Tag Archive: Reading summary

de Mul reading summary

De Mul’s reading starts off with explaining how art has changed because of technology. The author explains how art used to be all about individuality and how earlier artists used their art to express themselves, which produced a special aura about the piece. Now, the author clarifies how art isn’t as unique because artists depend on computer technologies. He then goes on to tell us how modern art is being destroyed with these new technologies. Art that is created by mechanical reproduction results in the loss of the arts “aura.” Art these days can easily be reproduced, which contributes to the art’s losing its aura or value. He uses the example of the Mona Lisa to show us how technologies contribute to the loss of an art’s significance. Instead of going to see the actual Mona Lisa, we can look it up on our mobile phones whenever we please. He uses this example to show us how the uniqueness of the Mona Lisa is deteriorating because of technologies. De Mul’s reading revolves around the analysis of Walter Benjamins’s essay, “The word of art in the age of mechanical reproduction.” Benjamin’s essay is mainly about how the cult value of art work is replaced by exhibition value, due to mechanical reproduction.

–Josh Sefton


As I got toward the end of this reading, I couldn’t help but put it in conversation with what we learned about remix, especially the value of reference as it relates to making something new. The author points out that at their most basic, databases are just spaces that hold (and organize) our references… and that gets at the core of this reading: the implication of the seemingly endless potential for creation and art that lies within the constructs of databases — among which is the video from above, by Geert Mul, whom was mentioned in the article for this installation (his other work, like Match of the Day  — also discussed in the article — was pretty rad in a weird way while it lasted).

But there is more to it than just saying hey, cool, databases can be part of our new media art projects. The whole reading is centered around the author’s analysis and application of a reputable essay by Walter Benjamin, “The word of art in the age of mechanical reproduction.” Benjamin wrote his paper during the mid-1930s and was interested in investigating the repercussions of mechanical reproduction, especially as it transformed works of art. His main  argument was that the cult value of a work, in other words an artwork’s aura of uniqueness and singularity in time and space (96), was replaced by the exhibition value of artwork that could be, and increasingly is, mechanically produced. Exhibition value can be connected to the concept of buzz – something is cool because it’s cool. Originality suffers in this old-school but not necessarily off the mark interpretation, and de Mul attempts to walk the technological determinism line here. His thesis is this: that in the age of digital recombination (he pretty much means remix culture, I think), that “the database constitutes the ontological model of the work of art and… in this transformation the exhibition value is being replaced by what we might call manipulation value” (95). In other words, the art is reproduced, but the references it makes in it reproduction are always political. So while singularity may not be emphasized as much, the work is nonetheless reflective.

Anyway, I think that’s the gist. It gets a little dark in the end in a Herzogesque clone-evolution way, so I’m not totally sure.

Lloyd Reading Summary for Van Elferen

This article explores the use of technology in cybergothic music, arguing that music technology has a type of agency and is a collaboration between both humans and machines.The authors use excerpts of lyrics from cybergothic bands as well as examples of cybergothic texts to support their arguments. They also include examples from previous articles written about technology and the cybergothic culture. The researchers explain that the feeling of uncanniness that many people feel throughout their life, such as the feeling of being watched by something that you can’t see, is present in the different gothic media. While others try suppress these uncomfortable feelings, gothic culture confronts it by introducing it into different media. Moreover, gothic texts explore various time periods and use remediation to bring to light unconscious hauntings. These haunted feelings are often illustrated by deserted buildings and landscapes in literature. The authors also believe that technoculture contains both the excitement for the possibilities of technology and well as fear of the consequences of technology.

Clarke Reading

The reading this week discusses how we use a major part of our daily conversation to describe things we have seen. Throughout his article, Clarke discusses all the different ways we can discuss our visual culture and uses examples to show the reader how they are used. Another theme that appears through the description of each of the points is that trying to describe imagery is extremely subjective when we get past literal details. For example, when he explains ‘describing,’ he says that it “often involves a delicate balance of interests [that]… might be a highly subjective, emotionally or ideologically charged account revealing as much about the speaker as the subject.” (Clarke 23) Other analysis tools such as analyzing, interpreting, and evaluating are very similar, because it depends on the viewer’s opinions on which elements of a visual object are more important. Finally, at the end of the article, the author gives us three questions to think about. They include:

1. Is the text primarily descriptive, informational, or interpretive?

2. Does the text add anything to your understanding of the image?

3. What kind of language is used?

Overall, Clarke is very detailed when it comes to discussing how we describe our visual culture everyday. It is very insightful when it comes to using language and linguistic devices to describe visual artifacts.

-Kyle Buck

While this week’s reading addresses visual culture, the core of this piece is actually about language, specifically how we (can) use it to articulate our response to our increasingly visual culture. Coupling visual examples with written responses from critics and scholars, Clarke analyzes the different functions of language as verbalizations of visual experiences. Building on these examples, Clarke also suggests a 10-part framework for using language to express ideas about the things we see.

Beginning on page 36, there is a summary of Clarke’s explanation of the relationship between language and visual artefacts. While that’s helpful, Clarke’s examples and their analysis will be very useful in putting together a strategy for writing our remaining critical analyses. There are explanations of specific linguistic devices such as metaphor and simile, as well as discussions of larger concepts, like the importance of placing objects in context when describing them. Also worth considering is the practice activity on page 34, where the author asks the reader to consider a few examples and then poses the following questions:

  1. Is the text primarily descriptive, informational, or interpretative?
  2. Does the text add anything to your understanding of the image?
  3. What kind of language is used?

These questions serve as a good starting point for approaching a visual analysis and encourage the application of the different aspects communication within visual culture.

— Nikki Pinney

Reading Summary –Remix Lawerence Lessig

Lawerence Lessig within chapter 4 of his book entitled Remix questions “Why is it ‘weird’ to think that you need permission to quote?” (Lessig 52). It is only common practice that when writing a document and it is necessary to use the ideas of others to elaborate on your own much like this blog post, one must cite their sources. Authors are protected for this reason and there is no direct agreement between the two producers to use the cited work but this form of citation is both socially acceptable and legal. The point Lessig makes is that if we are able to cite our sources when referring to a written piece of art, why are digital representations not able to be sited to create pieces of art ourselves. The practice is the same; Only the source is different. Lessig says the difference that court rooms make is that the creation of films and music is done democratically meaning they are not a hobby but created by professionals to earn a living. However, then what is it to call Ernest Hemingway a hobbiest rather than a professional writer. The distinction is them divided into whether a piece of art is pesented commercially rather than privately. Lessig feels that in order to create new, it is necessary to draw from the past. This is remix not piracy.

Horst Reading Summary – Kyle Buck

The reading this week talks about how children and teenagers interact with new media, and divides these interactions into three different “Genres of participation.” These genres are labeled as “hanging out,” “messing around,” and “geeking out.”

When kids are hanging out, they are usually physically in the same place together. However, with the presence of new media technologies, there exists an “ambient virtual copresence” that is almost equivalent to being in the same room. By sharing statuses on Facebook, for example, you can have personal interactions between friends, even if you aren’t in the same place. The article also discusses how physical interactions between friends increasingly begin with an online interaction. For instance, when a child wants to hang out with a friend, they will IM or text them to hang out, and later they will meet face to face.  Hanging out is seen as “friendship-driven.”

Messing around is different than hanging out, according to Horst, because messing around is more of an interaction with the medium itself than another person. One task performed while messing around is browsing the web for a way to complete a certain task. Messing around also consists of learning how to do something by experimenting with it, for instance, playing with the crop tool and learning what it does. Messing around usually comes from parents who give their children “autonomy over their media choices.”

Finally, “geeking out” is different from the other two genres because it is considered an intense commitment to the media in use. This genre usually consists of people who have large amounts of specialized knowledge about a medium, such as a gamer or media producer. Also, people who belong to this section are highly engaged with media and finding out new things about the latest technology. Geeking out involves learning how media work and how to create new technologies to produce what they want.

Reading summary–Media convergence

  The reading for this week discusses media convergence, and it  happens when various different kinds of media are doing the same thing such as the internet, television, games and text all combine together.  According to the reading , media convergence can be characterized in two aspects. First media companies need to unite and expand to become larger,  to prove this point  Meikle and Young compare several news and media corporations, such as the BBC, Google, and various newspapers owned by Robert Murdock to show the ways in which they successful or unsuccessfully use convergent media to extend or stabilize their business. The second aspect is the methods that media companies are familiarizing and implementing the possible technological convergence. which means the media companies attempt to create a new business model by the use of convergent media. they mesh everything together , spreading and sharing information with others all over the world.



Remediation Article

According to the article entitled “Remediation,” Bolter and Grusin make the point that all examples of media are characterized by borrowing one type of content in which one medium is itself incorporated or represented in another medium. The formal definition for the representation of one medium in another is remediation. It can be argued that remediation is one of the defining characteristics of new digital media. The article mentions that the content of any medium is always another medium. For example, writing is speech, just as written word is the content of print, and finally as print is the content of the telegraph. This is a very simple way to begin to think about the idea of remediation, but much more complex examples appears in todays world. The article goes on to mention how the point of remediation is for the viewer to create the same relationship with the content as if they were confronting the original medium. For example, there should ideally be no difference between the act of seeing a painting in person versus on the computer screen. Obviously, we know that there is a great difference between seeing a painting in person versus on a computer screen, perhaps due to intervention of the computer, which makes its presence felt in some way. While this example shows how remediation can hurt one type of medium, there are also distinct advantages that appear due to this concept. For example, remediation in the digital medium can refashion the older medium entirely and make it easier for the viewer to experience.

In conclusion, from the perspective of remediation, it is important to note that digital media will always be a function of the content in which it was produced from. Repurposing as remediation allows us to create things that are unique to the digital world, but at the same time denies the possibility of uniqueness since the content is developed from an original source.

This collection of authors discusses the idea of newness and how we view new media compared to old media. Lister, one of the authors, argues that we should not ask questions about what and why, but simply study old media to help build and evolve new media. He also argues that new media needs to be studied in how it relates to old media. An example that Lister uses to support these arguments is the development of the digital television.

In the case study presented in this article, we are presented with the idea that we are no longer the passive consumer. The authors argue that with the help of new media, this has become possible. That with new media, users are able to learn on their own, to teach each other, and to “navigate their way across uncharted seas of potential knowledge, making their own sense of a body of material, each user following new pathways through the matrix of data each time they set out on their journeys of discovery.” The study also presents that with how technology and media is evolving today, we as humans seek to make computers activity, knowledge, and function to be as close to us as possible. Making computers as “interactive” as possible. The authors argue that being interactive allows us to ‘relate’ and to ‘listen’ to that which we are interacting with. This is one of the many attributes of what we define as “new media.”