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Principles of New Media. Everything Old is New Again. The Printing Press. Affected: The distribution of media Literacy rates. The camera. Affected: The still image The integration of image with text. Digitality. Affected: Acquisition Manipulation Storage Distribution Text

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principles of new media
Principles of New Media

Everything Old is New Again

the printing press
The Printing Press
  • Affected:
  • The distribution of media
  • Literacy rates
the camera
The camera
  • Affected:
  • The still image
  • The integration of image with text
  • Affected:
  • Acquisition
  • Manipulation
  • Storage
  • Distribution
  • Text
  • Still Images
  • Moving Images
  • Sound
  • Spatial Construction
1 numerical representation
#1 Numerical representation

Any New Media object is composed of code that is numerical and algorithmic in nature.

Media becomes programmable.

You can’t change a printed book.

You can’t change a painting.

You can’t change analog photography.

You can’t change a sculpture.

. . . OK, you could write in the margins, vandalize the painting, or break the sculpture, but you get the point.

media forms reflect cultural values of the time they developed
Media forms reflect cultural values of the time they developed
  • Standardization of Parts
  • Production Process as Simple, Repetitive, Sequential Steps
  • Modern Media follows this same factory logic:
  • Division of labor to produce (Hollywood films)
  • Typesetting machines
  • Cinema: size, ratio, contrast
  • Television: genre and formatting
2 modularity
#2: Modularity
  • “[New] media elements . . . Are represented as collections of discrete samples (pixels, polygons, characters, scripts). These elements are assembled into larger-scale objects but continue to remain their separate identities.”
  • “Because all elements are stored independently, they can be modified at any time.”
                  • (Manovich 30)
3 automation
#3 Automation
  • “The numerical coding of media (principle 1) and the modular structure of media object (principle 2) allow for the automation of many operations involved in media creation, manipulation, and access. This human intentionality can be removed from the creative process, at least in part.”
        • (Manovich 32)
  • I may have typed this here and changed the font size, but the aesthetics and layout of the slide were a pre-programmed selection.

Original Photo and Same Photo with Photoshop “Plastic Wrap” Filter.

Time to Accomplish: 2 seconds

4 variability
#4 Variability
  • “A new media object is not something fixed once and for all, but something that can exist in different, potentially infinite versions.”
  • “With old media . . . Numerous copies could be run from a master, and, in perfect correspondence with the logic of an industrial society, they were all identical.”
              • (Manovich 36)
  • “Changes in media technologies are correlated with social change. If the logic of old media corresponded to the logic of industrial mass society, the logic of new media fits the logic of postindustrial society, which values individuality over conformity”
              • (Manovich 41)

“Light” Version

“Heavy” Version


Microsoft Word with all menus visible.


When hyperlinks are offered, the decision of whether or not to follow them creates a different version of the document for every reader.

theory of prototypes
Theory of prototypes

Star Wars is prototype for infinite versions and references.

5 transcoding
#5 transcoding
  • “Cultural categories and concepts are substituted, on the level of meaning and/or language, by new ones that derive from the computer’s ontology, epistemology, and pragmatics. New media thus acts as a forerunner of this more general process of cultural reconceptualization.”
            • (Manovich 47)
  • In English: old media and new media affect each other back and forth. Computers make us look at old cultural forms and habits differently, while old cultural forms and habits find their way into computer culture.
new to old daily lingo
New to old: Daily Lingo
  • “Just Google it.”
  • “I can’t process this.”
  • Text speak (LOL, BRB, TMI)
  • “I need some down time.”
  • “I’m an excellent multitasker.”
  • “Going camping. I need to unplug.”
  • “That girl is nothing but eye candy.”
  • “That’s not for me; I’m gonnaopt-out.”
  • “That pic is obviously Photoshopped.”