Monday, September 30, 2013

The Language of New Media by Lev Manovich

Lev Manovich (2002), in The Language of New Media, writes about the concepts of the new media in society. He explains his concepts using five principles, which include numerical representation, transcoding, variability, automation and modularity. These principles help in distinguishing old from new media.

Numerical representation explains the manipulation and programming of new media objects to their mathematical form. Here, converting data into the new numerical form entails sampling and quantization. These steps help in making continuous data measurable, distinct and numerically defined into ranges. In making animations, numerical representation is used to create motion.

Modularity involves the use of independent elements, which are modified when doing other kinds of
works.  In Adobe Photoshop, an image can contain more than one layer whereby each layer is distinct from another. In addition, the World Wide Web consists of various websites, which are distinct media and web elements.
Automation is the process that uses built-in computer systems and software to perform its processes. It depends on both numerical representation and modularity to minimize human intervention during its processes (Manovich, 2002). Automatic processes are used in new media for example using software like Microsoft Word, which has designed templates for document design or the use of grammar and spell check, which automates corrections

New media exists in different forms, which explains the principle of new media variability. Unlike old media that needed manual assembling, new media uses automated systems, digital storage media and the chronology of events and steps. For example, with a single click on an icon, on an interface,multiple versions of processes may be performed.

Transcoding entails converting media from one format to another and the manipulation of media to be compatible with various devices. The computer layer generally affects the cultural layer (Manovich, 2002). New media enables transcoding whereas old media does not.
Based on these principles, a person is able to differentiate between new and old media. The differentiation may be based on measurability, automation, variation, distinction and consistency with the devices.

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