Photography & Art for a visual hungry world
New media are forms of media that are native to computers, computational and relying on computers for redistribution. Some examples of new media are telephones, computers, virtual worlds, single media, website games, human-computer interface, computer animation and interactive computer installations.
Although there are several ways that New Media may be described, Lev Manovich, in an introduction to The New Media Reader, defines New Media by using eight propositions:
1. New Media versus Cyberculture – Cyberculture is the various social phenomena that are associated with the Internet and network communications (blogs, online multi-player gaming), whereas New Media is concerned more with cultural objects and paradigms (digital to analog television, iPhones).
2. New Media as Computer Technology Used as a Distribution Platform – New Media are the cultural objects which use digital computer technology for distribution and exhibition. e.g. (at least for now) Internet, Web sites, computer multimedia, Blu-ray disks etc. The problem with this is that the definition must be revised every few years. The term "new media" will not be "new" anymore, as most forms of culture will be distributed through computers.
3. New Media as Digital Data Controlled by Software – The language of New Media is based on the assumption that, in fact, all cultural objects that rely on digital representation and computer-based delivery do share a number of common qualities. New media is reduced to digital data that can be manipulated by software as any other data. Now media operations can create several versions of the same object. An example is an image stored as matrix data which can be manipulated and altered according to the additional algorithms implemented, such as color inversion, gray-scaling, sharpening, rasterizing, etc.
4. New Media as the Mix Between Existing Cultural Conventions and the Conventions of Software – New Media today can be understood as the mix between older cultural conventions for data representation, access, and manipulation and newer conventions of data representation, access, and manipulation. The "old" data are representations of visual reality and human experience, and the "new" data is numerical data. The computer is kept out of the key "creative" decisions, and is delegated to the position of a technician. e.g. In film, software is used in some areas of production, in others are created using computer animation.
5. New Media as the Aesthetics that Accompanies the Early Stage of Every New Modern Media and Communication Technology – While ideological tropes indeed seem to be reappearing rather regularly, many aesthetic strategies may reappear two or three times ... In order for this approach to be truly useful it would be insufficient to simply name the strategies and tropes and to record the moments of their appearance; instead, we would have to develop a much more comprehensive analysis which would correlate the history of technology with social, political, and economical histories or the modern period.
6. New Media as Faster Execution of Algorithms Previously Executed Manually or through Other Technologies – Computers are a huge speed-up of what were previously manual techniques. e.g. calculators. Dramatically speeding up the execution makes possible previously non-existent representational technique. This also makes possible of many new forms of media art such as interactive multimedia and video games. On one level, a modern digital computer is just a faster calculator, we should not ignore its other identity: that of a cybernetic control device.
7. New Media as the Encoding of Modernist Avant-Garde; New Media as Metamedia – Manovich declares that the 1920s are more relevant to New Media than any other time period. Metamedia coincides with postmodernism in that they both rework old work rather than create new work. New media avant-garde is about new ways of accessing and manipulating information (e.g. hypermedia, databases, search engines, etc.). Meta-media is an example of how quantity can change into quality as in new media technology and manipulation techniques can recode modernist aesthetics into a very different postmodern aesthetics.
8. New Media as Parallel Articulation of Similar Ideas in Post-WWII Art and Modern Computing – Post WWII Art or "combinatorics" involves creating images by systematically changing a single parameter. This leads to the creation of remarkably similar images and spatial structures. This illustrates that algorithms, this essential part of new media, do not depend on technology, but can be executed by humans.