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History and Philosophy of Media 2

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  1. 1. >>> Problems of periodisation 2: >>> screen geometries A hundred and fifty years ago, two inventions revolutionised the image: lithography and photog- raphy. Combined in contemporary photolitho presses , large-scale printing of photographs lead us into a new set of mathematised techniques. Refined through fax, TV and digital transmission, our imaging technologies are dominated by grids. Is the unacknowledged presence of tiny squares just a random blip in a chaotic cosmos, or perhaps a structural characteristic of the society we now inhabit: the database economy. 100-583 HISTROY AND PHILOSOPHY OF MEDIA 2010
  2. 2. Richard Parkes Bonington (1802-1828) Tour du gros horloge, Évreux Lithograph, 331mm x 245mm (detail of clockface above)
  3. 3. William Henry Fox Talbot, Latticed Window at Lacock Abbey, 1835
  4. 4. Stephen H. Horgan, Steinway Hall, New York Daily Graphic, December 2, 1873: first prited halftone photograph.
  5. 5. Bell Labs Wirephoto, first commercial transmission, New York 1935
  6. 6. The Quatermass Experiment, BBC TV, 1953, dir Rudolph Cartier, scr Nigel Kneale
  7. 7. Cathode Ray Tube Trinitron Mask
  8. 8. LCD sub-pixel
  9. 9. H.261 Codec STRUCTURE used to do the ‘in-betweening’, extrapolating from ‘a hierarchical structure with four primary layers. first and last frames the action needed to move From top to bottom the layers are: Picture; Group of from one to the other. This information is encoded Blocks, or slice, or video picture segment; Macrob- not as full-frame animation but as an instruction set, lock; Block’ (ITU 2005:13 which requires far fewer lines of code. As the Flash Video white paper notes, ‘A lower keyframe rate COLOUR (such as one keyframe every six seconds) will result YCbCr, which codes for luminance (Y) and two chro- in a softer or blurrier image but reduces the band- ma channels (C), blue and red, on the principle that width demand’ (Macromedia 2004: 13). the panchromatic Y channel captures the necessary detail, while the absence of green (as used in almost VECTOR PREDICTION all colour film, television and high-end storage media Vectors predict movement based on sequence from like DVD and Blu-Ray) minimises redundancy be- an initial image. Encoding artefacts are increasingly cause the green channel overlaps with both red and likely in hand-held sequences when the prediction blue, especially in the yellow segment of the spec- system is more likely to predict wrongly or as the trum. This is a variant of 8-bit colour graphics, which Flash Video white paper has it, ‘If your camera is not allows a range of 256 colours steady, most of the image moves, causing a high per- centage of pixels in the video to change from frame KEYFRAMES to frame. A steady camera reduces the number of uncompressed frames which are used as a reference pixels that change from frame to frame, giving you for filling in compressed frames that come between better quality at higher compression rates (lower them. In Flash vector animation, a similar process is data rates’ (Macromedia 2004: 11).
  10. 10. ISSUES 1. UNIT ENUMERATION = commodity equivalence, exchangability 2 AVERAGING = biopolitical management of probabilty 3. PREDICTIVE SCANNING = protocological control => DATABASE ECONOMY Ivan Sutherland demonstrating Sketchpad, 1963
  11. 11. Methodological Principles Consideration - of the actually existing situation in its unique complexity Wonder - at the specific unexpected details, readiness to question previous habits and assumptions Hope - for a ‘difference that makes a difference at some later time’ (Bateson);