Group A; Principles of New Media Post – Austin Cotner

After reading this piece by Manovich, I found it intriguing how he discussed in depth the translating media into digital media, especially this excerpt about Numerical Representation; “All new media objects, whether they are created from scratch on computers or converted from analog media sources, are composed of digital code; they are numerical representations.”

For me, this really begged an interesting question dealing with Art in the classical sense (sculptures, paintings, etc)  Manovich goes into much more detail than I will here but he essentially explains how anything you see on a computer screen is simply a combination of numbers, “media becomes programmable” he says.  The question for me then became wether or not when you view art through a computerized/digitized lens if you can truly gain a full appreciation for it.   Is this digitization of classical art a net gain or loss?  Art, in my mind, is not digital in any sense of the word because I hold digital to simply mean a combination of numbers.

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2 thoughts on “Group A; Principles of New Media Post – Austin Cotner

  1. In my personal view on the digitization of art, it can be described as both a gain and a loss. The reason I say this is because, say you see a piece in person, and you can see the intricate detail from a distance, but their is some ambiguity within it that you just can’t quite grasp, by digitizing the piece, you then allow yourself more detail, by touching up, so to speak, the part that led to the ambiguity within your mind. In doing so, you lose some of the detail that you once saw, and then it leaves you with a whole different feel emanating from the piece of art. I find that in the digitization of art, you lose more than you gain, that’s just my personal opinion, however, there are going to be definite possibilities that the contrary could exist. Manovich really goes into detail on this with his third topic on automation, which also goes on with my second point that in a sense, I see your point of digitization being completely different from art, but if this were the case, then many “artists” we know of today, wouldn’t even be artists. I feel as if there is a definite gray area between art and something being numerical or digital, so something could, in fact be both. It leaves a lot to the personal opinion of the person viewing the topic, ultimately succumbing to a “to each their own” type of situation. Like from my viewpoint, say a Christmas lights display, that is completely synchronized to music, as well as video. I find this instance to still be considered art, however it, in my mind, is still almost completely digital. Again, it just lies within the viewpoint of the person viewing the topic.

  2. I also think that this is one of the more intriguing points Manovich makes. It is one of the founding ideas that he builds off of, and I think that there is definitely a difference between viewing certain media on a screen versus in real life. Take for instance a painting. On a screen, I can appreciate the attention to detail, choice of colors and learn about the history of it, but I can’t really see the true size of the art, or the paint strokes and texture of the actual artwork. Similarly, take for instance a statue, where online you might be able to see more detail and much closer than in real life, however it is much more difficult to appreciate the setting and size of the statue itself. Digitizing media definitely makes it more accessible, but in some ways it takes away from the actual artwork because you have preconceived notions about it, even before actually witnessing it, and it takes away from the experience of seeing a renowned painting when you’ve already seen what can be seen of it digitally. On the other hand, there are some medias that I don’t think lose anything from being accessed digitally. For me, these would be anything created digitally: most books are typed, some music is created totally digitally, animation videos, etc. As I was reading further into the effects of digitizing media, it raised a question for me: do websites such as Wikipedia, where information about any topic is readily available in a one paragraph summary help for us to learn, or does it oversimplify topics (e.g. wars, people’s entire life, or the universe) to the point that we’re missing more than learning, while giving the feeling of having learned (similar to how seeing a piece of art online gives the feeling of having experienced it)?

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