[-empyre-] July on empyre: Screens

Ian Bogost ian.bogost at lcc.gatech.edu
Thu Jul 5 06:44:18 EST 2012

On Jul 4, 2012, at 8:24 AM, Brian Holmes wrote:

>> Our mobile
>> screens do not offer us anonymity, they relay and record our movements
>> (via GPS); they can capture and convey our images as much as they can
>> record images. Or they can create another type of image (data, or
>> information about us).
> It seems to me that the passage reveals the need for some more circumspect way of conceiving these things. After all, screens _as such_ neither track us, nor relay information about us, nor even capture our images. Networked and programmed interactive devices do that, usually in combination with databases and operators. Kriss, you get at that further on: "These interactive screens / machines respond to our voices, our touch, our gestures, but they are at the same time programmed."

Thanks for saying this, Brian. I had similar questions but you summarized well. What is it we are talking about when we talk about screens? Is there such a thing as "the screen"? What do we gain when we look at specific kinds of screens and understand screens separately

Just to throw one example out that I was just discussing with someone yesterday: the cathode-ray tube is nearing the end of new production. Innumerable CRTs will still exist for some time, but they will be impossible or very costly to produce new. The CRT may seem undesirable and outmoded, but it also has very specific properties that make its picture appear in a particular fashion—a manner that invisibly imbued several media, most obviously television, video games, and video art, for fifty years. Matters of preservation and experience of these works, from Electronic Superhighway to Dallas to Pac-Man, are bound up with the life and death of the CRT.

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