These are the slides for the first two topical lectures from the subject BCM112 Emergent Media that I teach this session. In the first lecture I discuss Marshall McLuhan’s framework of understanding media, and the trajectory and dynamics of the process of convergence. I concentrate on the ways convergence affects industries, technologies, and audiences, establishing the parameters of the internet paradigm. In the second lecture I examine how ‘the medium is the message’ manifests itself in the process of digital production. I explore the kinds of experiences and production processes made possible by the emergence of a digital network economy.
These are slides from a lecture I delivered in the fifth week of BCM112, building on open-process arguments conceptualized in a lecture on the logic and aesthetics of digital production. My particular focus in this lecture was on examining the main dynamics of the audience trajectory in the process of convergence. I develop the conceptual frame around Richard Sennet’s notion of dialogic media as ontologically distinct from monologic media, where the latter render a passive audience as listeners and consumers, while the former render conversational participants. I then build on this with Axel Bruns’ ideas on produsage [a better term than prosumer], and specifically his identification of thew new modalities of media in this configuration: a distributed generation of content, fluid movement of produsers between roles, digital artefacts remaining open and in a state of indeterminacy, and permissive ownership regimes enabling continuous collaboration. The key conceptual element here is that the entire chain of the process of production, aggregation, and curation of content is open to modification, and can be entered at any point.
This is a lecture I thoroughly enjoyed preparing, and had great fun delivering to my first year digital media class of 200 students. The prezi slides are below. My intention was to provoke students into thinking in interesting and weird ways about remediation across media platforms, about object animation through digital means, and about the new aesthetics of the glitch and hyper kawaii. I ended up being more successful than I expected, in that the lecture provoked extreme reactions oscillating from strong rejection of the very premises to enthusiastic exploration of the implications and pathways opened by them. I start with a quick overview of the changing meaning of craft in a time of digital mediation, then move on to the aesthetics of remediation between analog and digital forms, and object animation and its effect on experiences of the material.
I constructed the main argument around the transition from industrial culture in which production is determined by the logic of the assembly line, to a post-industrial culture in which production is determined by the logic of mass customization. Arguably, the latter is characterized by rapid prototyping, experimentation, iterative error discovery, and modifications leading to unexpected outcomes. I illustrate this with a beautiful quote by David Pye, from his The Nature and Art of Workmanship, where he argues that while industrial manufacturing is characterized by the production of certainty, craftsmanship is always the production of risk because the quality of the result is an unknown during the process of making.
My favorite part of the lecture is where I managed to integrate into a single narrative phenomena such as glitch aesthetics and hyper kawaii, exemplified by Julie Watai and xMinks, with a cameo by Microsoft’s ill-fated Tay AI bot.
The image I used as canvas for the prezi is a remediation of the Amen Break 6-second loop into a 3-d printed sound wave, crafted by a student of mine last year.
A prezi from yet another lecture on copyright – this one aiming for an overview of the state of play.
Prezi from my lecture on media ownership, and the implications of the long tail for media conglomerates:
Prezi from my lecture on gaming consoles and convergence:
Bring me stuff that’s dead, please
RSS is dead. Blogs are dead. The web is dead.
Dead means that they are no longer interesting to the drive-by technorati. Dead means that the curiousity factor has been satisfied, that people have gotten the joke.
These people rarely do anything of much value, though.
Great music wasn’t created by the first people to grab an electric guitar or a synthesizer. Great snowboarding moves didn’t come from the guy who invented the snowboard… No one thinks Gutenberg was a great author, and some of the best books will be written long after books are truly dead.
Only when an innovation is dead can the real work begin. That’s when people who are seeking leverage get to work, when we can focus on what we’re saying, not how (or where) we’re saying it.
The drive-by technorati are well-informed, curious and always probing. They’re also hiding… hiding from the real work of creating work that matters, connections with impact and art that lasts. I love to hear about the next big thing, but I’m far more interested in what you’re doing with the old big thing.
Only when a technology settles into the swamp of daily culture and starts composting, only then can interesting things start happening with it.
This is the prezi from a lecture I gave on convergence.