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The Language of New Media Chapter Four

Chapter Four of Lev Manovich’s  The Language of New Media is titled The Illusions. The first section of this chapter summarizes what he believes visual illusionism is and how it affects new media. He touches on three dimensional imaging techniques, such as shading, to add the illusion of images that appear more real than before. He also mentions virtual reality in this introductory section. One part worth noting is the differing relationships in arguments concerning theories of illusion in art and media. These  arguments taken from the book verbatim are listed below:

1. Illusionistic images share some features with the represented physical reality (for instance, the number of an object’s angles).

2. Illusionistic images share some features with human vision (for instance, linear perspective).

3. Each period offers some new “features” that are perceived by audiences as an “improvement” over the previous period (for instance, the evolution of cinema from silent to sound to color).

 

Futher reading into chapter four reveals Manovich’s idea of the synthetic image and it subject. In this section of the chapter photorealism is centralized and examples of synthetic three-dimensional images are given. Star Wars: Episode One, Terminator 2, and Jurassic Park are three cinematic example that are used to show the effects of photorealism. He states that sometimes these images are too real. I agree to a certain extent but one cannot help but marvel at the progress that movies have made visually in the past 25 years. A more contemporary example of three dimensional rendering that came to mind is the Toy Story movies created by Disney-Pixar. These movies really amplified the jump into computer animation that is now common place in movies as well as children’s television shows. Here is a screen capture from the original movie:

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Chapter Four of this book concludes with illusion, narrative, and interactivity. This section focuses on the interactivity in the three dimensional realm.  He states that “three dimensional space becomes surface; a photograph becomes a diagram; a character becomes an icon.” This statement really summarizes what this section is about in simplest terms. He also touches on how popular games have become modeled after simulators. One title in particular is the highly successful Tomb Raider game. One company that handles model simulation is ACM SIGSIM. A link to their website can be found below.

http://www.acm-sigsim-mskr.org/MSAreas/GamingBased/gamingBased.htm

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Photo Essay

My home for the last four years has been here in Jacksonville, FL. While there are many people who complain about this city, I personally don’t think it is that bad. Jacksonville is so big you have to find the places you want to be and it is not usually right outside your front door. In this photo essay I tried to encompass the two lives most of us live here. One is the everyday, mundane and sometimes hectic routine. The other is the peaceful, laidback life that is not very well represented here.

Almost awake in Jacksonville.

Almost awake in Jacksonville.

Clearer now.

Clearer now.

The weekday begins.

The weekday begins.

On my way to school.

On my way to school.

Outside of work, the only peaceful place here.

Outside of my work buliding. Amazing how something so peaceful can be so close to the circus that occurs inside.

My time.

My time.

Hugenot Beach.

Hugenot Beach.

A good place for pelicans to catch a meal.

A good place for pelicans to have dinner.

St. John's River Ferry. Hopefully this will continue to run for a long time.

St. John’s River Ferry. Hopefully this will continue to run for a long time.

The Language of New Media Chapter 3

In chapter three, The Operations, from Lev Manovich’s The Language of New Media the topic of teleaction is discussed in detail. Teleaction is a word I had not seen before reading this chapter and a simple definition of it is the access of new media through computer hardware and software. The “tele” prefix gave an early clue as to this term referring to something that is far away. Manovich even states himself that “… once we begin with tele-, we are no longer dealing with the traditional cultural domain of representation. Instead, we enter a new conceptual space, which this book has not explored so far-telecommunication.”

An example of teleaction that Manovich uses is a web camera setup and broadcasting a remote location.  While we are not physically at the location that is being shown we can still see what is happening there in real time. In that sense though I guess one could say that live television programming is a form of teleaction as well because the viewer is seeing something from far away as it is happening.

In fact as I read further, the author does mention differing types of teleaction. These are telepresence, image-instruments, and telecommunications. He describes telepresence as controlling an object from far away and being able to see as if you were actually there and moving with it. Image-Instruments are the use of representations and the motion of them. A map is a good example of an image instrument.  Last, but not least, Manovich talks about telecommunication as teleaction. I suppose this is where live television would fall into place. Telecommunication surrounds us in the present day. From news, weather, sporting events. The use of telecommunication as an informative and entertainment tool is limitless it seems.

This image I found represents telecommunications fittingly:

Telecommunications

     Along with that I found a link to a youtube video that shows the NASA  Rover broadcasting images from Mars. The telepresence example Manovich used of the movie Titanic made me thing of this.

Chapter Two Review

Lev Manovich’s The Interface, the second chapter in his book The Language of New Media, is much like his first chapter in that it is a tough read. The writing is in depth to say the least and there is little break between sections. I will, for the sake of writing a good review of this chapter, look past these hindrances and look at the positives that come from this section.  

The screen and the user interested me the most because if talks about the human interaction within the interface and how it has changed. He defines the classical screen as simply “a flat, rectangular surface.” This is the starting point in history of the screen and can be a painting.

The next screen to come around is the dynamic screen. This one is a screen that is capable of changing images over a span of time. Televisions and theatre completely revolve around the idea of a dynamic screen. Really if you think about it even plays long before the invention of televisions could be looked at as a dynamic screen because of the movement of the characters on stage.

Virtual reality is also talked about in this section. In this instance, as Manovich states, “the screen has disappeared altogether.” Physical and simulated space coincide within virtual reality. Virtual reality was at one point a popular idea that was toyed with and seemed to be the wave of the future. I don’t know it might make a comeback and be taken to new heights but that remains to be seen. Doing research on current trends in virtual reality brought me to the video of a new headset called the Oculus Rift. A youtube review of this headset can be found here . Unusual looking at best it looks to certainly change the world of video gaming.

Memes

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The general definition of a meme is an element of culture that is passed from one person to another. However, the internet meme has taken on a life of its own. An internet meme is usually a captioned picture that is posted to a social media website and shared with friends which in turn share with all of their friends and so on. In the matter of days a very funny meme can be seen and shared by millions of people.

They are relevant in digital media and communication due to their social aspect and the fact that they are shared so easily and rapidly. Communication has become faster and faster due to the use of social media and memes have become very popular on these sites. Take a look at your facebook page right now and count how many meme posts there are. I’ve noticed that a lot of meme postings on social media websites offer an opinion, agreement or disagreement on something without actually using your own words to  voice it.

Review of Lev Manovich’s: The Language of New Media Chapter One

Lev Manovich’s  defines new media as “graphics, moving images, sounds, shapes, spaces, and texts that have become computable” in his book The Language of New Media.  In the first chapter of his book he attempts to define what new media is and what it is not.  He also believes that any media requiring a computer is too limiting of a definition to classify it as new on the preceding page. To me this sounds somewhat contradictory and possibly overreaching a bit.

Once I got passed the rambling of the first few pages in the chapter one I came across Manovich’s  five principles of new media. Ok, great I say to myself maybe this part will help me understand his definition and reasoning behind the term new media.

The first principle was numerical representation.  He goes on to say that a new media object can be described as a “mathematical function and is subject to algorithmic manipulation. In short media becomes programmable”.  This makes sense to me new media is digitalized.

His next principle is modularity and is defined by media created from small samples and reproduced. I am still following so far, this is good.

The third principle is automation. This he says is using templates to save time. I understand and agree with this principle. One could argue though that since newspapers were automated in a sense would this make printed newspapers new media?

The fourth principle of new media according to Manovich is variability meaning differing versions can exist and be created by computer.

His final principle of whether something can be labeled as new media is the presence of transcoding. This principle did not make sense to me at all. To be honest it could’ve been written in sanscrit and I would have gotten a better picture of what he was getting at.

My overall review of this book is that while its intention is great and he makes some valid points on the subject of what new media is, the author seems to ramble on about a reasoning that could probably be more simplified in its language and easier for the reader to get into.