CATS – Log Book – Entry #5 (8/11/13)

So today our session was rather strange as it was broken down into 2 different session, a continuation of last weeks and the next session for Contextualising Digital Culture: New Media.

Our continuation of the last session only lasted about 15 – 20 minutes. The first thing we discussed was Mass Communication and the 6 information revolutions:

  1. Writing
  2. Printing
  3. Mass Media
  4. Entertainment
  5. The Toolshed
  6. The Highway

We moved on to look at what the word “Mass” means and how it has been used in communication. First thing we did was breakdown “Mass Communication” into 4 areas which are:

  • The System – This is the organisation that does the communicating, this could be the postal service or a radio broadcasting service.
  • The Product – This is the object produced or carried by the system.
  • The Audience – This could potentially number in the millions.
  • The Mass-Production of messages also means The Mass-Repetition of messages.

The we moved on to the Television and its effects. Raymond Williams said “Television was invented as the result of scientific and technical research” in 1990. We discussed how it altered all media of news and entertainment that preceded it, and how it has changed our institutions and forms of social relationships, how it has changed our perception of reality and how it has altered the scale of our society. This is explored in great detail in Marshal McLuhan’s book “The Medium is the Massage” 1968

This book explores the idea that mass communication are intrinsically linked to the message they are trying to communicate. This book was experimental and used a college style to address the relationships between the written text and image to communicate McLuhan’s ideas. The typo in the title, (Message, Massage) McLuhan suggested should be kept as the word “massage” could also be used to suggest the effect that mass media can have on us.

We was tasked with doing a 250 word write up on “The Century of the Self” but I cannot find the video to do a write up.

The second part of our session was discussing Postmodernism & New Media. We started off this session with a definition of Postmodernism. The term “Postmodernism” was used form the 1970’s onward to describe the changes that took place in the 60’s in western society and culture. Where art was concerned, Postmodernism was against modernism. Art, Design and Culture was noticeably different in the 70’s to the 60’s and pointed out by Art Critics. Modernism was fading and started losing its position as the most dominant style, postmodernism followed modernism.

After this we discussed Digital Technology as a tool. Technology has been used to create early forms of art which often resembled geometric abstractions, this, in my opinion, definitely revolutionised the way we can look at and produce art. This lead to a whole new process of art and creating it digitally. This lead into a discussion about the process of defining new media. New Media is all that is associated with the internet, this can be linked to the shift from Modernity to Postmodernity, Digital Revolution and changing networks of communication.

Then we moved on to discuss how the Digital Revolution took shape, this happened from the 1960’s onwards with the development of personal computers and the internet. The internet developed from the 60’s, networking implemented in the 80’s and rapid expansion in the 90’s. The Digital Revolution also includes things like the advancements in mobile technologies, web design and companies like Apple and Adobe.

To finish this session we spoke about how postmodernism has effected media as a whole and how no media is better or worse than the other, how anything can be communicated to an audience and how video games can be viewed as postmodern as they subvert ideas around reality, simulation and image. After this we watched a lengthy video about the birth of the internet, called “The Virtual Revolution”.


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