This was a highly information-dense reading, and so it took me a longer time than usual to finish the reading. I did enjoy reading it though — the parameters that Manovich is trying to define new media with are interesting. He makes sure to come at the definition process from many angles: first, he creates five categories to say what constitutes new media (numerical representation, modularity, automation, variability, transcoding). He then goes on to say what does not constitute new media, busting some common myths about defining new media. Finally, having established a sort of parameter for understanding what new media is, he goes on to explore how it relates with our society and culture.
Something I liked about Manovich’s analysis was the connection that he made between changing societies and the changing nature of new media. I particularly liked, like Mari, the point about trends in new media reflecting the cultural shift from a sort of mass public sphere into a more individualized, unique one.
I also liked the section on cinema. Manovich writes: “Cinema, the major cultural form of the twentieth century, has found a new life as the toolbox of a computer user. Cinematic means of perception, of connecting space and time, of representing human memory, thinking, and emotions become a way of work and a way of life for millions in the computer age. Cinema’s aesthetic strategies have become basic organizational principles of computer software. The window in a fictional world of a cinematic narrative has become a window in a datascape. In short, what was cinema has become human-computer interface.” I am currently taking a class in which we are exploring principles and strategies of film and cinema, and this connection was an interesting one.
Overall, this was an interesting read that A. taught me a lot about the general history of computers and new media and B. has gotten me to think about why these definitions might be necessary and important, and how they can affect my own projects as an IM student.