The first reading is a McLuhanain’s perspective towards technology. Gitelman traces the history of media as historical inquiry tools to examine the dynamics between old and new. She scrutinizes some writings on new media and media transitions to challenge the notion of new media using examples of phonograph and the ARPANET, the initial form of the internet. Because all forms of media were once new technological mediums, Gitelman proposes looking into media history within material, social, and institutional contexts through dual lens, social uses and technological features. Then links the newness perception of each medium to its time and social use (p.1, 2006).
These days, people do not need to remember the spelling of each word due to spelling checkers’ ubiquitous-ness. They do not need to care a lot about the multiplication table because of the ubiquitous-ness of the calculators. In the future, we might witness the absence of some professions due to the advance in technological tools; cutting-edge auto-translation machines could simply replace human translators.
In chapter four, Gitelman suggests that all forms of media were just another type of recording instruments of human history, highlighting the analogy between writing, storytelling and electronic recording–analog or digital (p. 123). For historians, writing media history includes working with variable form of archival mediums that depends on each period popular forms of preservation.
The second reading piece of this week includes two chapters of Fiona and Sarah Kenderdine’s book, Theorizing Digital Cultural Heritage. The authors assemble a collection of essays that critically evaluate the digital media uses relating to the cultural heritage. In chapter 16, Dialing up the Past, Erik Champion and Bharat Dave examine the digital methods of creating knowledge, collecting arts and preserving the cultural heritage (p. 333). While in chapter 20, Geo-Storytelling: A Living Archive of Spatial Culture, Scot Refsland, Marc Tuters, and Jim Cooley discuss the material infrastructure of social life through time and place. They also discuss the idea of using interactive virtual-reality to preserve cultural heritage and achieve enhanced immersion (p. 409).
The digital era offers an easy transformation and movement of people and information. It has changed our perception of space and place beyond physical borders. This is a significant context to consider when writing history, since cultural values and social experiences become more global, and sources become more flexible for storytelling. For instance, shared Virtual Environment (SVE) could help historians to understand how people virtually connect in their everyday lives. The hologram, as an example of these technologies, presents humans as avatars in midst of real environments, while cave type displays, such as the Immersive Projection Technology (IPT), present real humans in shared virtual environments. Some news networks, such as CNN, have already used these integrated real and virtual environments during the coverage of some important events. Moreover, Google offers through its first generation of Google Glass a notification gadget that has started a revolution when introduced the augmented reality technology to the end consumers to use in their daily lives. It is hard, at this moment, to grasp the potential of applying all these technologies in daily life. However, the applications of motion tracking, 3D environment and augmented reality technologies would be unlimited throughout a wide range of fields and practices, one of which writing media history.
Gitelman (2006) writes about new media and argues against the popular practice of using the term ‘new media’ – all media was once new afterall. Gitelman (2006) also makes a point to articulate the common mistake of referring to media in the singular and of presenting media as homogeneous entities. On chapter four she looks at “how history is represented” on the Internet (p.21). In this context of history and the Internet she calls attention to how scholars might understand time – present and past as well as new and old (media). It is also on chapter four where the author spends time discussing the history of the Internet and history on the Internet as users experience it on the web. She appends this discussion by explaining concepts she uses even the ‘everyday taken for granted’ concepts such as the Internet, webpage etc. This is not a piece I was excited to read.
Theorizing Digital Cultural Heritage – the two chapters selected were both confusing to me. I could hardly follow the discussion on place, space, virtual sites and environments.
In Always Already New, looks at how new media is studied as historical subjects. The author suggests that every media was considered new media when it first occurred during its time. For instance, television was new media as well as film and every media that was invented and used as a mainstream medium was considered new media during its era. By looking and comparing the introduction of sound recording and the internet, the chapter gives a perspective on how there are similarities between how societies first use the new media that they encounter but also differences in uses based on historical times and places. I felt like the chapter did a good comparison to explain how media are used as historical subjects for its readers and helped me grasp the way in which one should look at media in a historical perspective.
Although new media can play a different role depending on how a specific culture/society use that media, the author does not specifically establish a strong argument on how different societies can experience these new media and how based on their experiences they can then study them differently through a historic lens. I think different countries and societies react and use mediums differently based on their understanding of it and in return engage with media differently.
I felt like the readings from this week were geared towards new media and how different mediums are used. Therefore, my research interest differs from that of the subject area we have read about this week. All in all, it was interesting to read about a subject area im not completely exposed to and to understand the way other mediums are studied or should be studied in a historical perspective.
Gitelman, in “Always Already New,” the author emphasizes that new media is never new and every new technological introduction has been celebrated as ‘new media.’ She compares the introduction of sound recording and the internet to provide an interesting perspective on the social and cultural uses of new media in different historical periods. It is interesting to consider the historical trends of how something that is “new” is utilized differently depending on time and place. I think her argument can use some building upon, but there definitely is a strong advocacy to view media technologies through a historical lens and what can be gained from doing so. Every society, culture, and period is going to engage with new media in a manner that they have engaged with past medias. Media mediates experience. Each new media mediates our experience and builds upon how we will interact with future new media. I would like to trace how each ‘new’ media mediated the experience of the corporeal body/tactility, how these historical medias built upon that mediated experience and gain a better understanding of how ocular centrism developed in western culture.
I’m not 100% sure I understood Erik Champion’s article “Dialing Up the Past.” From what I understood, they examine the ways knowledge and spaces have been digitally constructed and displayed. I kept thinking of the Google Arts Project while reading, but I’m not sure if that applies, but I’m not sure that is the direction Champion’s argument is going. The potential virtual technologies available to historians could revolutionize how we communicate history in the future and creates a myriad of new problems to address.
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