Before reading the Question Of The Week on this blog in depth, all I knew was that I had to answer the never-ending vagueness of “What Exactly Is New Media?” I immediately went to a local library near my house and searched for books that might be able to help me out. After picking up Lev Manovich’s The Language Of New Media and reading through a couple of pages, I thought I had all the answers and I could answer this question without a doubt. After logging into WordPress and reading the assignment fully, I realized that Manovich’s work wasn’t only in the description, but in other students’ work too. This is probably because The Language Of New Media is the only text that I’ve seen that seems to be legitimately concise and stays true to the present despite the 2001 publication date.
From what I understand, new media is probably the most broad topic in all of the arts. It looks at everything from web sites, to virtual worlds, virtual reality, mutimedia, computer games, interactive installations, computer animation, digital video and surprisingly of all, cinema. Despite arguments, new media isn’t just about designing something for someone else; it’s also about figuring out how they will react to it in order to make them feel satisfied about the experience. For me, this is the biggest difference between the media and art. Artists tend to create things that they think are interesting and in high hopes, that other people will find interesting too. New media to me is about making sure that the audience gets the most out of the experience as possible (typically in the form of story telling), opposed to just glancing at a painting for a few seconds and forgetting about it the next minute. Lev Manovich writes that it’s probably not safe to say that whatever is on a computer, whether it be a picture or text, is considered to be “new media.” I agree with this because relating to my last statement, you can see a picture on a screen and flip to the next without even fully understanding it. I think to undergo a true new media design, you must be able to understand it and then apply that knowledge in order to see what the design can do for you. Because realistically, a video game or an interactive installation becomes so personalized that you have to understand it in order to get to the “next level” or to the “next outcome.” Evidently, understanding a design is influenced by text, still images, moving images, sound and spatial constructions; typically all put together to benefit the audience’s interest.
In conclusion, new media is a term that in constantly changing and from what I’ve researched, even Lev Manovich can’t describe it in one sentence. While thinking about what new media means to me, a few terms pop into mind: experience, interaction, personalized and fun!
Lev Manovich, The Language of New Media
Nicholas V. Iuppa, Interactive Design for New Media and the Web
Lon Barfield, Design for New Media