Re: [-empyre-] New Media Reader and more

The Voices in my Head tell me that on 1/2/04 2:15 PM, Jill Walker at wrote:

> On 02/01/2004, at 6:04, Henry Warwick wrote:
>> Will what we call "New Media" be "New" in 20,000 years? Somehow, I
>> doubt it.
> Of course not! Neither is "the novel" or for that matter "le nouveau
> roman" of the fifties particicularly novel or new.

the "Novel" was "new" a few hundred years ago, however, its connexion to its
word root (nova) has since been severed as it became a noun and not an
adjective, hence: "classic novels" etc. Also, the Novel is a type of work,
and not a broad genre of creativity, as someone else noted.

> The renaissance has
> a smack of "new" in it, too, don't you think, and how about
> new-classicism and modernism?

Renaissance, neo-classicism, etc. were named by the periods that followed
them. Leonardo didn't live in the Renaissance. He lived in a contemporary
time, like everyone else, and then some Baroque or Mannerist jokers came
along and said "yeeeeah- that wuz the Renaissance! Fer sure, dude!"

Frankly, I personally rail against notions of modernity and post-modernity,
and neo/post/hyper/ulrta/super/turbo/ anything.

>From this comes my deep apprehension at the idea of "New Media".

Perhaps (and I only conjecture here - I'm not being prescriptive, merely
analytical) it might be more fruitful to ditch the notion of "New Media",
and simply look at what is being made and find the relations the art has
with other kinds of work and activity. In that respect the "New Media
Reader" will be of some use, as it would permit one to connect some dots of
this kind of work (work which I am personally involved with...) and thusly
provide constellations of relations and understanding for further
inspiration and informance.

Consequently, I'm not down on the book, or the ideas in it - I'm just
*extremely* wary of the title.

> Actually, if you start to think about it, new or a synonym is often
> added to a genre when the genre is about to die. Nouveau roman - well,
> we still have novels, of a sort, but the classic novel of Dickens or
> Flaubert is not entirely in vogue.

Ummm, I dunno. People buy the stuff by the ton. Depends on who's vogue
you're floating on. Personally, I'm not a big fan of fiction, so I can't
really claim much in that regard. It's not my bag.
> Perhaps we should call new media new media precisely because it will
> soon explode the idea of media?

I like that image.

Perhaps it already 'sploded and we're all taken in by the sound and pattern
of the shrapnel whizzing by?

> In any case, it's hardly a new and observably not a doomed idea to
> prefix a genre with "new". The knowledge that it won't stay new forever
> has not stopped us before.

I dunno. I still get all itchy with New/Post/Neo anything. But I am looking
forward to reading this book... Now - I just need to sell a kidney...


I like Alan's point that defining it as a field isn't necessarily a great
idea. However, there are an awful lot of people doing technologically
involved art (myself included) and a lot of that art involves the computer
(mine included), and that this work needs to be examined. I think a
thoroughgoing formative analysis might be of some use, like film did in the
1910s and 1920s. However, like film back them, we would have to be extremely
wary - When Musterberg / Bazin / Eisenstein / Arnheim / et al sank their
teeth into film, it basically yanked it out of the Art Department and gift
wrapped it for the Theatre Department, leaving us with the bloat we call

At the same time, if artists don't define and understand the work and the
space they are doing the work in, someone else will do it to/for them. And
that always gets really messy...

Towards such an analysis, I think where the is great divergence, in terms of
the computer, is the end point of the art. I (and many others) use the
computer as a transformational device which enables work in various
non-computer media (video/music/performance).

Some people just use it like an electronic pencil.

Some use it as an end in itself.

As apprehensive as I am of the notion of NEW media, I am even more
apprehensive of the idea of limiting it to the (a) computer. But I am
interested in reading the book. From what I can gather it has a lot to
offer, and I'll certainly be reading it as soon as I can shoplif^H^H^H and
get a copy...


Nick wrote:

"If someone can explain how nanotechnology or video art relate to
interactive fiction in a way that enhances my understanding of the form, I'd
be greatful. I just doubt that these will be as essential to new media
analysis and practice, in general, as is computing."

Well, video art and interactivity is something I'm all over right now, and
ideas like that were subjects of discussion (directly or tangentially) at
the symposium I organised, The San Francisco Performance Cinema Symposium.
One of the lecturers discussed some of these ideas and virtuality etc. in
regard to a piece he's working on. One of the people on the panel and also a
performer was our own lovely empyrean, Christina McPhee.

I'm very slowly putting together a website for the PCS, so forgive me for
its crude nature.

For more details on the symposium, go here:

and for Gregor White's paper, go here:

with much kindness to all,

Henry Warwick

"There are ten kinds of people in this world:
people who can count in binary and those who can't."

words | images | visions | sounds

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