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

At 2:38 PM +1100 2/1/04, Anna Munster wrote:
>(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.

I know that Nick has already addressed this, and certainly I agree that there is more to this history's record than print and digital artifacts. This was an infelicitous transposition on my part from our specific thinking about the NMR project (the desire to have a book and a disk) to a more general discussion of new media.

If I were to attempt a better transposition, it might be from our thinking about the NMR to some thinking about new media in courses. It's interesting to me that some critical courses on new media focus on print readings almost to the exclusion of direct work with new media. I think we'd find this very strange in other areas - e.g., a film course that didn't expect the students to watch film. Certainly students could write passable essays on Vertigo or Intolerance without ever having seen a film of either era (given the wealth of secondary sources) but is this something we'd want to encourage? We included a CD with the NMR, and part of our motivation was to make it easier for new media courses to include direct work with (some version of) historically important new media artifacts. And, as Nick points out, the CD also includes video, which has certainly also been an important part of the record of new media's history, and which we also hope will find its way into new media courses.


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