Media Specificity
Definitions• Medium: material or technical means of artistic  expression.• Media is the plural form of medium.• The dictio...
What this lecture is about•   The physical nature of any given thing and its relationship to its environment determines th...
The media specific problem with this lecture   • Tufte argues that                                                 PowerPo...
What are we?•   Our medium specificity is that we are biological creatures. Organic in nature, we have a close genetic    ...
The Specificity of Homo Sapiens                A large brain                Most of the sense organs located at           ...
Tools as extensions of our   SIGHTexisting faculties                             Marshall                             McLu...
SMELL and TOUCHThe human body is unable to sense many potentially harmful substances in the air webreath. NASA has built a...
HEARING
New technologies tend to mimic old ones.
A definition• Medium specificity is the view that the media  associated with a given art form (both its  material componen...
What is media specificity?An artwork, in order to be successful, needs to adhere to the specific stylistic properties of i...
Media specificity is a pre-modernist idea that relates to the modernist concept ‘Truth tomaterials’.It can be seen as an i...
Media Specificity in the fine art world•     Michael Fried 1966 essay "Art and Objecthood" is an attack on minimalist art ...
• But• In order for a medium to have characteristic qualities it must  be grounded in a tradition that has established the...
Media Specificity as Communication Theory               Marshall McLuhan• “The medium is the message"• The central idea in...
Reshaping ourselves• If we are defined by our physical and mental limitations,  by extending these we change the definitio...
Our social patterns shaped by media
Social extensions• Social [knowledge] building as a creative process of knowing  will be collectively extended to the whol...
What are we extending?“Information pours upon us, instantaneously and continuously. As soon asinformation is acquired, it ...
Technology as Memory extensions•   Footprints•   Drawing, painting and symbol making•   Writing•   Printing•   Photography...
Sound and media specificity•   In the 1920s the 10-inch 78 rpm Shellac gramophone disc became the most    popular recordin...
A Short History of Vinyl1932: The first stereo disc is recorded by Stokowski at Bell labs in Philadelphia using vinyl rath...
Photography•       The concept of medium-specificity has had a profound impact on photography. In        its early history...
The Photographic Tableau vivant19th Century Photography mimics painting and theatre                            Pictorialis...
The Tableau Vivant is re-interpreted as being media specific in the1980s in particular through the influence of Jean-Franc...
The Lens as an extension of the faculty of sight•   A camera lens can be seen as an extension of the eye. Kamps, (2011) ex...
FilmMünsterberg was the first writer to establish the specific nature of film as an art form. In1916, he points toflashbac...
During cinemas history, a whole repertoire of techniques (lighting, editing, camera supports, the use ofdifferent film sto...
Bazin advocated the use of deep focus, wide shots and the "shot-in-depth", and preferred what he referred to as "true cont...
Film Stock•   The technical specifics of Velvia (Velvia, 2012) are that it is a type of daylight-balanced colour reversal ...
In The Wizard of Oz, (1939) the Kansas dust bowl appears in black-and-white and the world of Oz in technicolorUses of film...
Animation in Film•   Twentieth century animation became a depository for nineteenth century    moving image techniques lef...
Norman McLaren “Animation is the art of movements that are drawn. What happens between each frame is much moreimportant th...
ComicsScott McCloudUnderstanding Comics  •    Due to their media certain art forms are better at certain tasks than others...
Comics•   Between word and image                                                  Pictorial narratives or                 ...
We learn to read meaning intophysical properties because weare used to doing that from anearly age.Somewhere in the backgr...
Comic specificityEach page is segmented into panels (or frames), which have borders thatseparate them from other panels.In...
Format •   In graphics format often rules                                     Format can be digital or material •   Softwa...
Type formats live on as a memory of old technology.The design grid is a ghost of Guttenberg from 1439The Medium is the Mas...
The Digital Age•   The manual construction of images in digital cinema represents a return    to nineteenth century pre-ci...
Extending the social•   In his 1977 book Marxism and Literature, Raymond Williams proposed a reading of medium-    specifi...
Where are we going?•   The convergence of nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology, and    cognitive science ...
•   Adorno, Theodor (1975). “Culture Industry Reconsidered.” New German Critique 6: 12–19. [End Page 111]•   Adorno, Theod...
Media specificity level_5_lecture_final
Media specificity level_5_lecture_final
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Media specificity level_5_lecture_final

  1. 1. Media Specificity
  2. 2. Definitions• Medium: material or technical means of artistic expression.• Media is the plural form of medium.• The dictionary defines media as all the communication devices and channels of communication used to reach mass audiences.• First use of media in 1927, perhaps abstracted from mass media (1923, a technical term in advertising), pl. of medium in particular when useed as an "intermediate agency," or a ‘carrier’ a sense first found c.1600.
  3. 3. What this lecture is about• The physical nature of any given thing and its relationship to its environment determines the way it works or operates. This lecture will give a brief reminder of what we are as a species and what are our physical and mental limitations. It will then propose that all human attempts to construct media are attempts to extend beyond our physical and mental limitations and that each media we develop has its own limitations and strengths, which we need to understand if we are to make the most of what each media offers.• This lecture takes as one of its central themes the borders and boundaries between media and will argue that any theoretical understanding of communication should include an investigation as to how and why particular media work in the way they do. It will introduce theories of medium specificity and will attempt to determine what traits define a media. It will ask what differentiates film, photography, games etc. from other existing modes of representation. How is photography distinct from painting? What are the defining traits of the cinematic? Are games narratives?• As we deal with these theories, this lecture will attempt to show how they each moved from descriptions of the properties of specific medium to prescriptions for what the aesthetics of these media should look like.• This medium-specific approach, will also explore how cross media narratives evolve and how comparison across media can be used to clarify the essence of any one particular media. Eisenstein, for example, rests his theory of the cinematic on analogies to text-based media, Bazin draws on notions of photography and theatre to talk about cinema.• The intersections between expressive media rather than the borders between them are now becoming far more important and in particular this lecture will explore how the human being as a specific physical and social construction is the driving force behind how each media is used.• Theories that celebrate hybridity and border crossing will also be introduced, and how the notion of medium specificity plays a central role in such formulations.
  4. 4. The media specific problem with this lecture • Tufte argues that PowerPoint’s design inherently makes it more difficult to communicate with an audience. • Instead of giving an informative presentation, PowerPoint encourages speakers to create slides with ultra-short, incomplete thoughts listed with bullets.
  5. 5. What are we?• Our medium specificity is that we are biological creatures. Organic in nature, we have a close genetic connection to the animal world.• We specifically have intensive development and differentiation of the cerebral cortex. We also have an erect posture, free upper extremities, adapted for using and making tools, and advanced development of the means of communication. However the need to maintain balance in the erect posture caused a certain curvature of the spinal column and a shift in the general centre of gravity. Since the upper extremities were no longer used for body support and walking, the skeleton of the lower extremities became stronger and their muscles developed, the feet became arched to act as springs. All the systems of the internal organs have adapted to the erect posture, the means of delivering blood from the lower extremities to the heart and the brain have become more complex. The diaphragm has shifted from a vertical to a horizontal position, the muscles of the abdomen have come to perform a much greater role in the act of breathing. At a certain level of anthropogenesis, under the influence of labour activity and communication, biological development became what is, in effect, the historical development of social systems.• The newborn child is not a "tabula rasa" (clean slate) on which the environment draws patterns. Heredity equips the child not only with instincts, s/he is from the very beginning the possessor of the ability to imitate adults, their actions, the noises they make. S/hes physiological make-up (the round shape of the head, the sophisticated structure of the hands, the shape of the lips and the whole facial structure, the erect posture, etc.) are products of the social way of life, the result of interaction with other people.• The basic aspects of our nature are physiological, psychological and sociological.• At a basic physical level, we are part of the natural interconnection of physical and chemical phenomena and obey the laws of necessity. However in spite of the limitations of this condition our highly developed cerebral cortex allows us to think our way out. If we cant reach it we pick up a stick and if we cant outfight it we sharpen a stone axe.• A human being is a biosocial being and the subject of social forms of life, communication and consciousness.
  6. 6. The Specificity of Homo Sapiens A large brain Most of the sense organs located at the top end and facing forwards Long throat, small mouth, flexible tongue and lips An upright stance that frees the arms from any walking duties and allows the eyes to see further Bi-lateral Hands with mobile thumbs and fingers Symmetry that allow for fine grip and rotation from the wrist
  7. 7. Tools as extensions of our SIGHTexisting faculties Marshall McLuhan
  8. 8. SMELL and TOUCHThe human body is unable to sense many potentially harmful substances in the air webreath. NASA has built an electronic nose to smell what the astronauts can’t. Inspired by thehuman olfactory system, the electronic nose is endowed with ultra-responsive sensors and aneural net to rapidly recognize any dangerous elements in the air.Surgical workstations equipped with robotic arms can accurately perform motions as minuteas 20 to 30 millionths of a meter. Working by teleoperation, the physician uses a joystick-likecontroller that scales down his hand motions, allowing for precision never before possible.Pressure encountered by the robot arm is transferred back through the controller, allowingthe surgeon to feel what the robot encounters.
  9. 9. HEARING
  10. 10. New technologies tend to mimic old ones.
  11. 11. A definition• Medium specificity is the view that the media associated with a given art form (both its material components and the processes by which they are exploited) entail specific possibilities for and constraints on representation and expression, and this provides a normative framework for what artists working in that art form ought to attempt.• Noël Carroll 2008 Normative Adjective: Establishing, relating to, or deriving from a standard or norm, esp. of behaviour: For example, in a prison negative sanctions my be introduced to enforce normative behaviour.
  12. 12. What is media specificity?An artwork, in order to be successful, needs to adhere to the specific stylistic properties of its ownmedium.“Gotthold Ephraim Lessing 1776Medium/media specificity is a term used in aesthetics and art criticism.It is most closely associated with modernism, but it predates it. According to Clement Greenberg,,medium specificity holds that "the unique and proper area of competence" for a form of artcorresponds with the ability of an artist to manipulate those features that are "unique to thenature" of a particular medium.Medium specificity and media specific analysis are ways to identify new media art forms,such as Internet art.Medium specificity can be used as an aesthetic judgement tool, it can be used to frame thequestion, “ Does this work fulfil the promise contained in the medium used to bring theartwork into existence?”We now move from descriptions of the properties of specific medium to prescriptionsfor what the aesthetics of these media should look like.
  13. 13. Media specificity is a pre-modernist idea that relates to the modernist concept ‘Truth tomaterials’.It can be seen as an idea directly in contrast to the phrase “ut pictura poesis” or“as is painting, so is poetry,” taken from Horace’s Ars PoeticaGotthold Ephraim Lessing’s 1766 essay, Laocošn argues that the media of painting andpoetry are inherently different, because while poetry unfolds in time, painting exists inspace. He states that these medias should not overstep their respective terrains.Lessing contends that an artwork, in order to be successful, needs to adhere to thespecific stylistic properties of its own medium.Clement Greenberg in Towards a Newer Laocoon 1940 states: Medium specificityholds that "the unique and proper area of competence" for a form of art correspondswith the ability of an artist to manipulate those features that are "unique to thenature" of a particular medium.
  14. 14. Media Specificity in the fine art world• Michael Fried 1966 essay "Art and Objecthood" is an attack on minimalist art for producing effects that do not derive from within the work itself, but instead are dependent on the viewers relationship with the object. This, he insists, "is now the negation of art" (Fried, 1967)• According to Fried, minimalists took Greenbergs plea for purity too far; instead of exploring the materiality of the media, all they do is present the materials for what they are.• Fried argues that this leads to an emphasis on the viewers encounter with the object and its "objecthood," rather than with the formal qualities within the object itself. This interaction is theatrical because it exists within space and time, while Fried contends that visual art should instead aspire to absorption, which he casts as the opposite of theatricality. The work should present itself whole at every instant, and not depend on the viewers relation to what is being seen. Frank Stella John McCracken Robert Mangold Ad Reinhardt
  15. 15. • But• In order for a medium to have characteristic qualities it must be grounded in a tradition that has established these qualities as intrinsic properties.
  16. 16. Media Specificity as Communication Theory Marshall McLuhan• “The medium is the message"• The central idea in his 1964 book: Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man• McLuhan calls attention to the intrinsic effect of communications media and explains that it is not the content, it is the carrier that creates meaning.• McLuhan expands our understanding of media.• The medium becomes the media which is itself simply an extension of our own physical and mental limitations.
  17. 17. Reshaping ourselves• If we are defined by our physical and mental limitations, by extending these we change the definition of ourselves.• “Electronic technology is reshaping and restructuring patterns of social interdependence and every aspect of our personal lives”. MM• “Print technology fostered a process of specialism and detachment”. MM• Until writing was invented we lived in acoustic space. This was a world of emotion,… speech was the social chart of this bog. MM• MM - Marshall McLuhan: The Medium is the Massage 1967• “The alphabet created forgetfulness” Socrates Phaedrus
  18. 18. Our social patterns shaped by media
  19. 19. Social extensions• Social [knowledge] building as a creative process of knowing will be collectively extended to the whole of human society (McLuhan 1964) Mobile phone networks, Facebook, Twitter• Electronic mass media collapse space and time barriers in human communication, enabling people to interact and live on a global scale (McLuhan; 1962 Gutenberg galaxy)• "The new electronic interdependence recreates the world in the image of a global village." (McLuhan 1966)
  20. 20. What are we extending?“Information pours upon us, instantaneously and continuously. As soon asinformation is acquired, it is very rapidly replaced by still newer information.Our electronically configured world has forced us to move from the habit ofdata classification to the mode of pattern recognition.” MMPerceptual grouping and binding is one of the main functions of ‘early vision’.Ramachandran & Hirstein 1999Technological development reflects existing human neurological as well asphysiological capacity.
  21. 21. Technology as Memory extensions• Footprints• Drawing, painting and symbol making• Writing• Printing• Photography• Sound recording• Silent Film• Technological convergence of Sound recording and Silent Film• TV• Computers (1940s)• Magnetic tape (Available to the public from 1940s)• Video tape (Available to the public from 1969)• Audio-cassettes replace reel-to-reel tape, video-cassettes replace home movies.• Digital convergence , the switch from analogue to digital, concentrated on reducing size and increasing speed and capacity. Today’s computers use miniature integrated-circuit technology in conjunction with rapid-access memory. Computers are desk-top, lap-top, palm-top and will soon be ‘embedded’ in other technologies and even in human beings. The next generation of computers is expected to use forms of ‘artificial intelligence’.• Information storage now includes ourselves. The Visible Human Project (VHP) has created anatomically detailed, three-dimensional representations of both the male and female bodies. The first ‘visible human’ was Joseph Paul Jernigan, a 39-year-old Texan convicted of murder and executed by lethal injection in 1993. Jernigan has been memorized or ‘reincarnated’ as a 15- gigabyte database.
  22. 22. Sound and media specificity• In the 1920s the 10-inch 78 rpm Shellac gramophone disc became the most popular recording medium.• A 10 inch disc rotating at 78 rpm limited the duration of recorded time on each side of a disc to around three minutes.• Songwriters and performers tailored their songs to fit. The 3-minute single remained the song recording standard until well into the 1960s when the availability of microgroove recording and improved mastering techniques enabled recording artists to increase the duration of their recordings. (In particular Bob Dylan’s Like a Rolling Stone and the Beatles’ Hey Jude)• The 3 minute idea still persists and over 95% of all new popular hits still fit this format.• Radio airplay time or slots are now based on 3 minutes. Songs that are longer usually get a remix (often called a Radio Edit) to makes them shorter to fit.• What started out as an engineering limitation has been adopted and maintained by commercial interests.• In song writing terms this becomes: Verse - Chorus - Verse2 - Chorus2 - Bridge - Chorus3
  23. 23. A Short History of Vinyl1932: The first stereo disc is recorded by Stokowski at Bell labs in Philadelphia using vinyl rather thanshellac. By the mid 1930s vinyls are sent to disc jockeys (a term earned through jockeying up the nextrecord) to avoid breakage of shellac copies in the mail.1940: Mobile DJs become popular around the world as entertainers for military troops during WWII,however they still only use a single record player.1943: Jimmy Savile launches one of the world’s first DJ dance parties playing jazz records in an upstairsfunction room in Leeds.1947: One of the first people to use twin turntables for continuous play is Jimmy Saville who pays ametalworker to weld two domestic record decks together for more continuous play at his dance parties inLeeds. This style of ‘twin-deck’ DJing utilising a microphone for talk over becomes industry standard.1947: The “Whiskey-A-Go-Go” opens in Paris playing popular records, this is considered by some to bethe very first disco.1948: Columbia Records introduce the 12inch vinylite Long Play (LP) 33rpm record.1949: RCA Victor release the first 45 rpm single, seven inches in diameter, with a large centre hole toaccommodate automatic play mechanisms. (Microgroove technology introduced)1951: The first Jukebox that can play 7-inch 45 rpm records is introduced.
  24. 24. Photography• The concept of medium-specificity has had a profound impact on photography. In its early history, photography struggled to establish itself as a legitimate art form. Theorists devised a justification for the art of photography that positioned it against its competitor, painting. Art photographers such as Stieglitz, Weston, and Strand argued that in order for photography to be taken seriously, it must operate only according to its own capabilities: it must not aspire to imitate the aesthetics or materials of painting. The art of photography became defined on strictly medium-specific terms.Pictorialism Stieglitz Weston Strand
  25. 25. The Photographic Tableau vivant19th Century Photography mimics painting and theatre Pictorialism as a response, is seen by early 20th century photographic critics as being more media specific. However pictorialism is ‘Like a Picture’ I.e. Its values derive from painting.
  26. 26. The Tableau Vivant is re-interpreted as being media specific in the1980s in particular through the influence of Jean-Francois Chevrier’s essay TheAdventures of the Picture Form in the History of Photography (1989) and JeffWall’s large scale constructed images. Pictorialism, according to Jeff Wall couldbe seen as an attempt by photographers to unsuccessfully imitate painting."By divesting itself of the encumbrances and advantages inherited from older artforms, reportage, or the spontaneous fleeting aspect of the photographic imagepushes toward a discovery of qualities apparently intrinsic to the medium,qualities that must necessarily distinguish the medium from others and throughthe self-examination of which it can emerge as a modernist art on a plane withothers” Jeff Wall Vanessa Beecroft Jeff Wall
  27. 27. The Lens as an extension of the faculty of sight• A camera lens can be seen as an extension of the eye. Kamps, (2011) explains the relationship between the eye and a camera and his explanation helps us understand the media specific nature of lens based media and also how we can understand the camera as an extension of our faculty of sight. He points to the fact that both eyes and lenses focus an inverted image onto a light sensitive surface, the retina and the film stock, as well as both being able to adjust the amount of light entering, using aperture change and iris dilation. More importantly he points out the differences, in particular the subjective nature of human sight and the way that a camera is “an absolute measurement device” . This means that a camera sensor does not have the intelligence of a brain associated with it and that “the signals recorded need to be adjusted to suit the colour temperature of the light illuminating the scene”. Therefore all the technological developments surrounding lens selection, aperture adjustment, film stock sensitivity, lighting equipment etc. etc. are all developments that are designed to help make the camera as sensitive as the eye. The camera operator of course being the ‘brain’ behind choices made in terms of the use of this technology.• The audience have grown up with their own ‘sight’ and the experiences associated with visual perception will be directly associated with the images produced by film technology. It is at this basic level that perhaps emotional empathy operates, a dark scene being associated with experiences of the dark in the ‘real world’, such as being in a cave or being out at night; bright light being associated with early visual experiences of a summer’s day or a spring morning. The eyeball camera lens “The tiny camera combines the best of both the human eye and an expensive single-lens reflex (SLR) camera with a zoom lens. It has the simple lens of the human eye, allowing the device to be small, and the zoom capability of the SLR camera without the bulk and weight of a complex lens. The key is that both the simple lens and photodetectors are on flexible substrates, and a hydraulic system can change the shape of the substrates appropriately, enabling a variable zoom.”
  28. 28. FilmMünsterberg was the first writer to establish the specific nature of film as an art form. In1916, he points toflashbacks, close-ups, and edits as the techniques that are used in film to capture narratives and contraststhese to the means available to theatrical productions.“These devices (close-ups, edits etc.) are all objectifications of mental processes.” He points out that thesetechniques are what distinguish film from theatre. In his writings he also introduced ideas relating toaudience reception. He started to ask questions as to how and why an audience might learn the conventionsof this new art form. He pointed to the fact that audiences did not get confused by large close ups incomparison with medium format shots. They did not think for instance this meant people were getting biggeror smaller.Panofsky (1934) states that an audience’s enjoyment of film is not to do with subject matter, but to do with“the sheer delight that things seemed to move.”Perception Is Movement, Movement Is PerceptionSalvatore LeonardiMovement is an attention Getting Device:External attention getting devices -intensity and size contrast - unexpected stimuli (orienting response) repetition movement we naturally respond to movement (midbrain)Internal attention getting devicesmotives and emotions needs, interestsset or expectancy past experience tunes us primed
  29. 29. During cinemas history, a whole repertoire of techniques (lighting, editing, camera supports, the use ofdifferent film stocks and lens, etc.) were developed to modify the basic record obtained by a filmapparatus.Photography is coupled with a motor and a set of particular physical constraints were worked with that wenow understand as the media specificity of film.Jean-Luc Godard defined cinema as: “Truth 24 frames per second“Bazin introduces the idea of reality "captured" on film, which implied that cinema was about photographingwhat existed before the camera, rather than "creating the never-was" of special effects. Rear projectionand blue screen photography, matte paintings and glass shots, mirrors and miniatures, optical effects andother techniques which allowed filmmakers to construct and alter the moving images, were seen assuspicious by many early film critics.The difficulty of modifying images once they were recorded was what gave cinema its value as adocument, and this was at the core of Bazin’s media specific film theory. He makes a distinction between“those directors who put their faith in the image and those who put their faith in reality”However other early theorists such as Eisenstein tended to mix up their theories and Eisenstein’s interestin Montage directly contradicts Bazin.However both use specific media contexts on which to build theory.Bazin: the lens collects light and the film stock records it.Eisenstein: Film must be cut and reassembled in order to create narrative.Eisenstein describes five methods of montage in his introductory essay "Word and Image“, in it hecombines literary theory with film theory.Metric - where the editing follows a specific number of frames (based purely on the physical nature oftime), cutting to the next shot no matter what is happening within the image.Rhythmic - includes cutting based on continuity, creating visual continuity from edit to edit.Tonal - a tonal montage uses the emotional meaning of the shots to elicit a reaction from the audience;more complex than from the metric or rhythmic montage. For example, a sleeping baby would emotecalmness and relaxation.Overtonal/Associational - the overtonal montage is the cumulation of metric, rhythmic, and tonalmontage to synthesize its effect on the audience for an even more abstract and complicated effect.
  30. 30. Bazin advocated the use of deep focus, wide shots and the "shot-in-depth", and preferred what he referred to as "true continuity" through mise en scèneover experiments in editing and visual effects. This placed him in opposition to film theory of the 1920s and 1930s which emphasized how the cinema canmanipulate reality. The famous staircase sequence from The Battleship Potemkin employs montage to create the illusion that the staircase is almostendless, and intercuts shots of a stroller rolling down the steps with close-ups of horrified faces and dying people, thus destroying the reality of the actualspace and using metaphors and juxtaposition to create a specific response. Wells and Renoir use the lens to capture the totality of a situation so that theaudience have maximum information to allow them to read what is going on. Renoir On Purge Bébé Eisenstein Battleship Potemkin Wells Citizen Kane
  31. 31. Film Stock• The technical specifics of Velvia (Velvia, 2012) are that it is a type of daylight-balanced colour reversal film and has a smooth image structure, it also has extremely high levels of colour saturation and image quality. It was very fast, had a fine grain and an ISO of 50. Because of the high levels of colour saturation and image quality, Velvia’s main use in film making was for landscape shots and special-effects backgrounds. However one film in particular used Velvia as a chosen film stock, this was Vincent Ward directed film What Dreams May Come (1998) starring Robin Williams, where the action takes place inside an actual painting. In this case the choice of this highly saturated film stock was perfect. The Velvia film stock was used to create the feeling of being inside the world of the canvas, its saturated colours reflecting the fact that all the action was supposed to be taking place within a painter’s colour palette. When action takes place in the ‘real-world’ the film stock changes back into a normal standard Kodak film stock.
  32. 32. In The Wizard of Oz, (1939) the Kansas dust bowl appears in black-and-white and the world of Oz in technicolorUses of film stock rely on an expected audience emotional reactionto heighted colour.
  33. 33. Animation in Film• Twentieth century animation became a depository for nineteenth century moving image techniques left behind by cinema.• Before film stock a variety of handcrafted methods were used. Magic lantern slides were painted at least until the 1850s; so were the images used in the Phenakistiscope, the Thaumatrope, the Zootrope, the Praxinoscope, the Choreutoscope and other nineteenth century proto- cinematic devices.• Not only were the images created manually, they were also manually animated. In Robertsons Phantasmagoria, which premiered in 1799, magic lantern operators moved behind the screen in order to make projected images appear to advance and withdraw. Nineteenth century optical toys enjoyed in private homes also required manual action to create movement -- twirling the strings of the Thaumatrope, rotating the Zootropes cylinder, turning the Viviscopes handle.• Film animation links the hand craft of drawing to the motor and film’s projection technology.
  34. 34. Norman McLaren “Animation is the art of movements that are drawn. What happens between each frame is much moreimportant than what exists on each frame. Animation is therefore the art of manipulating the invisible interstices that liebetween the frames.“
  35. 35. ComicsScott McCloudUnderstanding Comics • Due to their media certain art forms are better at certain tasks than others. • The Art of Comics: A Philosophical Approach • From the chapter: Making Comics into Film p. 149 • By Aaron Meskin, Roy T. Cook, Warren Ellis To be released Feb. 2012
  36. 36. Comics• Between word and image Pictorial narratives or expositions in which Juxtaposed pictorial and words usually other images in contribute to the deliberate sequence, The printed meaning of the intended to convey arrangement of pictures and vice information and/or art and balloons versa produce an aesthetic response in the reader in sequence
  37. 37. We learn to read meaning intophysical properties because weare used to doing that from anearly age.Somewhere in the background of agood communication is yourmum’s smile.
  38. 38. Comic specificityEach page is segmented into panels (or frames), which have borders thatseparate them from other panels.Individual panels contain one part of a story (perhaps dialogue betweencharacters), or a characters inner thoughts (represented by speech and thoughtballoons) that leads into the next panel.Panels are routinely separated by blank areas called gutters.Panels are set out to logically flow one to another, guiding the readers eyes sothat they can take in the story in a sequential manner.Comic books are often called sequential art -- a type of graphic storytelling.Shaping the Maxx is the classic text examining how a complex comic bookcould be transferred to TV. http://www2.gsu.edu/~jougms/Maxx.htmAdaptation across media is necessarily a process of translation, you can’tmerely import forms from one medium to another. The work of adaptationtransforms the original content because the new medium cannot simplyduplicate the old.Animation often translates wide frames in a comic into horizontal cameramovements. Camera movements also provide the translation for more complexcomics devices. Usually a change of comics frames signals a new spatialperspective on the action, this might become a pan or slow zoom when ittranslates into film.
  39. 39. Format • In graphics format often rules Format can be digital or material • Software formats • AI - Adobe Illustrators metafile format. • CGM - Computer Graphics Metafile: An International Standards Organization metafile format for images. • GIF - Graphics Interchange Format • JFIF - The JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) File Interchange Format. Where would you be without compression? • PSD - Adobe Photoshops native format, which stores all of its layer and selection and miscellaneous other image data.Format represents thephysical point of contactwith the user; affectinghow we receive adesigns printed or onlineinformation.Format is derived fromthe media specificqualities of the materialused. Material manufactured in thin sheets from the pulp of wood or other fibrous substances
  40. 40. Type formats live on as a memory of old technology.The design grid is a ghost of Guttenberg from 1439The Medium is the Massage is a typo
  41. 41. The Digital Age• The manual construction of images in digital cinema represents a return to nineteenth century pre-cinematic practices, when images were hand- painted and hand-animated. Using the computer as a tool to do this is simply using a very powerful extension.• Today, with the shift to digital media, the marginalized techniques of image manipulation (Rear projection and blue screen photography, matte paintings and glass shots, mirrors and miniatures etc.) move to the centre.• In effect digital technology merges disciplines. Film and animation become combined, CGI creating a world of hard to distinguish differences between live action and animation.• As differences between media disappear the concept of medium- specificity needs to change or it becomes redundant. Media can also be defined by the social or cultural context they are practiced within and this is perhaps a way into looking at convergent media.
  42. 42. Extending the social• In his 1977 book Marxism and Literature, Raymond Williams proposed a reading of medium- specificity where media are defined by the social or cultural context they are practiced in (“From Medium to Social Practice”).• Williams traces the evolution in art historical terminology from defining artworks according to “medium,” to defining them as “practice.” For instance students used to study ‘painting’ or ‘sculpture’ now they study ‘fine art practice’.• Post-modernism emphasises the conceptual rather than the material basis of practice.• Like Williams, Rosalind Krauss argues for a “different specificity” in what she deems “the post- medium condition,” A Voyage on the North Sea: Art in the Age of the Post-Medium Condition.• The Greenbergian notion of medium-specificity will not be located in materials or methods, but in the “essence of Art itself”. The successful art of this post-medium age will reflect on its own practice in relation to the past.• Are the old and the new media completely separate entities or are new media old media delivered with new technologies?• For Bolter and Grusin the specificity of new media, their “newness,” lies in the way they remediate older media. Building on McLuhan, they define remediation as “the representation of one medium in another.” This conceptualises the relationship between old and new media not as oppositional but as part of a media genealogy, focusing on their connections and affiliations instead.• Bolter, Jay David and Richard Grusin. “Remediation.” Configurations 4.3 (1996): 311-358
  43. 43. Where are we going?• The convergence of nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology, and cognitive science is transforming global society. Technological convergence is beginning to define the way societies interact and organise themselves.• The new technologies that convergence produces have immense consequences for global security, communications, surveillance, health, ecosystems, biogenetics and the prolongation of life. And as with every new technology, new marginalised groups (the ‘have nots’) are being created.• In particular, cybernetics – the science of communications and automatic control systems in both machines and living things – is having a revolutionary impact on education and culture, on genetic research and evolving biotechnologies, on food production and the health of people. New applications are being developed that not only contest previous theories, but may also change the very nature of human self-understanding and the social relationships that sustain it.• Science fiction will become science fact, we may in future become an extension of the media itself.
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