Tuesday, 21 February 2012


Edward R. Tufte argues that powerpoint design inherently makes it more difficult to communicate with an audience.  
  • Instead of giving an informative presentation, PowerPoint encourages speakers to create slides with ultra- short, incomplete thoughts listed with bullets. 
New technology tends to mimic old ones.
Medium/media specificity -term used in aesthetics and art criticism 
Media specificity and media specific analysis are ways to identify new media art forms such as internet art "the medium is the message"
the medium becomes the media which is itself simply an extension of our own physical and mental limitations.

• Medium: material or technical means of artistic expression.
• Media is the plural form of medium.
• The dictionary defines media as all the communication devices and channels of communication used to reach mass audiences.

WHAT ARE WE?Our medium specificity is that we are biological creatures. Organic in nature, we have a close genetic connection to the animal world. 

  • The basic aspects of our nature are physiological, psychological and sociological.    
A human being is a biosocial being and the subject of social forms of life, communication and consciousness. 
A definition
• Medium specificity is the view that the media associated with a given art form (both its material components and the processes by which they are exploited) entail specific possibilities for and constraints on representation and expression, and this provides a normative framework for what artists working in that art form ought to attempt.
• Noël Carroll 2008 

It is most closely associated with modernism, but it predates it. According to Clement Greenberg,, medium specificity holds that "the unique and proper area of competence" for a form of art corresponds with the ability of an artist to manipulate those features that are "unique to the nature" of a particular medium. 

Medium specificity can be used as an aesthetic judgement tool, it can be used to frame the question, “ Does this work fulfil the promise contained in the medium used to bring the artwork into existence?” 

Media Specificity as Communication Theory Marshall McLuhan

  • “Themediumisthemessage"
  • The central idea in his 1964 book: Understanding Media: The
    Extensions of Man
  • McLuhan calls attention to the intrinsic effect of communications media and explains that it is not the content, it is the carrier that creates meaning.
  • McLuhan expands our understanding of media.
  • The medium becomes the media which is
    itself simply an extension of our own physical and mental limitations. 

    Sound and media specificity
    • In the 1920's the 10-inch 78 rpm Shellac gramophone disc became the most popular recording medium.
    • A 10 inch disc rotating at 78 rpm limited the duration of recorded time on each side of a disc to around three minutes. 

    Social extensions
    • Social [knowledge] building as a creative process of knowing will be collectively extended to the whole of human society (McLuhan 1964) Mobile phone networks, Facebook, Twitter
    • Electronic mass media collapse space and time barriers in human communication, enabling people to interact and live on a global scale (McLuhan; 1962 Gutenberg galaxy)
    • "The new electronic interdependence recreates the world in the image of a global village." (McLuhan 1966)

      Technology as Memory extensions
      • Footprints
      • Drawing, painting and symbol making
      • Writing
      • Printing
      • Photography
      • Sound recording
      • Silent Film
      • Technological convergence of Sound recording and Silent Film
      • TV
      • Computers (1940s)
      • Magnetic tape (Available to the public from 1940s)
      • Video tape (Available to the public from 1969)

  • Due to their media certain art forms are better at certain tasks than others.
  • The Art of Comics: A Philosophical Approach
  • From the chapter: Making Comics into Film p. 149
  • By Aaron Meskin, Roy T. Cook, Warren Ellis To be released Feb. 2012 
    Comic specificity

    Each page is segmented into panels (or frames), which have borders that separate them from other panels.
    Individual panels contain one part of a story (perhaps dialogue between characters), or a character's inner thoughts (represented by speech and thought balloons) that leads into the next panel.

    Panels are routinely separated by blank areas called gutters.
    Panels are set out to logically flow one to another, guiding the reader's eyes so that they can take in the story in a sequential manner.

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