The Language of New Media

 

Sound and Video

All the presentations as well as the discussions from the "Workshop about The Language of New Media " were recorded. You can get the soundfiles here.



Programme

A lecture by Lev Manovich, Associate Professor in the Visual Arts Department, University of California, San Diego, and a workshop about his The Language of New Media
Organized by
Modinet (Media and Democracy in the Network Society) and The Centre for Internet Research


Aarhus, May 6th 2003

What is New Media: Eight Propositions
Lecture by Lev Manovich, followed by questions/discussion,
Åbogade 34, bygn. 5344, lok. 122, 11:15-12:30

A Work Shop about The Language of New Media
13:30-16:15, Studenternes Hus, Ndr. Ringgade, Richard Mortensen Stuen

13:30 History and Method in New Media Conception
Bo Kampmann Walther, Associate Professor, PhD, Dept. of Media Science, University of Southern Denmark

14:05 Digital Aesthetics and Aesthetic History
Søren Pold, Assistant Professor, PhD, Dept. of Comparative Literature and Multimedia, University of Aarhus

14:40 Coffee break

15:00 Spaces of Navigation on the Web
Rune Dalgaard, PhD student, MA, Dept. of Information and Media Studies, University of Aarhus

15:35 Sound in digital media: Symbol or phenomena?
Morten Breinbjerg, Assistant Professor, MA, Dept. of Music and Multimedia, University of Aarhus

Each presentation will be about 15 min. plus app. 20 minutes for discussion.

[ get pdf-version of the entire programme ]

 

 

Lecture

What is New Media: Eight Propositions

(the announced lecture "Metadata, Mon Amour" was not held).

Lecture by Lev Manovich, followed by questions/discussion,
Åbogade 34, bygn. 5344, lok. 122, 11:15-12:30

 

 

Workshop

A Workshop about The Language of New Media
13:30-16:15, Studenternes Hus, Ndr. Ringgade, Richard Mortensen Stuen

13:30 History and Method in New Media Conception
This paper zeroes in on the relation between historiographic and conceptual strategies deployed in Lev Manovich's seminal book The Language of New Media. Considerable focus is directed towards the idea of time as an element — amongst others — in new media's "spatialisation" techniques. How does this spatialisation affect methodology and ways in which one may approach the "forms", "interfaces", and "off-springs" of new media? Might indeed this very spatialisation inherent in new media in principle "distort" the historiographic framework in which the "newness" of new media is analysed and validated?
Bo Kampmann Walther , Associate Professor, PhD, Dept. of Media Science, University of Southern Denmark

14:05 Digital Aesthetics and Aesthetic History
In The Language of New Media Lev Manovich discusses digital aesthetics from a historical perspective rooted in the historical avant-garde and the formal experiments that took place especially in the avant-garde cinema. This historical and cinematic perspective is interesting and fruitful, though it has some consequences for the understanding of digital aesthetics. In my talk I shall point to some of these consequences and point to other alternative perspectives, especially literary realism and 19. c. media, in order to open a discussion of the relations between digital aesthetics and aesthetic history.
Søren Pold , Assistant Professor, PhD, Dept. of Comparative Literature and Multimedia, University of Aarhus

14:40 Coffee break

15:00 Spaces of Navigation on the Web
This presentation will focus on the theme of digital spaces and navigation by taking a closer look at the notions of 'database logic' and 'navigable space' in The Language of New Media. Lev Manovich claims to identify a difference between the logic of new and old media forms on the basis of dichotomies such as database-narrative. In what ways are such dichotomies furthering our understanding of digital media forms (new media objects) such as the web and in what ways are they confusing apples and oranges? I will discuss the implicit claim that the relation of narrative and database (collection) is a one-to-one relation between two competing principles of compostion.
Rune Dalgaard , PhD student, MA, Dept. of Information and Media Studies, University of Aarhus

15:35 Sound in digital media: Symbol or phenomena?
One of the defining characteristics of digital media is numerical representation. As a consequence, says Manovich, a new media object can be described formally and hence is subject to algorithmic manipulation. In the domain of music this leads to digital sound synthesis and to algorithmic composition. On the other hand digital representation of sound leads to another approach in music composition since the representation constitutes the recorded sound as a "physical" object. In my presentation I will discuss the aesthetic consequence of digital sound being both a string of symbols in the computer and an object for a phenomenological investigation.
Morten Breinbjerg , Assistant Professor, MA, Dept. of Music and Multimedia, University of Aarhus

Each presentation will be about 15 min. plus app. 20 minutes for discussion.

[
Manovich about The Language of New Media ]

 

 

About Lev Manovich

According to the Russian-American computer researcher Lev Manovich (Associate Professor in the Visual Arts Department, University of California, San Diego) we have since the end of the 19th century developed cinematic ways of seeing the world. We see the world through a camera, or, more correctly: we see the world through its thousands of cameras.

To paint a picture implies seeing the world through a frame. What is inside, what is outside, what is the perspective? This is the view of the painting and the theater. But, it is also the view of the cinema, the TV-set and the computer. Through a frame we have access to a world.

With the birth of film, i.e. the moving image, however, the moving camera was born. In 1929 the russian film director created the avant-garde masterpiece Man with a Movie Camera. ”Movie Camera” meaning film camera, yes, but, it also means a mobile and polycentric camera. Pictures can be taken from rooftops, from ground level, from a chimney, and from the front of a fast moving motorbike.

The digital — and virtual — camera, digital editing and digital transmission has made this the general standard. Our view is not mono-centric, but polycentric. Everywhere, a camera is running. The input is not one view or one shot, but image databases. Even the fixed frame is dissolved into a split-screen of frames.

Perhaps the war in Iraq is the first war, which fully exemplifies this principle. Pictures come from hundreds or thousands of cameras. From the broadcasting corporations, from video telephony cameras, from webcams, from digital cameras mounted to the single soldier or the front of the equipment, and from Al-Jazeera’s staff in Basra and Baghdad. Radar cameras, night glass cameras, infrared cameras. The war in Iraq is the war of (or through) thousand cameras.

In his already classical book, The Language of New Media (The MIT Press 2001), Lev Manovich offers the first systematic and rigorous theory of new media. According to Manovich, two fundamental principles can be identified: numerical representation (that all media objects are subject to algorithmic manipulation) and modularity (that any media object can be copied into or added to another object). From this a new computer culture, a blend of human and computer meanings can be extracted.

In his book Manovich particularly focuses on the interface (the language of the screen), the operations (e.g. digital compositing), the digital illusions and the forms (e.g. the database form replacing the traditional narrative form).

Lev Manovich has recently illustrated many of these observations in his art project Soft Cinema with a small book, a website, and several exhibitions, demonstrating the database form principle in different exhibition environments and in a Mondrian-inspired split-screen web format.

[ visit Lev Manovichs website ]