Principles of New and Old media

“A human language is discrete on most scales: we speak in sentences; a sentence is made from words; a word consists from morphemes, and so on. If we are to follow the assumption that any form of communication requires discrete representation, we may expect that media used in cultural communication will have discrete levels. At first this explanation seems to work. Indeed, a film samples continuos time of human existence into discrete frames; a drawing samples visible reality into discrete lines; and a printed photograph samples it into discrete dots.”

I enjoy this passage as it shows the similarities between media and the most basic forms literature. The way that media and sentences are broken down into their basic conception. Much the same way that a single letter makes up a sentence that makes up a paragraph which turns into a potentially motivating or moving passage. Following that same logic it can be easily seen how a simple pixel, which is just a spot of color, can be compounded into a near perfect representation of even a Van Gogh painting. This is how I feel media is evolving to grow from and collect all of it’s former forms. However, it is crucial to note that although the image may be pixel perfect it cannot capture the feel of the texture or stroke work.  A computer will not be able to make it’s own work of great literature; even with AIs they will not have the creative mind for it, they will however be able to scan books and allow people to search far more efficiently through mass quantities.


One thought on “Principles of New and Old media

  1. I noticed this too and also found it very intriguing. I thought the author did a great job of helping the reader understand exactly what he was talking about. The evolution of the discreet parts into the “whole” also parallels to the way humanity has evolved into this digital age. Before computers were even created, it is like we were a little speck, and then when they were created, we were able to evolve into a whole picture. This is included in any history of humanity. From the beginning of time, until now. I just find it fascinating. Also, I really like what you said: ” However, it is crucial to note that although the image may be pixel perfect it cannot capture the feel of the texture or stroke work.” This is a very important thing to remember as we become increasingly digital. We should allow the digital age to help us, but not “do the job for us”. Nice analysis.

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