Sunday, June 13, 2010

Manovich-The Language of New Media, Part 2

As I continued reading Manovich's, The Language of New Media--I realized that he offers A LOT of information. It it safe to say that he gives quite a detailed timeline of new media/photography/cinematography. I was able to connect a lot of my previous knowledge on this topic with the information that he presents, which was helpful.

Throughout the second part of this book, Manovich answers the following question: "How does computerization affect our very concept of moving images?" (p287) The beginnings of cinema or rather "the art of motion" was able to convey a "convincing illusion of dynamic reality." Manovich helps differentiate between old cinema and new cinema. Old cinema consists of filming reality, live action footage. New cinema generates scenes on the computer with 3-D animation and includes special effects (which are also generated by the computer). I would also like to note that at times, Manovich makes out the computer to be a machine. A machine that generates a product (film/photography).

Old cinema=reality

New cinema=elastic reality.

(Here, Manovich makes the difference between the two simple to understand. Old cinema portrays reality as new cinema portrays a changed reality.)

Due to Manovich's art background--he makes several references to different art forms when explaining the history of old and new cinema. I appreciate his knowledge of art history and how he is able to relate to other art forms, mediums and styles. He relates old cinema to the art of the Renaissance. A main medium during this time was known as fresco painting. Once dry, fresco paintings are difficult to alter--similar to old cinema--what you see is what you got! However, he then relates new cinema to oil painting. Oil paint is known to be very forgiving and if needed, oil paintings can be altered with water and/or additional paint--just how new cinema can be changed with computer technology. Think of editing software such as Adobe Photoshop or After Effects as the new oil paint. Oil paint allowed for the original to be changed just how these computer programs can change or add to the original product. I LOVED this part of the book. I was able to understand the history of cinema due to my previous knowledge and it made perfect sense to me!

Here is an example of fresco painting: (In case some of you did not know--fresco painting entitles painting on wet plaster)

(Above Fresco is by Boticelli)

Something that I learned throughout this reading--Avant-garde cinema (painting directly on the film or combining several images into on frame.) This film was completely altered and was taken far from the original. One example below.


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  2. I also like how he relates old cinema to the art of the Renaissance and new cinema to oil painting. Very clever stuff. The art of the Renaissance produced classic and unaltered paintings that we will forever remember in the same way old cinema produced classic, groundbreaking films that were also never messed around with for glamor. On the other hand, oil paintings can be altered in the same way new cinematic films can easily be tweaked and changed with digital technology.

  3. I don't know if Manovich is hitting his target but I agree that the concept of reality is that which you make of the experience. Elastic reality sounds like a proper term for technology which "moves us away" from the conventional. however, it scares me how much we attept at creating a monster; hopefully it won't turn on us. Then again, it is up to the programmer to see that that doesn't happen, where we lose sight of the interface and become too transparent.

  4. I'm glad that the connections that Manovich makes works so well for you, Alex! Thanks for helping to clarify them for us!