Thursday, January 13, 2011

Week 1, new media continuities, Glenn Arnold

Lev Manovich suggests that the people who have “articulated fundamental ideas of human-computer interaction” are the major modern artists. I agree with this to a point – new media has created new artistic forms and relationships. But I don’t think these forms necessarily have to supplant existing artistic modes. Experimentation with interactive storytelling can be rewarding, but so can Manovich’s more traditional “romantic” idea of solitary authorship. As a writer, I love to create narrative, but I also like to be told a story. I can fully enjoy reading someone else’s story and not feel any need to directly interact with the words on the page or the screen. The interaction occurs within my own consciousness, as I process and comprehend the effect created by these words, which may then subsequently influence my own writing. I don’t disagree with Manovich’s point that new artistic forms are emerging as a result of technology, but I think these new forms can still coexist with existing modes. The idea of a strong narrative thread is a continuity that can be applied to any form of storytelling, whether it is interactive or uni-directional.


  1. Glenn I think you're raising an important consideration here...basically it's about context and what kind of story-experience we're looking for. At times we might prefer an interactive digital iPad environment, other times we might hope for that romantic idea (as you say), and curl up on a couch with a cup of coffee. I don't think Manovich is talking about how new creations/relationships are taking over, but that they do offer a very different experience - we should see these people AS major modern artists, not as THE only ones though. As Manovich explains: "That is, not only new media technologies – computer programming,
    graphical human-computer interface, hypertext, computer multimedia, networking (both wiredbased and wireless) – have actualized the ideas behind the projects by artists, but they extended them much further than the artists originally imagined." ( What would be interesting, of course, would be go to back and talk to one of those artists and find out his/her thoughts of the new media affect.

  2. Old wine New wineskins?

    Art, human expressions of creativity - emotions, ideas... etc. adapted various forms and shapes of technological knowhow in history. The phenomenon of new technologies creating newer versions of old artistic forms is a very familiar scene in countries like India, where indigenous artistic expressions are so vast and unique. As Glenn pointed out old can co-exist with the new. But very often the old is transformed by the new technology, as it brings newer possibilities.

    Going through some of the materials for this course has opened for me the new forms that are emerging because of the virtual world. May be we can have a replica of various art forms in the virtual world - a virtual edition (like museums, tours,Second life...).

  3. Art at one point seemed to be something that was seen through a unique experience - being able to say you have traveled to the country in which the museum or landmark houses the piece of art. In many ways the experience was not just about seeing the particular piece of art but 'experiencing' the other sights and sounds around you as you took in the art. Standing at the Taj Mahal in the midst of scorching July heat or having your tour guide change the schedule so that you could stay an extra night in the city to be able to view the Mona Lisa, are all experiences that encompassed so much more than one particular piece of art. Jess-you bring up an excellent question when you say it would be interesting to ask the artist about the new media effect. I wonder also what the effect has also been on the ones who take in the art. On one hand new media brings experiences and sights to people who otherwise would never have the fortune of seeing them. But does it also create a laziness in those that have the ability to travel and experience the art but would rather rely on new media to bring it to them?

  4. Paul - have you looked at the Virtual Museum of Canada:

    Everyone - And for something close to home...what are your thoughts on this virtual "tour" of #Yeg City Hall: ?

  5. I had never seen the virtual tour of City Hall before. I have mixed impressions of this application. On one hand, the narration and information points on the tour have provided far more knowledge of the building and operation of municipal government than I would have sought out on my own. As well, the virtual tour gave me a glimpse of some parts of the building that I have never seen. (Because those spaces are usually locked when I go there.) On the other hand, the visual representations on the tour do not in any way replicate the physical and emotional response one has when standing in the main hall. People often have deep, emotional reactions to the spaces around them, (architects understand this), even though they may not be consciously aware of these responses. Even with the ability to toggle different views in this tour, the sensation of experiencing all the space at once and the subtly provoked emotional context is missing. Thus, although this tour is useful and informative, it doesn't replace the experience of actually being there.

  6. Hi Jess

    Thanks for the link on city Hall. Very interesting. Virtuality inviting for participation.