Tom Moody provides what first appears to be visual examples of theorist, artist, and professor Lev Manovich’s principles of new media, outlined in The Language of New Media (and summarized in Wikipedia). A closer look however reveals Moody’s take may indicate the fields are a little broader than Manovich defines them. I’ve reposted Moody’s examples with a few annotations below.
1. Numerical representation: new media objects exist as data
I don’t know the original LoVid project the above image was taken from but I would guess this object is informed by data, not the data itself. Marcin Ramocki’s Torcito Project, pixel portraits that literally become a score of music to be played, presents a good example of Manovich’s first principle.
2. Modularity: the different elements of new media exist independently
Drawn from modular programing, which according to Wikipedia is a “software design technique that increases the extent to which software is composed from separate parts, called modules. Conceptually, modules represent a separation of concerns, and improve maintainability by enforcing logical boundaries between components. Modules are typically incorporated into the program through interfaces“.” I have no idea what that means, or how it applies to art. The picture suggests that while everything comes from a root source, sorting is critical. Perhaps the John Michael Boling, Guthrie Lonergan, Bob Ware collaboration Pic-See, an open image directory visualizer is a worthy example of this?
3. Automation: new media objects can be created and modified automatically
Or not. Working with a mouse is fairly hands on. For some reason I’m struggling to come up with a basic example of objects made and modified automatically.
4. Variability: new media objects exist in multiple versions
This principle seems fairly clear, though Moody’s pictures also suggest a tendency towards repetition in new media. Aron Namenwirth discussed the mutability of new media as a new concern for gallerists with me last April on Rhizome.
5. Transcoding: a new media object can be converted into another format
Moody presents two png file formats one modified, the point being presumably that variation with in the same file format is just as interesting. Coincidently a good example of Manovich’s fifth principle will appear in my masthead shortly. That cat gets out of the bag next week.