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Theories of Media and New Media University of California, San Diego Winter 2006 quarter class time: Tuesday, 12:30-3:20P location: 366 VAF (Visual Arts Facility) Instructor: Dr. Lev Manovich email: manovich [at] ucsd.edu office hours: Wednesday: 3-4pm for class descriptions and requirements scroll below links relevant to the class of as a whole: software studies workshop | Rotterdam, 2/2006 SCHEDULE (subject to change) 1. January 10. Class introduction. 2. January 17. What is <computational> media? Class focus: Kay's concept of computer as metamedium vs. Bolter's "remediation" The first three texts will form the basis of class discussion and are required; the other two texts provide additional information/perspectives and are recommended. required: Alan Kay and Adele Goldberg | "Personal Dynamic Media" (1977) | in New Media Reader Alan Kay | "A Personal Computer for Children of All Ages" (1972), p. 1-5. Jay Bolter and and Richard Grusin | selection from Remediation: Understanding New Media (The MIT Press, 2000). recommended: Howard Rheingold |The Birth of the Fantasy Amplifier | From Tools for Thought (1985) Lev Manovich | "How Media Became New" | From The Langauge of New Media (The MIT Press, 2001) links to Alan Kay's resources online including a number of videos of his talks Matthias Müller-Prove | Three Stages of Human Development [on Kay's use of Paiget and Bruner]| from Vision and Reality of Hypertext and Graphical User Interfaces | 2002 3. January 24. Organising and Navigating Information: from Memex to World Wide Web. Class focus: the search for the right organisation of textual information and navigation techniques by computer scientists. Class discussions will concentrate on the texts by Bush and Nelson. In reading texts, feel free to skip more technical parts having to do with the implementation to focus on the ideas. required: wikipedia enrty on "memex" Vannevar Bush | As We May Think (1945) | in New Media Reader, n. 2 Selections by the Oulipo | in New Media Reader, n. 12 Matthias Müller-Prove | Filling | from Vision and Reality of Hypertext and Graphical User Interfaces | 2002 Ted Nelson | A File Structure for The Complex, The Changing, and the Intermediate (1965) | in New Media Reader
Ted Nelson | Proposal for a Universal Electronic Publishing System and Archive (1981) | in New Media Reader, n. 21. Tim Berners-Lee et all | The World Wide Web (1994) | in New Media Reader, n. 54. examples of current work inspired by Memex: Apple Mac OS X v10.4 Tiger - Spotlight Microsoft Research Digital Memories (Memex) project (follow the links from this page to other projects) recommended readings: Howard Rheingold | Xanadu, Network Culture, and Beyond | From Tools for Thought (1985) Jorge Luis Borges | The Garden of Forking Paths (1941) | in New Media Reader, n. 1 William Burroughs | The Cut-up Method of Brion Gysin (1961) | in New Media Reader, n. 9 Ted Nelson | From Computer Lib / Dream Machines (1970-1974) | in New Media Reader, n. 21. Espen Aaseth | Nonlinearity and Literary Theory (1994) | in New Media Reader, n. 52. 4. Augmentation, Interaction, Colloboration: From Licklider and Engelbart to Social Computing and Microsoft Outlook required readings/videos: J.C. Licklider | Man-Machine Symbiosis (1960) | In New Media Reader, n. 5. Doug Engelbart | From Augementing Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework | In New Media Reader, n. 7. Doug Engelbart | 1968 Demo | video available online at sloan.stanford.edu | note that the CD-ROM included with The New Media Reader has a 15 minute segment of the demo Alan Kay | Doing with Images Makes Symbols, part 1 and part 2 (1987) | videos available at www.archive.org.| note that the CD-ROM included with The New Media Reader has a 18 minute segment of the talk If you are now familiar with these terms, please read about them on wikipedia: Social software Collaborative_software recommended readings: Giles Deleuze and Felix Guattari | Rhizome - from A Thousand Plateaus | In New Media Reader, n. 27. Clay Shirky | Ontology is Overrated: Categories, Links, and Tags (2005)| available at www.shirky.com. Howard Rheingold | The Loneliness of a Long-Distance Thinker | From Tools for Thought (1985) -------------------------------5. February 6 - no class meeting. Please work on your paper, finalising the topic and beginning the research. NOTES FOR YOU PAPER: Keep in mind the hypothetical "map of computational media" we have constructed so far in class. This tree has three main branches, and particular new media can be seen as their intersections. Please note that this scheme is hypothetical and further class readings and your own research may lead to its revision.
MAP OF COMPUTATIONAL MEDIA (january 2006 version): 1. simulation of physical media which adds new properties | example: media creation/editing software designed at PARC (Kay et al) 2. new media techniques and new media which have little or no precedents (media specific) | examples: constraints in Sketchpad (Sutherland) - to be discussed later 3. computer techniques to structure and work with information and data in general (i.e. not media specific) | examples: hyperlinking (Bush, Nelson, Engelbart); "view control" (Engelbart); sort; search; AI; AL; network protocols such as HTTP, tag clouds See if you can relate the particular feature / operation / technique you are investigating to this hypothetical tree. Make sure that the technique you are focusing on is not too particular - i.e. try to focus on a relatively big "branch" of the tree. If you research reveals that the hypothetical "tree model" does not work in your case, address this in your essay. -------------------------------6. Media Remix in action: Motion Graphics and Universal Capture Contemporary moving images practices offer good examples of media remixing logic at work. Although Motion Graphics and Universal Capture (and other special effects techniques) appear to have opposite goals and aesthetics - one is openly hybrid in its use of multiple media and styles, while the other strives for photorealism - both can be seen as manifestations of the media remixing stage. required: Wayne Carlson | A History of Computer Graphics and Animation - section 2, | recommended: sections 9, 14, 19 required: Frank Dietrich | Visual Intelligence: The First Decade of Computer Art (1965-1975) note: if you find difficult reading Dietrich because of PDF quality, then read insteadCarlson, section 9 required: Steve Silberman | Matrix 2 (2003) required: Catherine Feeny | The 'Matrix' Revealed: An Interview with John Gaeta (2004) [also look at linked videos] If you can follow it, please read George Borshukov et al | Universal Capture - Image-based Facial Animation for "The Matrix Reloaded" (2003) required: Manovich | Image Future (2004; revised 2006) required: Manovich | After Effects, or Velvet Revolution (2005-06) | will be posted later required: if are not familiar with contemporary motion graphics - i.e. most forms of moving images today with the exeption of narrative films -- TV graphics, music videos, film titles, web splash pages, Live Cinema, VJing, etc. - please watch some TV and do some web surfing required: if you never heard of After Effects, the leading motion graphics application for personal computers, watch "See it in action" on Adobe After Effects product webpage. The history of the digital techniques for moving image production also offers examples of how three main vectors leading to contemporary new media interact. In the following I list the three general vectors on the left, and their examples in moving image area on the right. The readings in brackets are highly recommended for those not familiar with the concepts and terms listed below. 1. simulation of physical media which adds new properties | examples: - the quest for photorealism in computer graphics; simulation of cinematography [ recommended readings: Manovich | Synthetic Realism and Digital Cinema | From The
Language of New Media ] 2. new media and new media creation and manipulation techniqueswhich have no or little precedents (media specific) | examples: algorithmic image generation; particle systems; navigable virtual space [algorihtmic images - see Carlson, section 9 ] [particle systems - see Carlson, section 19 ] [ navigable virtual space - see Carlson, section 13 ] 3. computer techniques to structure and work with information and data in general (i.e. not media specific) | examples: compositing (derived from the principles of structural programming); physically based modeling - derived from the use of computers to run simulations
last minute additions: mashups (the new development in remix media): Mix, Match, And Mutate (popular explanation of web mashups) programmable web - mashups directory ---------------------------------------------------------7. Shaping Things, or "Maya-ism": from Sketchpad to Non-Standard Architecture and Rapid Manufacturing - SAGE, Sketchpad, and beginnings of CAD: recommended: SAFE film (1956) required: Ivan Sutherland | Sketchpad: A Man-Machine Graphical Communication System (1963) | In New Media Reader | yes, you can skip more technical parts - just read the introductions to each section if you like required: Alan Kay shows and discusses Sketchpad recommended: complete Sketchpad PhD Thesis (1963) recommended: an article on Sketchpad recommended: Pierre Bezier | A View of the CAD/CAM Development Period (1998) - Architecture after Maya: (please visit the links in the following introduction): Today the large percentage of young architects and architectural students use a variety of computer form generation techniques - same ones used to make movies, computer games, digital art, etc. Although the effects of the computer use in architecture are multiple, we will focus on the most easily seen effect - the shift from geometric forms of modern architecture to complex curved forms often referred as "blobs" by popular media. "Blob imagination" has also been playing a key role in recent 3D design. In 2004 Non-standard Architecture exhibition at Centre Pompidou presented works of the architectural firms which are recognized as intellectual leaders in digital architecture therefore you can use the names of the participants in this exhibition as the guide to current architectural thinking and form making. Recommended: Visit the web sites of the the firms which participated in the Non-Standard Architecture
exhibition - even if you do this very briefly and simply browse through images of projects. - Responsive Architecture: When I visited the end of year exhibition (2004) at Architectural Association (London) - one of the leading architectural schools in the word - probably a half of all student projects were about architectural shapes which can change dynamically. For an example of work by one of the leaders in this development, visit these projects: required: Emotive House Trans-ports Muscle One of many student projects being created today in this area: 4d Pixel ---------------------------------------------------------8. | February 28 | continuing from previous class and discussiong of student paper topics | the first part of the class will be devoted to the discussions of readings below | in the second part each student will be asked to briefly (about 5 minutes) present the topic, the findings so far and potential thesis of their paper |
- From Computer Screen to the Physical World: The Next Industrial Revolution? If the "first" computer media revolution involved simulation of physical media in a computer (from atoms to bits), we are now entering the new stage: the movement from pixels back into the physical world - from the digital file to a manufactured object. "One of the most profound aspects of contemporary architecture is not the discovery of complex curving forms, but the newfound ability to generate construction information directly from the design information through the new processes and techniques of digital design and production.” Branko Kolarevic, Preface, “Architecture in the Digital Age; Design and Manufacturing.” (New York and London: Spon Press, 2003), p. V. required: an announcement of 2005 exhibition "Blobjects & Beyond: The New Fluidity in Design" | look inside the book on amazon popular discussion of the digital-to-physical work in architecture from Wired required: The Transformation of Manufacturing in the 21st Century required: Examples of Rapid Prototyping
- Tomorrow Now? Embedding computation in the physical world | Politics of things
required: Bruce Sterling | Shaping Things (2005).
---------------------------------------------------------9. Simulation and Games The computer is a simulation machine and this is what makes possible computational media as a whole. While simulation is behind all computational media operations, computer games which present simulations of social (SimCity, The Sims, sport simulations, etc.) and/or physical reality (driving simulations, for instance) offer a good place to discuss simulation itself. In the second part of the twentieth century, computer simulation became a fundamental new techique used widely by sciences, companies, goverments, etc. (For instance, consider flight simulators, Yet it is still very rarely used in the cultural sector ( The Stealth Group which combines progressive architects and computer experts is one of the few which have used simulation as a new tool of cultural analysis.) But, as witnessed by the conference and exhibition at Ars Electronica Center "The Age of Simulation" (2006), simulation is finally beginning to attract more attention from the cultural sector. Required reading: Gonzalo Frasca | SIMULATION 101: Simulation versus Representation, 2001 Gonzalo Frasca | chapters "Simulation and Interpretation" and "Simulations and Ideology" from M.S. thesis | 2001 The Stealth Group | Hunch WlldCity | a group of arhitects (Belgrade/Rotterdam) use simulation to study changing Belgrade | around 2000-2002 <ok to browse> Jesper Juul | Half-Real: Video Games between Real Rules and Fictional Worlds | The MIT Press, 2005 |
---------------------------------------------------------10. Reflecting on the class methodlogy: Theory after The End of Theory? "Extracting" Theory from Professional Cultures readings: <browse> Mark B.N. Hansen | New Philosophy for New Media | The MIT Press, 2004 | <browse> Sylvère Lotringer and Paul Virilio | The Accident of Art | Semiotext, 2005 | Nick Rombes | "Self-Theorizing Media" | Peter Lunenfeld | "Visual Intellectuals" | from USER: InfoTechnoDemo, visuals by Mieke Gerritzen (MIT Press, 2005): 91-102 | Peter Lunenfeld | “Media Design: New and Improved without the New” | New Media & Society Special Fifth Anniversary Issue, v. 6, n. 1 (Spring 2004): 65-70 | Spatial Turn project and conference web site | 2006
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This seminar is probably the first course taught anywhere on the new emerging topic in media theory (or maybe it is what comes after media theory): software theory. While over the last few year digital scholarship and criticism have expanded significantly, remarkably it turns that the very foundation of digital culture - software - has hardly been discussed at all. Currently there are moves by a few people to fill this lack and to put "software studies" (or "software theory") on the map. Therefore the participants in the seminar have the opportunity to contribute to the development of this new subject/field. If successful, their papers will be recommended for the publication in the upcoming Software Theory book and/or featured on the Software Society web portal. By "software studies" I this context I don't mean such topics as the aesthetics of code, "software art," the sociology of Silicon Valley, or the history of programming languages (the examples of topics which have already been discussed). Just as the scholars in cinema studies and photography have carefully examined the original historical situations when these new media were constructed and analyze the ideas of their designers, we should examine the formation of the ideas which underlie our digital culture, or, to put it differently, form its paradigm. As we will see, this paradigm was almost completely put in place by the early 1970s. In spite the exponential growth of vernacular computing, the emergence of World Wide Web, and the proliferation of networks, contemporary digital culture is still largely operates within the space of the ideas and methods conceived and worked out decades earlier. And if we carefully examine the writings of the pioneers of digital culture, we will find the wealth of theoretical formulations and concepts which can be productively used to think about digital culture and digital art today. We will also find that some of the most interesting ideas of these pioneers are still not implemented. In studying the formation of key concepts of computer culture such as interactivity, hypermedia, networking, Graphical User Interface, and metamedium, we will aim to connect them to the developments in modern art, theory, and larger social and cultural shifts. Along with the readings we will also view and discuss a number of historically important and recent digital artworks and software artifacts which conceptually tie in with the topics of the class. The key theoretical assumption which underlies the seminar and which will be further investigated and questioned is that the media society of 1840-1980 is now gradually giving way to a new "software society." Therefore, we will discuss the gradual shift from media to software and its consequences for culture, art, and theory. We will also think about the relationships between media aesthetics and media technology in general. These two perspectives will guide our interrogation of theoretical and historical readings, and media and software artifacts during the seminar. Although most of the principles which underlie digital culture today can be traced to the work of the pioneers of the 1960s, the actual development and growth of this culture also created many new phenomena which cant be simply reduced to these original ideas. Therefore the second goal of the seminar is to look at some of the best theoretical perspectives recently developed around the currently "hot" topics such as Game Studies and Smart Objects. To give the participants a sense of the different approaches available, the selected readings come from the people who are both situated inside media/digital/game studies and those situated within the larger landscape of cultural criticism/philosophy/media theory.
One illustrated essay (text length - approximately 2000 words). Format: any format which supports pictures and text and can be converted to HTML Select one feature or operation common to current media access, creating and editing software. For instance: vector format (Illustrator / Freehand); filter (Photoshop); copy and paste (all GUI software today). Discuss the larger cultural significance of this feature, its effects (if appropriate) on the aesthetics of modern media, and its origins. How did this feature came about? What was the thinking which led to its creation? (If appropriate) What is the connection between how this feature/operation is implemented and used in contemporary software and the similar operation as it was used in older (physical, electronic) media?
READING - RECOMMENDED: M. Mitchell Waldrop. The Dream Machine : J.C.R. Licklider and the Revolution That Made Computing Personal. Paperback. Penguin, 2002. ISBN: 014200135X READINGS - REQUIRED: The following books will be supplemented by texts available online and distributed by the instructor. Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Nick Montfort, eds. New Media Reader. Hardcover. The MIT Press, 2003. ISBN: 0262232278 Bruce Sterling. Shaping Things. Paperback The MIT Press. 2005 ISBN: 0262693267 Sylvère Lotringer, Paul Virilio. The Accident of Art. Paperback. Semiotext(e), 2005. ISBN: 1584350202 Jesper Juul. Half-Real : Video Games between Real Rules and Fictional Worlds. Hardcover. The MIT Press (November 1, 2005)
ISBN: 0262101106 Mark B.N. Hansen. New Philosophy for New Media. Hardcover. The MIT Press, 2004. ISBN: 0262083213
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