Tuesday, March 29, 2011

New Media - Chap 1-2

Manovich begins with listing the various technologies that are most common and most often tied to new media, like the computer. I, too, associate the computer with New Media like some of my other classmates. Manovich goes on to question how we can define media as “new” if it just simply store information more efficiently. He begins by looking over the history, first section of the chapter asking the question, how media became new? I found this section quite interesting, as this was the first time, I read about media that went as far back as early 1800’s. From a process called daguerreotype to Analytical Engine, which contained most of the key features of a modern computer, examples that were very interesting. Manovich also mentions that the development of computers and modern media run parallel, despite not crossing paths much of their history. Manovich reaches a conclusion that media becomes ‘new’ the moment these two parallel paths crossed for the first time, with media becoming computable. I found this a little difficult to understand, but when I did I knew I would never think this up on my own. Computers have become these ‘new media processors’.

The rest of the first chapter was a bit technical. At some points, I found myself researching some of the concepts in order to understand. He first focuses on digital media that data has to be represented in numerical form, in short, to be programmable. I understood this part fairly easily. Modularity, automation, variability, trancoding were the rest of the concepts that were a little difficult to grasp. I liked this chapter because it had somewhat of a scientific approach rather than theory. It was more of a technical, fact-based foundation than the first book we read.


  1. I'm glad his approach held some appeal to you. I'd like to see a bit more of a commentary on it, though, beyond whether you liked it or had difficulty with it.

  2. I agree it was bait technical in places. I had to look up definitions at some points.