The News Media Reader

Individual reading and reflection on recommended essays in new media art theory relating to narrative aspects.

Article chosen: The News Media Reader, Chapter 2 “As we may think” by Vannevar Bush 

The article that I have read on is Chapter 2 of The News Media Reader.  Despite how it is written in 1945, some of the idealizations or concepts he explained is of relevance even up to this day. From using science to build devices that can help humankind and improve our overall sense of well being, to using alternative strategies which do not involve destruction of property or nations, what is being explained is significant in some aspects of the technological age we live in today. The reason being his creation of memex  – a device that allows a user to access information or reading materials in a quick fashion; bears resemblance to the usage of the internet function – the hyperlink. A memex is like a machine that allows an individual to retrieve reading materials that is stored, and the user can access it directly in quick speed.

In the form of table, this allows the person to run through specific information that need in an efficient manner, and the function that come from the machine such as pressing index code buttons to access a specific book and using lever to “flip” pages, bears resemblance to the use of hyperlink – where we normally click on a link to access information related to the title we see.  And it seems to me that Bush’s idea had an influence on the internet pioneers, which include Ted Nelson (American Pioneer of Information and Technology), J.C.R. Licklider(created the idea of the universal network,eventually the Internet) and Douglas Engelbart (created the computer mouse) , credited Bush for his ideas and concepts shared in the book. At the same time, World Wide Web came to rise in a period where Vannevar Bush was not around, so it may not be accurate to describe Bush as an Internet Pioneer, although undeniably his works made a mark in scientists and inventors in later years.

In summary, through his writings, and in a period where war was present, he seems to show disapproval with the idea of using destructive forces to “win”, instead his focus seems to be on developing inventions that can improve well being of the people around him. By mentioning some of the works such as voder and memex, it also seems to me that ideas that are man-made should be given credit when its due and that it needs to be more recognized in order to for scientific advancements to progress and improve the well being of people as a whole.  

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( My apologies I know my word count exceeds the expected, but my essays are always long winded)

Minimalism Museum: Mona Hatoum’s Impenetrable


During my visit to Minimalism Museum, one artwork that I found interesting was Mona Hatoum’s “Impenetrable”. Based on the artist description, this work was meant to be an alternative version of another work by Jesus Soto called Penetrable (1967-97).  Her colourful works are inviting for people and they get to interact fully with the installation.

Based on the title itself, we can already assume Mona’s take on her work is a different one – one that’s represented by something more sinister and less “playful”. The medium used appears to be “black-finished steel and fishing wire”, and from afar it does give off the look of a cube floating in the air. The installation may appear inviting from afar, but once you come closer to it, the black wired ‘knots’ look are sharp edges. During my visit there, the visitors didn’t seem too eager to enter the “cube” or play around with the barbed- wires, which is so different from the installations we see by Jesus Soto below. 

Assignment 1: Narratives for interaction

Interactive narratives include both video games and interactive installations. The use of storytelling is shown in this interactive installation here. In this example, it shows how the observer is able to see and and listen to what each person or commuter in this train is thinking of.  As a train commuter myself, it is important to note that the only perception that I am able to fully understand is my own – not others around me or of other commuters when I am in a train. At the same time, by observing others’ on the outside doesn’t give a very accurate representation of how they are going through inside.

I think this installation allows us to be more perceptive, and to pay more attention to the details of what he/she is saying. And there’s also that element of control that participant/observer has over what he/she sees and here and with the use of the that “controller”. It resembles to that of a controller

I thought it was interesting how to creator makes use of the 3 senses – our sight (a moving train with outlines of people) , sense of hearing (headphones) and touch (train controller) in order to make the experience more immersive for the participants.