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Posts Tagged ‘Lev Manovich’

Image By Hugh McCabe (2017)

In this post I consider the Introduction and first chapter of Lev Manovich’s influential 2001 book, The Language Of New Media 1. Manovich’s book is a comprehensive and wide-ranging attempt to provide what he calls a “theory of the present”: an analysis of new media as it emerges in the late 20th Century. Future posts will look at subsequent chapters of the book.

The Language Of New Media covers a lot of ground over the course of its six chapters but perhaps the most concise insight into where Manovich is coming from can be gleaned by means of an autobiographical anecdote he relates at the very start. Manovich studied computer science in Moscow in the mid-70s and he recalls how neither himself nor any of his classmates had access to computers in order to test the programs that they were learning to write. Everything was done on paper, as opposed to inputted into a machine, and the experienced professors would evaluate the work of students by mentally executing the hand-written programs that were submitted to them.

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