13.0143 new media

Humanist Discussion Group (humanist@kcl.ac.uk)
Thu, 19 Aug 1999 09:22:08 +0100 (BST)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 13, No. 143.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

[1] From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk> (38)
Subject: new media studies?

[2] From: Stephanie Stauffer <stephanie@cal.org> (2)
Subject: online multimedia application

Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 09:28:53 +0100
From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk>
Subject: new media studies?

This is more than anything else an attempt to provoke views on the
relationship of what's been called "new media studies" to the rest of what
we do in the humanities.

A few of you will know that at the recent ACH/ALLC conference in Virginia
quite a bit of attention was paid to New Media Studies, e.g. in the panels
chaired by Matt Kirschenbaum (session 3B) and by Allen Renear (session 8A),
for which see <http://www.iath.virginia.edu/ach-allc.99/schedule.html>.
Both of these raised very interesting questions, particularly for me in
light of our professional meditations on humanities computing and on the
nature of the data-types with which we are involved. See, for example,
session 4C, the panel that once again raised the question, "What is text?"
(Given this intellectual activity, who is involved in it and what they've
stirred up in discussion, I am frankly amazed that anyone doubts we have,
as Blake said, the end of a golden string in our hands, waiting to be wound
up. But that's another question for another time.)

The so-called "new media" will not, of course, remain new for very long;
similarly I find the term "multimedia" already to have the smell of
mortality about it. As a good friend of mine keeps pointing out to me,
multimedia is in some if not many fields already the norm. For that matter,
the interface I am using as I type this note is a multimedia interface, and
would even make sounds at me if I had my speakers turned on. But of course
when we use this term we're referring to entities (such as the one to which
we are alerted in the following message) in which the media other than the
textual one are in the foreground. The Saul Bass page *stands out*, I view
it as remarkable not just because of the obvious skill of the design and
execution but also, perhaps even primarily, because it stretches the media,
which I expect will rapidly grow in the direction stretched, and so it will
no longer have the particular distinction of being unusual.

What I seem to be wandering toward is the question of what is emerging
from New Media Studies of a longer-term interest than the newness of it
all. This is parallel to the question I keep raising and trying to answer:
what of longer-term interest is arising out of computing the humanities?
Surfers define themselves by involvement with what is never the same. Is
there a meta-activity or blundle of them in New Media Studies? Or to put
the question in a different way, is a stable methodology arising out of the
field, and if so, what does it look like? What does it have to teach us in
the humanities?


Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 09:29:23 +0100
From: Stephanie Stauffer <stephanie@cal.org>
Subject: online multimedia application

For an effective online use of multimedia see



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