Friday, June 11, 2010

Continuing with Manovich

Yes, Manovich is quite an interesting cat, I tell you! He comes from humble beginnings, a product of the old school (which is by far superior!) and this foundation helped him become a creator or one of the founders of the computer technology we now use and abuse. It is proper when he begins by determining that all computer technology or new media relies on a "numerical" foundation. His five principles are:numerical representation, modularity, automation, variability, and transcoding. I see here two key elements: continuity and randomness. These are by far the two most dominant conditions present in our technology today. Remember the term random access memory: this is an example of the "unpredictability of accessing information. When you put these elements together , the result is a computer serving as a medium. One of the five elements I found very interesting was modularity, where you can make a whole sentence or program with distinct parts to it and yet the parts remain independent of each other. Plus, you can modify each part using the original program that created it. The discretion aspect also appealed to me when Manovich linked discretion in a computer program to language. it makes perfect sense! We talk using sentences, different forms of expression, and we attempt to mirror that in our programs. This, in turn, allows for automation to take place, that end result we see when some figure "jumps out" on the screen.

I also agree that Manovich ties new media well with old media. Remember that without old media, the new would not be possible, so in a way, it is helpful to understand this idea. Taking old photographs, newspapers, documents, etc., and transforming them into numerical bits of information can lead to endless possibilities. I also like the idea that computers, with their sets of instructions, work quite the same as a factory assembly line. Instead, this rote behavior is left to a machine that operates when this "digital" or numeric information is translated into some intelligible language.


  1. I like the idea of continuity and randomness also and agree these are two of the most dominant conditions present in our technology today. I notice this especially in certain video games in which the ability to predict certain outcomes or events from unfolding are completely random.

  2. I'm glad that you find this book helpful (it's gotten mixed reviews from students in past classes). It's interesting that you highlight the point about continuity and randomness, that does relate to order and entropy, and that idea of surfing along the edge of chaos.