To most people in today’s society, new media is considered to be technologically based. We see it as the Internet, web sites, computer multimedia, computer games, CD-ROMs and DVDs, virtual reality, etc. Manovich describes the history that new media took to get where it is now. Media now does have more of a technology base because it is more digitized. It is not more focused on distribution and exhibition as opposed to production. Old media was more focused on the production of the media itself; media now is more digitally focused and computerized. What began as a cultural based expression is now moving into a computerized revolution.
Numerical Representation: all media is compromised from a digital code; they are numeric representations
Modularity: the “fractal structure of new media.” Media elements (images, sounds, shapes, or behaviors) are represented as discrete samples (pixels, polygons, voxels, characters, script). They combine into larger-scale objects while maintaining their independence at the same time.
Automation: The numerical coding of media and the modular structure of a media object allow for automation of many operations involved in media creation, manipulation, and access.
Variability: A new media is not something that is fixed once and for all, but something that can exist in different, potentially infinite versions.
Transcoding: there are two layers – the “cultural layer” (encyclopedia and the short story, short story and plot, composition and point of view, mimesis and catharsis, comedy and tragedy) and “computerized layer” (process and packet, sorting and matching, function and variable, and computer language and date structure)
Manovich makes a lot of connections between old and media throughout this article. Simply put, there would be no new media if it wasn’t for old media being established before. It went from simple texts, photographs, and illustrations to computer-automated programs, video games, virtual reality, and 3-D animation. Old media is more production based. New media is more independent.
Manovich, Lev: The Language of New Media. MIT Press: Cambridge, Massachusetts / London, England 2001.