The Birth of New Media (and Beyond)

I’ve learned that it takes tons of courage to explore the unknown. There is a hint of hazard with every bit of curiosity, but I find it intriguing, and I always want to know more. The beauty of being a Film & New Media Studies is watching my senses manifest. For example, I no longer watch a film through just as an audience member–I’ve learned to observe through a critical eye. If anything, that’s now how I view the entire world: through a critical, artistic lens.

We live in an age where human beings are dependent on technology as a way of life. The many benefits technology has brought to society makes it a commodity. New media by way of technological advances has brought with it the ideal of this interconnectedness between people who live all across the world, globalization. It’s essential in political campaigns, international trade, and basic communication to name a few. But it’s important to remember how we started. In Lev Manovich’s The Language of New Media, we see the chronological layout of the birth, rise, and development in new media.

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Depending on what side of the fence you may stand on, it can be exciting to think of the progress technology has made over the years. From the classic Lumière camera-projector hybrid, to today’s latest gadgets capable of granting consumers multimedia enjoyment. The birth of new media signified a pivotal moment in communication, in a narrow sense. In a broader sense, it signified a pivotal moment in society as a whole.

Manovich does an exceptional job at charting the basics. What were the first signs that something greater was coming? How many failed attempts at inventions did visionaries such as the Lumière brothers and Konrad Zuse encounter before finally getting it right? These were questions I’ve asked myself regarding revolutionary inventions like the projector or the computer.

It’s not completely impossible to envision a society without the new age technology of today, but virtually it is impossible to imagine living without the conveniences that they bring. That raises the question of “what now?“. What happens when new media is again remediated? What happens when tomorrow’s sleek devices make’s today’s obsolete? I’m intrigued by the possibilities.

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