10 January 2010

"Media studies scholars do not say, 'I study the media of Walmart trucks.'"

The term “new media” rhetorically suggests that the internet is the next media in a lineage of technological means by which communication happens. To over simplify, the suggestion would be that first is the photograph, next is radio, followed by moving pictures (silent film), from which one gets talking moving pictures (film), leading to talking moving pictures broadly distributed (television). In some respect, this is the history that Bolter and Grusin trace in Remediation: each technological moment makes a rhetorical claim to be an improvement on the one prior, mediating and presenting the real in a more realistic manner. In this sense one can have several media operating at once; newspapers, magazines, television, film, radio are all media, mediums for content distribution. When the term “new media” is deployed, it is used in this manner to suggest that the current means of communication, the digital network, is just another moment in this lineage. Whether or not one sees this as evolutionary or revolutionary really does not matter: it is treated as part of a progression. The argument that computers will become the magical black box for the presentation of all media (the uber-medium) is just one symptom of this kind of analysis.
// David Parry, Flow.TV

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