Re: [-empyre-] Opening remarks on new media history
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
Dr Chris Chesher Work phone 61 2 9385 6814
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