlling the actual projection
•    This next chapter was my most favorite chapter, because seeing one of these pieces of art ‘in person’ would probably mystify me and scare the crap out of me, too
o    In Chapter 4, Hansen introduces the DFI, the Digital Facial Image
•    These next few slides will illustrate this idea quite clearly, however I recommend that you go an visit these sites to see video and hear clips of these ‘talking heads’
•    DFI is the infelicitous encounter with the digitally generated close-up image of a face—and specifically the affective correlate it generates in you, the viewer-participant—comes to function as the medium for interface between the domain of digital information and the embodied human you are.
•    DFI thus results in a transfer of affective power from the image to the body
•    What is striking about Ken Fiengold’s work is it’s ability to interact with the audience and itself
•    If/Then are these two talking heads, in a continuous conversation with each other
•    The conversation is computer generated conversation that never repeats and is never solved
•    Both this piece and the next one question why they are here, if they are real, and their overall purpose in ‘life’
o    You can see why this would be strange—two heads in an eternal conversation discussing if they are real
o    At that moment, it is as if we, the human, are no longer necessary, as we just watch these two androgynous heads contemplating and convincing each other of their existence
•    In Sinking Feeling, the head actually converses with the audience
•    The microphone in front allows patrons to ask questions and converse with the head
•    Again, the responses are not generic, but generated by a computer algorithm
•    Sinking Feeling appears to be aware of its own existence, but still has a number of existential questions (just like us??)
•    Fiengold’s aesthetic experiments involving human-machine collaboration necessarily foreground the role of human embodiment: he says that “if we want to create performances that are interesting for human audiences, it is essential to use human bodies on stage—because the emotional impact depends largely on resonance between the bodies on stage and the bodies in the audience”
•    Chapter five is entirely about virtual reality, and how to distinguish between affect and perception
o    On the screen you’ll see a map of Smetana’s Room of Desires
•    This installation literally feeds off of the participant: one’s brain waves and heart rate are monitored and cause the changing of the images and sounds one sees and hears
•    It begins with a calming scene and music, but once one’s heart rate raises or becomes stressed out, images reflecting stress and anxiety are flashed on the screen and the music becomes increasingly more intense (knives cutting into things, live births, prisons, explosions, etc).
•    The art work is based entirely upon the participant and is a bodily interaction
o    Perception cannot be differentiated from illusion, as the perception is not an illusion but a genuine reflection of the participant—the output is the viewer, not an illusion of oneself
•    “What happens in VR is that the body disappears because it is turned on itself.  Yet, as it disappears from the domain of the visual image, the body materializes in the domain of form, where it experiences itself as absolute sensation or subjectivity”
•    With Skulls, Lazzarini’s work functions by catalyzing a perspectival crisis, confronting us as it does with ‘the disorienting ambiguities of digital space (explain the skulls project)
o    Hansen says that “Rather than acting as the ‘object’ of digital modulation, the image here functions as a catalyst for the breakdown of the visual register itself: skulls explores the topological freedom of digital modulation and attempts to give the viewer some interface with this visually impenetrable domain”
o    This impenetrable domain is also noticed here in Hall, a continuous loop of one walking through a hallway with no windows or doors.
o    Viewers of this video experience a sense of claustrophobia, thus bringing us back to the original notion of digital art being the facilitator


Kress’ Literacy in the New Media Age

Gunther Kress
Literacy in the New Media Age
Area: Digital Media
Chapter 1: The futures of literacy: modes, logics, and affordances

• Language-as-writing will increasingly be displaced by image
• The world told is different than the world shown
• Writing = logic of time; Image (genre of display) = logic of space
• While the image’s reading path is open, the image itself is filled with meaning
o ≠ writing where’s there’s no leeway
• New technologies have changed unidirectionality into bidirectionality
• Authorship is no longer rare: no selection, no authority
• “Books” are acted upon and not simply “read”
Chapter 2: Preface
• There are four changes occurring simultaneously: social, economic, communicational, and technological
o Social changes are unmaking the structures and frames which had given a relative stability to forms of writing over the last two hundred years or so.
o Economic changes are altering the uses and purposes of the technology of writing.
o Communicational change is altering the relations of the means by which we represent our meanings, bringing image into the center of communication more insistently than is has been for several hundred years, and thereby challenging the dominance of writing.
o Technological change is altering the role and significance of the major media dissemination.
• The book has now been superseded by the screen
• Presence, seen semiotically is not absence or distance, but temporal co-presence
• Restructuring of power—a question of who has access to and control of the media
Chapter 3: Getting into a different world
• The chapter begins with a general questioning of a unified system of spelling and sound
• Sounds—large-sound units: syllables; meaning-units: words
• Cannot remain at the use of the letter alone
Critical moments in the text
1: [Two distinct factors] are the broad move from the now centuries-long dominance of writing to the new dominance of the image and, on the other hand, the move from the dominance of the medium of the book to the dominance of the medium of the screen.”
4: “Reading paths may exist in images, either because the maker of the image structured that into the image – and it is read as it is or it is transformed by the reader, or they may exist because they are constructed by the reader without prior construction by the maker of the image.”
5: “Interactivity has at least two aspects: one is broadly interpersonal, for instance, in that the user can ‘write back’ to the producer of a text with no difficulty – a potential achievable only with very great effort or not at all with the older media, and it permits the use to enter into an entirely new relation with all other texts – the notion of hypertextuality. The one has an effect on social power directly, the other has an effect on semiotic power, and through that on social power less immediately.”
10: “Writing which is tied still to sound via the alphabet is different to writing which is not lined to sound, as in those writing systems which use ‘characters’ and are oriented much more to representing concepts through conventionalized images, rather than through sounds transcribed imperfectly in letters.”
13: “The book will have something to say about the stuff of writing, its materiality, and its relation to the stuff of speech. This is a necessary step at the time when there threatens a new separation of the human body and technology.”
• I’m not sure why he’s suggesting that there’s a “threat” in the separation, especially since there’s less and less of a noticeable distinction…
19: ‘The free movement of cultural commodities has been as significant in unmaking the formerly relative stabilities and distinctiveness of cultural forms and values as have the effects of economic globalization, even if differently so. Cultural globalization has been the servant of economic globalization in two ways. It has provided the conditions of the appearance of ‘naturalness’ to the globalization of capital. […] Cultural globalization has prepared the ground for a global market for commodities which are in any case now more and more ‘cultural.’”
21: “Writing is undergoing changes of a profound kind: in grammar and syntax, particularly at the level of the sentence, and at the level of the text/message. Writing now plays one part in communicational ensembles, and no longer the part. Where before all information was conveyed in writing, now there is a decision to be made: which information, for this audience, is best conveyed in image and which in writing?”

July 2017
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