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

Hi Alan

These questions are somewhat peripheral to the main point of my previous post, however it's fair enough to call me up on some points of definition. I'll give it a go...

On Monday, January 5, 2004, at 12:50  PM, Alan Sondheim wrote:

What is a 'communicational event'

At its broadest level, a communicational event is any difference that makes a difference. However, for a communicational event (enunciation, if you like) to carry any force, it must summon forth things beyond its own breath. If it makes a claim to coercive power, it must speak to some promise of violence (including legal fictions, etc). If it's a work of fine art, it must speak to a community of gallery owners, critics, publics etc.

- and what is meant by 'conventional standards'?

In many cases, the force of an enunciation acts along well established channels. Institutions are substantially characterised by their conventional modes of enunciation (this is not a 'bad' thing, it's just the way they work). Judges call to precedents when they pass sentence on a criminal. However, some enunciations change what and how they summon others. These changes are interesting as new media events.

Many painters certainly deviate from conventional standards -
from Richter, say on -

There's no reason not to consider a painting as a new media event, if you want to make that argument. The point would be not to compare the painting with other paintings according to how they adhere (or not) to the conventions of what makes a good painting, but to ask how the work operates as an event that changes the mode of communication itself.

In other words, does stepping into a semiotic/communications paradigm
change anything except move the same problems into another domain?

Yes (I hope!)

In my previous post, my main goal was to suggest a way of defining new media that does not reduce the term to a historical category, nor to technological determinism. By avoiding these traps (which lead to obsolescence or reductionism), we can keep the field of new media electric, rather than a cud-chewing pasture. If the cost of this precision is a switch in discourse, then I would say that it is worth that effort!


-- - Dr Chris Chesher Work phone 61 2 9385 6814 Senior Lecturer Mobile: 04040 95 480 School of Media and Communications Messages: 61 2 9385 6811 Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Fax: 61 2 9385 6812 University of New South Wales Email: UNSW Sydney 2052 UNSW CRICOS No: 00098G

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