The history and progression of mankind is directly correlated to the history and progression of communication. There are some interesting patterns with both. Early on mankind and communication progressed slowly, with major developments occurring many years apart. This period of time accounts for an overwhelming majority of mankind’s existence on earth. The biggest strides are made in the arrival of new technology. Electricity opened a new world for communication and society. What was once only speech and print media, now included the telegraph and telephone then radio and television. Now, the digitalization of our world is taking mankind and communication further and further at a rapid pace. These developments have all occurred in what seems like yesterday. It is this correlation between the development of society and communication that makes you think maybe McLuhan was right. Maybe the medium is the message or at least just as, if not more important.
It’s hard to think of medium being more important than the message. Especially since most media is designed to be transparent. When you’re watching you’re favorite TV show, you’re not thinking about the television, you’re thinking about the show. Same with new media like Facebook. You’re not thinking about this amazing technology that allows you to socially network, you’re looking at pictures or poking your friends. The reading brought up an interesting fact that I had never thought of. Those boxes that we see on our computer screens are called windows. So you’re never really looking at the medium but through it to the content.
Before reading about digital art like Text Rain and The Wooden Mirror I had never really thought about how big of an impact the Digital Era has had on the creative realm. Now that I’m thinking about it, I see it’s paramount. You see, where museums and art galleries aren’t really my thing, animated comedies like South Park and Family Guy are. Which is art! These shows are now completely produced digitally. No more construction paper or colored pencils. They’ve created digital, three dimensional, virtual worlds for their digital characters to roam in. This allows for shots that were before only possible in live action filming. Inside these virtual sets, an animator can zoom, pan, tilt or track as if he were using an actual camera. It also allows for intense special effects in animation or live action. Maybe South Park and Family Guy weren’t the best examples because they use this technology purely to be ridiculous. However, just about all animation has been done this way since Toy Story all the way to Gnomeo & Juliet in theaters this Friday.