Thursday, February 25, 2010

Manovich - The Language of New Media

-Manovich states that all digital-born art must be married to its interface. Form and content cannot be separated, they must be intentionally medium specific. For me, this raises the question, what are the interface and machine themselves specific to? I think the answer to this question is the human. The mouse or touchpad are designed specifically for the hand, the screen is placed at eye-level. Further, the code that the interface depends on is created from textual objects, already familiar to humans. Both the interface and the machine must be specific to the human body as its user and creator.

-On pages 90-91, Manovich draws on Alpers' description of Dutch Renaissance painting as a comparison to the modern computer screen and human-computer interface. Both provide symbolic clues to the culture of their times, however, while we can learn about the Dutch Renaissance 400 years after the fact, the computer screen can only teach us about ourselves now. 400 years from now we will probably not be able to access the interfaces we have now. What does this say about the current pace of technological evolution and what repercussions will it have?

-In his discussion of the screen, Manovich fails to mention the role light plays in its concept and medium. Here we must make a distinction between the screen of the cinema - onto which light is projected - and the screens of computers and television - from which light emanates. Anything on these screens will be lit from behind, as if from the image itself. This is counter to every image our brain is able to perceive in the observable and physical world: we see things when light is reflected off of them. Does this reversal of light's role in image making turn the screen itself into a heterotopia?

Emily Martin - Matt's section

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