Sunday, November 2, 2008

Digital New Media Timeline (#13 - #24)

Yep, more Digital Timeline stuff. Despite the New Media Reader textbook looking really daunting, the information is an easy read. Maybe that's because I actually like the subject. Feel free to ignore this entire post, as history may not be an interest of yours. All parts of the timeline though have affected the growth of the gaming world, though the connections may not be that easy to see.

#13- The Galaxy Reconfigured & The Medium is the Message
Marshall McLuhan, 1962, 1964
--Questioned the effect of electronic media on literary form.
--"The medium is the message" refers to how the form of information shapes human association and interaction.
--Argued that media is the extension of human senses.

Response: I just started reading McLuhan's Understanding Media, and the timeline above doesn't do justice to the influence McLuhan has had on the media world. Almost all of the authors after McLuhan reference McLuhan in some way and the statement of "the medium in the message" has influenced discourse about the effects of the internet, which has boomed on our world only recently. McLuhan's idea of "the medium is the message" was such forward thinking for its time and it did not refer only to the television, but to all forms of media both before and after he made that claim.

#14- Experiments in Art and Technology
Various Authors, 1961, 1966, 1967, 1972
-- E.A.T. is a non-profit organization that brought together computer engineers and artists in order to promote artistic new media.
-- E.A.T has helped support musician John Cage and artist Andy Warhol.

#15- Cybernated Art
Nam June Paik, 1964
-- One of the first artists to use television for art.
-- One of the pioneers of the Neo-Dada art movement (along with John Cage)
-- Paik has made robots out of television sets.
-- Paik pushed for cybernated art, which is that artists should embrace the technologies of an information society.

#16- A Research Center for Augmenting human Intellect
Douglas Engelbart and William English, 1968
-- This essay introduced the term mouse and "ARPA computer network" or ARPANet.
-- The research center is one of the first to hold demonstrations of interactive computing.

#17- From Software-- Information Technology
Various creators, 1970
-- Around this time, many artists saw information technology as a viable medium for art.
-- The PDP-8 ran Labyrinth, an interactive text retrieval system.

#18- Constituents of a Theory of the Media
Hans Mangus Enzensberger, 1970
-- Enzensberger argues that despite the big business of media, people should fight for the freedom of media in society.
-- Enzensberger believes that media is the best way to mobilize a collective populous.
-- Enzensberger argues that the formalization of written language represses opposition and the flow of sharing information.

#19- Requiem for the Media
Jean Baudrillard, 1972
-- Baudrillard argues that media acts as a poor filter that prohibits the interaction of its users.
-- He also argues that making everyone into a media producer will not help reciprocate and share ideas.

#20- The Technology and the Society
Raymond Williams, 1972
-- Williams introduced the concept "flow," which is the fluid combination of what makes up a television program, including the main content and commercials, and how that experience shapes thought.
-- Argues that while the television leads to manipulation and mindless entertainment, if the television had not been made, another technology would have taken its place and affected us in a similar way.

#21- Computer Lib/Dream Machines
Theodor H. Nelson, 1974
-- These are the fundamental texts that changed people's perception of a computer as just a "computing machine" to a computer as a viable social technology.
-- These books came out before the Altair (the first PC), and accurately predicted the effects of personal computers in our information world.
-- Nelson saw the computer as a machine that would facilitate design among people of all ages and that the experience of a computer would be liberating.
-- These books helped simplify the view of computers, making them more accessible.

Response: Computer Lib and Dream Machines looked like kid-friendly books, which, if that is the case, is a fantastic idea since children would be more willing to learn new technology and learn in faster. Regardless, the kiddy look and feel of the book changes the perception of computers, since they were viewed as machines for intellectuals and academics. Despite not being user-friendly quite yet (the books came out around the same time as the Altair), Nelson was a visionary and broke the perceptions of computers. His work alone may have pushed the development of computing technology and art by a couple years since his work inspired many to use computers.

#22- From Theater of the Oppressed
Augusto Boal, 1974
-- Boal has gone to jail for encouraging the interaction and mobilization of oppressed people in South America.
-- Boal saw theather as a medium for discourse that would bring people together under one cause.
-- Boal saw theather as a way to connect closer with the body.

#23- From Soft Architecture Machines
Nicholas Negroponte, 1975
-- One of the first people to use computers for architectural design, which, in turn, affected virtual reality architecture.
-- Negroponte founded the Architecture Machine group at MIT which heavily influenced the the design of software.
-- Negroponte is also the chairman of the One Laptop per Child movement, which makes laptops affordable for children to use around the world.

#24- From Computer Power and Human Reason
Joseph Weizenbaum, 1976
-- Weizenbaum made a successful "computer therapist" named ELIZA, that, while using simple string replacements, mimicked human reason.
-- Weizenbaum's work made people concerned that computers can and will take over all jobs that provide income.
-- Weizenbaum's computer programs showed that human beings can gain an deep emotional connection to machines.

The links I provided will really help you out if your confused as to what each of these writers/artists contributed to the New Media community. New media does include video games by the way, so knowing about this stuff will help you understand the culture that made video games before there were any video games to begin with.


calightning1 said...


With McLuhan -- you might include definitions of "hot media" and "cold media." And, also give examples. Would "gaming" be considered by McLuhan "cold media" or not? (for a quick definition go to the Wikipedia article on McLuhan.


calightning1 said...


I appreciated that you linked each of your NEW MEDIA READER reports to their biographies in Wikipedia!

You may want to note that BOAL later returned to Brazil and ran for government office and won. He and his staff implemented many of his philosophical ideas.


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Interesting points of view, I think that we are on a time in where the web is opening so many opportunities for people to write what they want.

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