The Language of New Media

Modern media within the public realm that are considered to be “new media” include the Internet, Web sites, computer multimedia, computer games, CD-ROMs and DVD, and virtual reality. But new media also encompasses new television and film technology (digital, 3-D) and more. New media today is almost always associated with the computer. In chapter one of Lev Manovich’s “The Language of New Media”, Manovich states that “new media represents a convergence of two separate historical trajectories: computing and media technologies.” He then summarizes some of the key differences between old and new media: numerical representation; modularity; automation; variability; and transcoding.

Manovich seems innocuous at first when he points out that new media can be found in older media technologies as well, such as cinema. He writes, “…filmmakers had been combining moving images, sound, and text (whether the intertitles of the silent era or the title sequences of the later period) for a whole century. Cinema was the original modern ‘multimedia’.” But then he goes on to say the notions of digital and interactive media being able to separate new and old media are actually myths. The historical references he uses to support his argument: photography; digital imagery and software; digital television; theater; painting; sculpture; architecture; cinematography; media theory; psychology; poetry; philosophy. This guy is deep.

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One Response to The Language of New Media

  1. Prof. Thomas says:

    So what do you think about his proposal that it is really a myth. Do you agree or disagree?

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