Re: [-empyre-] Opening remarks on new media history

Hi all and looking forward to this discussion. I'd like to throw in some
comments about the guiding assumptions of the reader as laid out by Noah -

>(1) new media is a field,

I'm attracted to the idea of field particularly as it conjures a history of
electricity, an obvious but sometimes overlooked condition of possibility
for new media.  I remember a discussion about hosting ISEA in South India a
few years ago when it became obvious that conditions of possibility that
have to do with power (capacity and relations) are the entire
infrastructure of new media activity. I also like the expansive and
contractive connotations that *field* brings with it...something that new
media are constantly orchestrating and being orchestrated by.

One critical comment I'd throw up about *field* is that it can be a little
bland (like an enclosed territory meant for a purpose but perhaps not
serving much purpose at all except for us all to graze upon). What kind of
a field is it? Would the field be constituted by what it keeps in/out? Are
there variations across the field and how important are these? What other
fields does it border and protect?

>(2) new media has a
>history, (3) this history's record is print and digital,

Absolutely and yet we might also add that histories are also disciplines
caught up with  *disciplinary* questions that creating new media as a field
also poses....I'm interested in why a certain history at a particular
moment becomes THE history of an emerging field. For example, why  *print
and digital* ? and not electronic or visual perspectivalism or cinema? So,
I'm interested to hear from Nick and Noah how they are thinking about the
field of new media through the history they have conjured for it.

>(4) this
>history matters.

Yes! In a big way because history is material (matters). And the issue
about when and at what times it matters is a very interesting question to
raise. In terms of making/production (rather than writing/teaching both of
which I also do), I am constantly thrown back to early production practices
I learnt in reel-to-reel sound editing in the early 1980s. Perhaps this was
because it was my first experience in media production but also because the
relations I was exploring then between continuity and discontinuity, signal
and noise and the arduous labour and activity of actually making sound,
continue to resound now when I'm editing a video in Final Cut Pro, when I
get error messages online, when I get headaches from ploughing through
scripting languages etc. So, history is not just something we reflectively
construct but is also produced as habits, traces and grooves. Some of these
are repetitive and others push us into new formations.

cheers anna

all bodies are in a perpetual flux like rivers, and parts are entering into
them and passing out of them continuously.

Anna Munster
Lecturer in Digital Media Theory/
Postgraduate Coordinator
School of Art History and Theory
College of Fine Arts
University of New South Wales
PO Box 259
Paddington 2021

Phone: 612 9385 0741
Fax: 612 9385 0615

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