Earthbeat/The Digital Dialectic

The Digital Dialectic

The mind and the memory is the essence of the media, and how we retain information is how we see, feel, and think at the end. We as human beings are constantly adapting to new media whether it is from print to e-books, phones to cell-phones, and sometimes even replacing humans with robots. New Media is constantly changing for us human beings to adapt. Whether we like it or not we are forced to use it, in the beginning we may dislike it, but then eventually it becomes a norm of our daily lives.

In The Digital Dialectic: New Essays on New Media by Lunenfeld, Peter, Publisher MIT Press, February 2000, the author talks about constant rise of new media. I found it interesting that Peter Lunenfeld talks about how “The Medium is the Memory”. A medium is only as interesting as the message it sends, so everything depends on the message. He determines how different cultures use media to create a memory system. That means that, if I look back at my childhood and think of everything that I was around, all the cultural values, religious believes, songs, TV shows, movies, they influenced, and shaped my believes. That is how I look at the world around me. Not only me, but everyone else who was influenced by medium as the memory. The 1964 book, Understanding Media: Extensions of Man, McLuhan is insisting that the content of communication is determined by the way it is sent. The medium is not the intension of the sender. The medium is the message. So, then we can say that the memory is the message that we keep forever. To me this memory is precious, if we lose it we lose everything. As Designers, and Artists, we constantly use media to create art, design a new logo or designing a new web site. Whether you are an experienced user or a novice, you know that certain structures work in “New Media” and certain other don’t. Like for example using Photoshop to design a two page newsletter is not user friendly, instead you should use InDesign. InDesign was designed to be a program that specialized in page layout. As designers we are constantly deciding how and why certain features functions. When we design a website, our task is first to find out how the buttons function before we design the buttons in the first place.

The essays define what is actually new about media, at the same time it situates them in their historical, and technological contexts. The author talks about how the new media’s culture is still at a point, when if you call something new, it has to have a substantiating name that our memory can retain. So, attention to memory is very important. Time is also important aspect when it comes to new media. Time exists in the present, the past, and the future. We as users of the new media define the future of the next generation. We all have an electronic extension of our selves, it has become a necessary norm in the new media. On example of this is our cell phones, we carry it with us everywhere, we even use it to find a location, as a GPS. Because of the new media, we have become dependent on electronic extensions. Do you ever wonder what it would be like if we lose all the data in our cell phones, computers, due to an outage? As a society we would be handicapped. We depend so much on these electronic extensions that we would not know what to do. I remember when I used to wait for the daily newspaper every morning, that’s no longer the case, new media is forcing us to get the news from the internet, twitter, and social networking. As users of the new media we must learn to adapt to changing technologies even if it is not the same thing as picking up your newspaper and reading it. Some of us still miss the joy of reading a newspaper. As old Media’s such as the newspapers fades away we also see books turning into e-books. We can link to e-books through the websites, as it is stated in Lunenfeld’s book how easy it is to connect to a hyperlink. The ability to link documents makes them “open-ended”, almost like Velcro-text when one thing connects to another. This also effects the creative and critical writing in the new media. So, what is digital cinema? As defined in the essay it is when film becomes digital. The impact of electronic imaging shifts from photographic images to animating motion. The author describes it as “what was once supplemental to cinema becomes norm, and what was once boundaries comes into the center.” Digital cinema redefined a new identity of cinema. In Hollywood digitization of cinema now refers movies as “flatties”, and human actors as “organics”. We as the audience can embrace this new media with excitement or we can ignore it, but ignoring it will become difficult as it becomes an everyday part of our life. Only time will tell the essence of new media as it imitates memory in our minds.

The Earth Beat’s radio podcast

Theme: Saying Goodbye

The theme focuses on sharing stories of a life that is suddenly ending and saying goodbye in a beautiful manner in which one would never think of. In the beginning I did not understand why they were saying goodbye to everything and everyone? After watching it several times I finally connected this to the medium. We as human beings are constantly embracing the new medium and ending our old life, aren’t we? As so, stories and life experiences are ending, only to enter the new medium. The elements of the podcast like the house that was soon to be demolished is really a symbol of a family, a community, a society. The new medium is the new life we as humans embrace with dignity and excitement, because our experiences in this medium teaches us to live in the new medium.

Studio 360 American Icons: I Love Lucy

I love Lucy was a model of a hit sitcom. I remember when I used to watch it with my family almost every day. It was the best part of a family get together. I love Lucy came out of a Radio show called “Hollywood byline. This is when American T.V. became American T.V. as some would say “This show invented television.” In 1950 probably the last moment anybody could mention the viability of television. This was the first time when interracial couples were shown on television. At that time period you did not see interracial couples, so in a way the show opened a pathway to a new generation that we see today in our communities and workplaces. In the words of the famous star “Lucy Ball” I do hope that they get it on film or something, so that it does not take up too much time.” Media was reviving and changing even during the 1950’s.

Invasion of the Mind Snatchers

Author Eric Burns discusses the rise of television and the social context that came from it. At that time T.V. inventors worried that they created a monster. It is interesting how the birth of television was marked my conflict. Today, as we know every subject in the media is related to conflict, a controversy. One such example is “The Benetton Group”. Radio vs. T.V. When people heard something on the radio, it got suspended after they saw it on T.V. This was the evolution of the relationship of T.V. and radio. As the audience, we can see that this was a form of medium used by the media to influence the audience.

Your Brain on New Media

New Media, its direction, and its evolving role in how we interact as a society. It all goes back to the medium as its source. We as human beings can embrace it or ignore it.


Week Seven Hybrid Module

1.) Introduction to Alan Gilchrist’s seeing Black and white.

  • I found the reading very interesting how seeing has not yet been explained by science. This reading made my curiosity rise to a level that makes me want to know more and more.  As we are created by God machines us created by us humans, and perhaps it was is purpose or lack of knowledge that humans made computers the way they did that they cannot exactly identify the color of objects in a picture. So many times, as a designer, I tried to match the color a customer wanted but could not match it because the machine was incapable of producing it. It became very frustrating, but then again it’s because us humans are either lacking the knowledge or skills we have not acquired yet.
  • I never knew what a relevant physical dimension was, now I do, it is called “reflectance.”  The percentage of light reflected is also called “reflectance”. White surfaces reflect only 90% of light they receive, but black surfaces reflect only 3%. If you put a white surface next to a black surface the white surface will reflect 30 times as much light into the eye then the black. That is because the retina of our eye contains a surface called photoreceptors known as rods and cones. I remember reading about photoreceptors in phycology. If these receptors in our eyes are creating signals in proportion to the light striking them, then perhaps, we have to dig deeper to solve the problem.
  • I was very much interested in the reference to time and space, and at the end we find out that “if the white paper lies within a shadow that falls across the tabletop, it can easily reflect the same absolute amount of light as black paper lying outside the shadow”.  At the very end sentence we find out that the light reflected from the white paper is the same as the light reflected from the black paper.
  • To me our human eye was the model, when they first created the camera. The camera almost mimics the human eye.
    • I am very much enlightened and I appreciate the knowledge I gained from reading this article.
  • 2.)  Review Edward Adelson’s Checkered Square Illusion.


  • Perhaps this is the way a computer’s eye can see values of gray.  Just like using a mask when working with Photoshop or even when doing an airbrush project using friskit, is the same idea the author is talking about. I would like to try out the experiment in person to really understand the process.  “By viewing patches of the squares without the surrounding context, you can remove the effect of the illusion”.
  • So, why does the illusion work? To me after reading this it is because the visual system needs to determine the color of objects in this world. The problem was that just measuring the light from a surface that illuminates is not enough; the cast shadow will dim the surface. The visual system plays a trick on us. There are two different types of trick. The first trick is based on the contrast. The second trick is based on the fact is that the shadow often has soft edges.
  • It really is all in our perception. How the human eye perceives information and relates it to the brain is how we understand it. What I learned is that the important task is to break the image into physical components to really see what the meaning of the objects when we look at them.

3.) Beau Lotto’s TED talk: Optical Illusions Show How We See

Color enables us to see the world.  If we could only see the world in black and white it would be so different. Many times the context is translated by others, and how we see the world depends on our understanding of the context. The light that falls into our eyes is translated into information through our sensory. It is up to us what we do with that information, and how we feel about it. We as humans react according to the information we receive. How interesting to see the two dessert scenes were completely the same, only difference was that the right side was under red illumination and the left was under green light.

4.) Brief motion graphic presentation of Semiotics: The Study of Signs

There are three types of signs: Icon, Index, and Symbol. The purpose is to understand that modern semiotics is mainly made up of the difference between Peirce and Saussure. My favorite part is how it explains why consciousness in humans is unique. And perhaps it is because we as humans are unique.

5.) Chapter 1, Chapter 3 and review the diagrams from Chapter 4 (page 54, 57 and 65 from Routledge Critical Dictionary of Semiotics and Linguistics. Chapter 2 is optional reading.

This was very interesting, it reminds me of the story of a prophet who was stuck inside the whale, and could not get out, and then he started hearing the animals talk. He could actually hear the animals talk. How interesting that this chapter talks about how with the exception of us humans all living organisms communicate only by nonverbal means. Then how could the prophet hear the animals in the ocean talk?

6.) Review online Pod/Video cast called Lemon Slices and a New Face on Mars.

Gestalt Principles of perception. Why do we see the things we see? And why does our minds play a trick on us when we look at things that are similar like a flounder in the sand that almost matches with the sand and you can’t tell the difference. Or when we look at a checkered board our mind goes around like a marry-go-around.

7.) Nova: How Smart are Animals

I was so moved, and intrigued after watching this, I never thought about dogs, and how smart they can be. My great inspiration out of this was that “If we can figure out how dogs think, then we’ll figure out ourselves.”

I was amazed by Chaser!