After reading Alan Liu’s Imagining the New Media Encounter once more and taking notes I feel I can offer my thoughts. Firstly I do think it is hard to summarise because it is such a dense piece which poses many deep questions.
However, the main points which stand out for me combine different strands, intertextually combined. Liu is suggesting that we are seeing ourselves within the new media which is the new medium for the ‘other’; a reflection of ourselves and society.
I enjoyed his overview of the encounter which I take to mean the meeting of two mediums, the transition from one to the next. So if we take the transition between the physical book and the kindle version as an example we get an understanding of the evolution which needs to take place in order to shift from the book to the kindle, the parts we will miss, the parts we will gain..
I found Lui’s idea is that the transition which occurs here, in all its complexity, unpredicatability and personal as well as social aspects revert back to the individuals involvement. The observing of ourselves as a component within the interaction is in my understanding a fundamental concept of great importance. As well as being a part of the interaction with the different mediums, the mediums are also extensions of oursleves.
The decentralisation of digital media which makes information and education accessible to all who have interenet access and the democratising potential this has is where his main argument lies. This quite possibly be the tool which destabilises capitalism, as there is no central steering means of control. However, precisely due to this fact, we cannot predict where digital media is going to take us.
Lui goes on to comment about the ecology of the medium in that it is in a process of neverending evolution and change of which everyone who wishes to be, is apart of. But who says what can be posted on the web and how is this regulated..?
I was listening on Thursday morning to a relevant piece (on the wireless…Radio 1) with Joe Duffy interviewing journalists from within Ireland and also from America (I think it was California). It was clear how they are using social media as a means of obtaining news stories and communicating with the world; quick information, easily and readily accessible.. Then you had the opposing die hard traditionalist who vouched for buying the paper and sitting back with a cup of coffee to feel it, read it and absorb the experience of it. I have to say, I headed straight for the coffee shop…