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Digital Materiality: Making, Networks, Media

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There are three things that matter in relation to a networked specific practice and media production. These three terms apply to the formal attributes of digital media, the qualities that practice …

There are three things that matter in relation to a networked specific practice and media production. These three terms apply to the formal attributes of digital media, the qualities that practice requires, and how audiences participate, use, and engage with networked media. There is no hierarchy amongst these three terms, and they move prove to be insufficient. The terms are porousness, granularity, and facets. The list does not include database, user, or interactivity, as these are not causes but consequences of this triumvirate of terms.


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  • 1. digital materiality: making, networks, media adrian miles 2013
  • 2. questions What do we need to know, or understand, to shift from treating the internet as a place of publication and dissemination to being the site of practice? What are the formal qualities to consider for a network specific mode of making? What are the formal qualities to consider for a network specific form of media? This presentation is premised on treating the internet as a particular place and event for media practice. It does this not by thinking about tools, platforms, or systems, but by the attributes these need, and express.
  • 3. a triumvirate There are three things that matter in relation to a networked specific practice and media production. These three terms apply to the formal attributes of digital media, and so address the qualities that practice requires, and how we participate, use, and engage with networked media. There is no hierarchy amongst these three terms, and they may prove to be insufficient.
  • 4. a triumvirate There are three things that matter in relation to a networked specific practice and media production. These three terms apply to the formal attributes of digital media, and so address the qualities that practice requires, and how we participate, use, and engage with networked media. There is no hierarchy amongst these three terms, and they may prove to be insufficient.
  • 5. a triumvirate There are three things that matter in relation to a networked specific practice and media production. These three terms apply to the formal attributes of digital media, and so address the qualities that practice requires, and how we participate, use, and engage with networked media. There is no hierarchy amongst these three terms, and they may prove to be insufficient. The terms are porousness, granularity, and facets. The list does not include database, user, or interactivity, as these are not causes but consequences of this triumvirate of terms.
  • 6. a triumvirate There are three things that matter in relation to a networked specific practice and media production. These three terms apply to the formal attributes of digital media, and so address the qualities that practice requires, and how we participate, use, and engage with networked media. There is no hierarchy amongst these three terms, and they may prove to be insufficient. The terms are porousness, granularity, and facets. The list does not include database, user, or interactivity, as these are not causes but consequences of this triumvirate of terms.
  • 7. porousness Porousness describes the way in which the objects within networked media need to be open to each other internally, and externally. They are open internally to the extent that its constituent parts are available to its other constituent parts through what Weinberger has rather informally defined as 'small pieces loosely joined". Similarly, the work itself, as an assemblage of constituent parts, needs to be available to other systems and objects externally, out on the network. This allows them to be shared, curated, and used otherwise. Porous media does not want or need to monopolise my attention, screen, or hardware.
  • 8. porousness Porousness describes the way in which the objects within networked media need to be open to each other internally, and externally. They are open internally to the extent that its constituent parts are available to its other constituent parts through what Weinberger has rather informally defined as “small pieces loosely joined”. Similarly, the work itself, as an assemblage of constituent parts, needs to be available to other systems and objects externally, out on the network. This allows them to be shared, curated, and used otherwise. Porous media does not want or need to monopolise my attention, screen, or hardware.
  • 9. granularity Granularity describes the smallest constitutive unit in a work that provides closure and coherence by itself. It is a meaningful whole, as is. This unit does not need to be narrative. A work that is highly granular can be regarded as very porous.
  • 10. granularity Granularity describes the smallest constitutive unit in a work that provides closure and coherence by itself. It is a meaningful whole, as is. This unit does not need to be narrative. A work that is highly granular can be regarded as very porous.
  • 11. A “basic unit” is the smallest fragment within a medium that can be taken out or isolated and still be enjoyed or understood as a complete work; that is, a fragment possessing closure. McAdams, Mindy. "Hypertext Breakdown: An Overview". http:// www.well.com/user/mmcadams/basic.units.main.html 1995 [long disappeared]
  • 12. facets When a thing is porous and granular they have a multitude of possible connections with each other. These possible connections are the facets that things present to each other, or which other things cause to be presented. As there are a multiplicity of such facets, in any networked practice only some of this set of facets are 'realised', however the more facets that are enabled and available, then the more possibilities for connections between parts exist.
  • 13. facets When a thing is porous and granular they have a multitude of possible connections with each other. These possible connections are the facets that things present to each other, or which other things cause to be presented. As there are a multiplicity of such facets, in any networked practice only some of this set of facets are ‘realised’, however the more facets that are enabled and available, then the more possibilities for connections between parts exist.
  • 14. http://s838.photobucket.com/user/capshook/media/March/GeodesicDome-Dusk.jpg.html
  • 15. montaged, mediated Where the units within networked media are granular and porous then these qualities remain during, and after, publication and distribution. This means these small parts still make some sort of sense, even if shifted elsewhere and into other contexts. This makes it easy to remix material, and the more facets that can be provided to search, find, connect, and identify these elements then the easier and more successfully things can be mediated and montaged.
  • 16. cinema (an aside) Cinema has always existed in such a condition, and it is the shot’s granularity and porousness to other shots that has made cinema possible. A shot, has, in the terms used here, many facets available to other shots to form a sequence. This means that the shift heralded by networked practice and media may not be as large as many believe, so that it is not so much the formal attributes as others that need addressing as media making moves even more substantially into networked modes.
  • 17. kuleshov (revisited)
  • 18. POROUSNESS open internally, and externally GRANULARITY smallest, closure, and coherence FACETS multitude of possible connections
  • 19. so However, by considering and adopting porousness, granularity, and facets as significant formal attributes makers and audiences are able to curate work into collections. Here the audience is no longer only an audience but slides from the user who engages, reuses, and remixes, to the curator who collects, self managing those things that matter for them, to the viewer who simply likes to watch.
  • 20. the change If film and video is granular and porous then the shift heralded by networked practice and media may not be as large as many believe. This means it is not the formal attributes of film and video in themselves that need reconsideration for film and video as media making moves even more substantially into networked modes. What needs consideration (reconsideration) are the implications of granularity and facets for possible forms (and forms possible). The shift is in the preservation of these relations after the event of the works making. Which is simply a question, or problem, of facets.
  • 21. a relational media This is a relational media. Relational media is media that effects qualitative changes in its whole by virtue of the varying relations it enables between its parts. Relational media is media that has multiple possible wholes.
  • 22. and so? As practitioners do these become the formal or ontological qualities to build with? As teachers are these the concepts to be employed, used, embraced and played with? As researchers what problems do facets and porousness ask of us?