Posted by: Winslie Gomez | 21/02/2007

Review 2: An Invitation to Think Again: Digital Media Revisited


By Kate Mondloch 

Journal Title: Art Journal. Volume: 63. Issue:2. Year:2004 Page 98+


It would be appropriate to accept that I have neither the right, knowledge nor the authority

to critically review this document; however I must, in order to progress with the Multimedia Communication Level M course (Hemis Number U13218) as before in Review 1.

I register my reluctance or is it fear, of putting my thoughts in this blog.  Because just as I am able, quite easily to make my subjective judgements, so too will the rest of the readership make judgements of me.

Style, Layout, Content

This was a delightful experience of travelling with the writer along a road of discovery with

so much to keep my attention gripped and unravelling a whole new world of authors and

authority for me to turn to.

Borrowing a phrase from television advertising “it does what it says on the tin”.

The quotation from Matt Kirschenbaum, conveys humour and intellect, together with the layout making the page less noisy.  Still prefer additional paragraph spacing, maybe it’s a personal quirk.

The article opens describing borrowed methodologies and immediately I am reminded that there is “nothing new under the sun”

Critical Tools

If we accept that the growth of all learning is growing exponentially then it is only a matter

of time when the tools for critical appraisal become available.  I would have been happier

with an explanation perhaps on how and why the international group of authors came to

agree that “current critical tools for analyzing digital media are inadequate”. I will probably

 regret having said that in twelve months time because at my present stage of development

 that is how it appears to me, entirely subjective, I know.

Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin

“Remediation: Understanding New Media” (MIT Press, 1998)

“….media theory’s pervasive critical focus on ideology presumes centralized control,

exclusionary production, and a passive mode of consumption.”

I may not have grasped the meaning of these words above (in the context of the paragraph), but could not see how anything is ever passive.  Even if there is no interaction there is always an influence, possibly into the deeper subliminal. Passive does not have to be a lack of active thought.

Digital media as superior cannot be accepted because as with all things in life, it is only superior until it is replaced.

Digital Poetics

By Lars Qvortrup 

“To describe the way form is given to aesthetic ideas in both digital art and design”.

 One could hazard a guess and portray a state of flux between many traditional disciplines such as the emergence of 3D graphic designers & architecture or engineering & product development.


The question of ethics in digital communication looks at the work of Roger Silverstone

and Emmanuel Levinas and the question of proper distance.

Multi Sensory Modes of Reception

Needs to be explored in greater depth in order to better understand the recipient and

enable a better line of communication, e.g. in public speaking there is the concept of the

trough syndrome where the sounds uttered by the speaker falls to the floor before it can

reach the audience (metaphorically speaking of course.  Unless there was such a thing as,

wait for it – words detection spray that showed words travelling through space in a particular

light setting).


Similarly “less is more” is favoured by many disciplines.


I am glad I read this article and saved me from having to read 19 essays, but it has

vetted my appetite to explore, if time permits.

Interdisciplinary  merging through digital media is inevitable and should be welcomed, because we humans are a compendium of complexity

Multimedia Communication Level M.                Hemis Number U13218                                               Word Count: 616

Review 2 for assessment.                                         IP of Cam50148                                                             21/02/2007



  1. This is a rather alarming comment which from a teacher’s perspective has a huge implication on what is available in the learning environment. For example, if there is an increase of the availability of media tools then, presumably, these tools require certain amount of learning. The question is, who is exactly facilitating this learning. Teachers nowadays are hard pushed teaching an overloaded curriculum and from experience there are those who require a certain amount of coaxing to learn new technologies.

    As for the “current critical tools for analyzing digital media are inadequate” comment, it will be interesting to see who selects these tools and what criteria will be used to analyse the technology. My prediction at this stage is that the users are more likely to embrace existing products that are marketed widely not necessarily the ‘best’ product to use. However, ‘best’ is so subjective that I doubt it very much if people will ever agree. Although it is rather commendable that they are all even attempting to appraise the products!

  2. Thank you for your contribution, very thought provoking. If I may respond to your second comment first, mainly because your first requires some thought.

    The market decides; very similar to the VHS and Betamax and there are many more examples.

    Democracy, free market and free speech means it’s a bit like Hyde Park. Can you sell your idea and convince the buyer? Perhaps it is all about spin, we could learn a thing or two from Mr Campbell of the present gov’t.

    Have people ever really agreed, all they need is a synopsis to formulate the herd mentality.

    Sheep are common, iconoclasts are rare in history.

  3. I refer to your first comment of Feb 24th, though I am not absolutely sure which alarming comment in the article you refer to. Reading between the lines I assume your concern is the cross curricular nature and exponential growth in all things “techie”. I am of the opinion that the burden of facilitating the learning will fall on the individual’s shoulder, for two simplistic reasons;

    1. The kids on the street are more familiar with the tools available than the teachers simply because it’s a generation thing. Each generation has a greater capacity to absorb new anything as they have no idea of what went before, whereas the previous generation always struggles to keep up.

    2. The makers and designers of both software and hardware are making the applications easier for the non-nerd e.g. civil engineering, architecture, cad-cam and 3D animation are all coming together, so that a person trained in one discipline can very quickly adapt to an other.

    WordPress is a good example, here we are able to use a platform pre-prepared and packaged ready for us to use. The question is will our learning take us to a point when we will be able venture out into the new world of creating our own site?

  4. I refer to the comment “growth of all learning is growing exponentially” which I tried to blockquote using HTML code but as you can see from my last post, didn’t work!

    I like the way you encapsulated learning new technologies into two simple points, namely the generation’s technological know-how apparently evolving and the trasferability of skills. However, it is seldom as easy as that. Unfortunately, I tend to be sceptical in matters of learning because although in the world of utopia, everyone benefits, there will still be those who are left behind.

    Both of us are in postgraduate course, presumably because we are motivated to learn. We only represent a fraction of the world and where exponential learning may be real to us, there many who require a certain degree of training and help.

  5. No matter how i say it, offence is not intended but I will not liquidate my convictions.

    Our reasons for being on this course is subjective and can be as diverse as dung is to diamonds.

    Learning & Education are they the same?

    Did Pink Floyd sing “we don’t need no, learning…”?

    The education sector has a challenge on its hands and does not appear to have a solution, can’t say it wasn’t aware either.

    Slumbering dinosaurs have to evolve or die.

    The policy makers have a responsibility to the next generation and they have no vision.

    The street kids of Brazil have a better grasp of the situation than a level M student in Portsmouth. Internet cafe’s are portals for anyone anywhere to be part of this dynamism.

    Education does not prepare you for life. Life does.

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