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Lecture 9: Media Specificity

Medium - the material or technical means of artistic expression, media being the plural of medium, the first use of the term media was in 1927

Media also refers to the communication channels that are used to carry information

Everything we do as designers and artists is determined by the media we use to deliver the expression, media determines how something works and operates. ‘Media’ is the humans attempt to extend ourselves beyond our nature physical and mental limitations.

Different media have a different set of defined characteristics that influences there aesthetic

The use of medium theory can be used to explain and compare the differences between certain media, such as text based media theory being used to describe how cinematic theory works. (Eisenstein)

The human will allows provide the force which influences and affects how a particular media works and functions.

PowerPoint is an example of how media affects the information being delivered, it was originally designed for use with sales pitches however it used by many lectures within universities to deliver information within a lecture, often to work in sync with the spoken word of the lecturer. The use of PowerPoint within lectures has also resulted in a shift in the way information in delivered within lectures, traditionally information was delivered in large ’chunks’ similar to that of paragraphs of text within a book however no information is bullet pointed and bite sized

What are we as humans? We are biological creature with close connections to the animal world. At a basic physical level, we are part of the natural interconnection of physical and chemical phenomena and obey the laws of necessity. However in spite of the limitations of this condition our highly developed cerebral cortex allows us to think our way out. If we cant reach it we pick up a stick and if we cant outfight it we sharpen a stone axe.

The Homo Sapien - A large brain, most sensory organs are forward facing and towards to top of the body, Long throat, small mouth with flexible tongue and lips. An upright stance that frees arms, hands with mobile thumbs and fingers.

Media and how we consume it is related to our shape as human beings, media is often an extension of what we already have, such as the first tools first invented, the axe - an extension of the arm and glasses (telescope) - am enhancement of the eyes, extending and broaden the ability of our natural sight

These extensions are not just lenses either the also come in other forms such as radio telescopes. Electricity is also a reflection of out central nervous system. These extensions often relate to our five key senses.

Technology has long aimed to replicate what we already have al human beings but enhance it and make it better. The human body is unable to sense many potentially harmful substances in the air we breath. NASA has built an electronic nose to smell what the astronauts can’t. Inspired by the human olfactory system, the electronic nose is endowed with ultra-responsive sensors and a neural net to rapidly recognize any dangerous elements in the air.

Development of audio technology - sound and vision working together. The first audio related technology mirrored what we already have as human beings. Large cones made to replicate the hearing function of the ear

This Mirroring of what we already have can also been within the development of the car, the first designs of cars were based on the horse and carriage

We still use analog ways of thinking within a digital world of multi medias

The way is which a piece of design work uses a particular media can be used to judge how successful of creative that design is, as it may have used that media in the best way possible

An artwork, in order to be successful, needs to adhere to the specific stylistic properties of its own medium. - Gotthold Ephraim Lessing 1776

Medium specificity and media specific analysis are ways to identify new media art forms, such as Internet art.

Media also creates a aesthetic tool for judge by which design adheres to the media specific aesthetics, these are pre modernist ways of thinking

In order for a medium to have characteristic qualities it must be grounded in a tradition that has established these qualities as intrinsic properties

Communication theory - ’medium’ is the message, ’media’ is what shapes that idea more than any other outside factor, media is an extension of man and extends what we can do. Media is also the carrier of the information and the communication, this creates the meaning not the content

Media is known as an extension of artistic and design based thinking and thought, medium is the message. For example typography is the media used to communicate a message, if the typography contains errors the communicator ion is changed

Within this digital age out attention is always divided across multiple forms of media, we never concentrate on one media, our attention is split

The medium is the message - Marshall McLuhan

Social and individual forms of media, the book for example is a solely individual communicative media whereas a Newspaper is a more social experience, it can be read in a public place, it’s current and involves those around you

Electronic technology is reshaping and restructuring patterns of social interdependence and every aspect of our personal lives - Marshall McLuhan

Electronic communication technology also allows us to break down barrier of time and space (distance) within the world which allows us to live as a global community on a global scale

Media also shapes the way we live, traditionally the fire place would form the central point of a living room, with the invention of the radio, furies would. E placed around the radio, as it was once a social experience to listen to the radio and now the television form the focal point of a room and furniture is positioned to face it.

With even more electronic devices in our lives today our attention is no longer even just focused on the television it is spread across multiple devices such as the mobile phone, laptop or tablet computer

We know live in what is known as a global village as no one is out of touch, everyone is now accessible by at least one form of communication media. This is shaping and changing our social experiences and also how our brain primarily functions

The lens within a camera is the extension of our sight but the media of films is also an extension of how our minds work, the movement and progression of the narrative etc

Sound and media specificity has been defined by the media it has been recorded, the first 10 inch disc recorded 3 minutes of audio, songwriters therefore tailored there music to fit this media specific constraint, although the format has now changed to likes of digital MP3, the 3 minute format is still used. Additionally radio airplay slots are also 3 minute therefore longer songs have to be remixed into radio edits to fit the media format of radio.

All media is direct result of our inability of humans to directly communicate a message, from Brian to brain and person to person

However media can always distort a message and it is never certain how a message maybe received by the recipient, furthermore the translation and transmission of a message from one media to another can also distort its final meaning

We are currently living in a trans media age, the digital age, we have taken what has been learnt from the analog period and translated this into digital forms of media and communication

We are heading towards a time where media specificity will become much clearer as we become part of it

Comic specificity - page is segmented into frames separated by borders, each frame contains a part of the story, they are set out in chronological order to create a narrative. Comics are a type of graphical story telling.

Format represents the physical point of contact with the user; affecting how we receive a design's printed or online information.
Format is derived from the media specific qualities of the material used

In the future - Technology will in the future transform society and ways we interact and organise ourselves.The new technologies that convergence produces have immense consequences for global security, communications, surveillance, health, ecosystems, biogenetics and the prolongation of life

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