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

Hello all, happy new year & looking forward to this month -- 

a question ocurred to me on reading the comments up to this point --
Does anybody know how the term "new media" came about"? Who coined the
term? Who began using it regularly? When and why? (It seems a catch-all
term for anything that doesn't fall within standard funding, art,
institutional categories and that involves any minimal amount of
technology. Just look at the range of foci of "new media" programs at
the educational level - they focus on everything from graphic design to
electronic music to etc. )

As a categorizing word it seems quite flawed and short-sighted (the
point about what happens when "new media" isn't new anymore). The
question of a field of study being defined through a single tool, the
computer, also troubles me (or is it defined through the digital vs.
analog?). There seems to be some precedent for this with film, however,
when i say "i am going to watch a film" I have a much better idea of
what I am in for (the format) than when I say "I am going to
see/experience/participate in a new media artwork". What does the latter
mean? It doesn't really mean anything specific and requires more words
to communicate the idea. Moreover, I don't think that it *should* mean
anything as specific as "going to see a film" (i.e. it's not a question
of defining the term and educating more people about it) because there
are too many variations to what the experience of a new media project
could be to limit it to a single conceivable format. 

The implications of this, in my mind, are not that we need to discard
new media as a field, only that we understand it as a term that has very
fuzzy edges and is perhaps (i hope) temporary and definitely volatile. 

Fuzziness is good! I don't think there should be any more definition of
new media than there already is (like i said, I don't think more
definitions and standards would be useful). 

Something that would be useful -- I would like somebody to compile a
book of "case studies" of realized new media projects, how they got
funding, who contributed (usually many more people than the solo
artist), critical commentary from artistic and technological
perspectives, etc. A well-compiled book would, I think, demonstrate the
amazing variety and hybridity of this "field", that any given "new
media" project leaks outside itself into many other well-established
domains and genres, and that there isn't and cannot be a single
conceivable "new media experience" or "new media format".  

best to all,

-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of Alan
Sent: Friday, January 02, 2004 12:58 AM
To: soft_skinned_space
Subject: Re: [-empyre-] Opening remarks on new media history

By the way, I never meant to imply that there shouldn't be new media
departments or opportunities for students, etc. Far from it! I do mean
that these areas should be just that - areas - and include, as much as
possible - everything from sound to video to computer to anything else
that comes along, anything that students might suggest. I'm not sure I'd
even use the term 'new media' - possibly just media - otherwise there
goes film or even television (1880s of course)

- Alan
Trace projects
empyre forum

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