Based on Lev Manovich, there are five principles of New Media: numerical representation, modularity, automation, variability, and transcoding. Now I will talk about how they can be applied to my group’s project, the Door.
Basically, a principle of new media that distinguish it from old media is that new media is programmable. New media objects are essentially composed from digital code, and hence can be manipulated via algorithms. In my group’s project, the numerical representation comes from the codes that are embedded into photoresistors. We set a certain numerical value based on the level of brightness that is required to “trigger” the photoresistors, which will result in recordings being played.
Modularity reflects the presence of separate elements or parts, which can be modified or used independently, that create a whole new media object. In my group’s project, I think it can be seen from the separate recordings that we are going to play; we can edit the contents of the recordings without affecting the main code, for example. Moreover, in the code that we made, there are also separate elements—for example, we can edit the timing delays or the brightness trigger for one photoresistor without affecting the other photoresistors.
Automation involves the computer programme to produce a response using template or algorithms by itself, without direct human interference. An example is web-based search engine. For my group’s project, I think there’s not much automated response as an audience has to come and trigger the photoresistors; in a sense, interaction from audience is constantly required for something to happen.
Another principle that differentiates new from old media is variability, which means something that is not fixed or possibilities that can be explored. In a sense, I think my group’s project doesn’t possess a great variability; the final outcome is fixed, no matter how many times an audience interacts with it, or who interacts with it. We do give the audience the flexibility of interpreting the story itself before revealing the actual story, but the storyline is more or less fixed which doesn’t allow broad interpretations; it’s more of a selection rather than variability, since the possibilities are finite.
Technically, transcoding refers to the translation of an object from one format to another, or from one platform to another. I think it could be related to my project in a sense that the movement of the audience will be “translated” into the recordings that will be played due to the trigger from the audience, but I’m not really sure because it’s not exactly a translation like a change from text to image.
In conclusion, I do think my group’s project possesses some of the principles of new media, but some of them are not very strongly reflected as there are limitations to how much they can be applied to our project.