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Reflection: The Language of New Media

Lev Manovich: The Language of New Media

In new media design, especially in database narrative, is where we see the two different forms of computer culture or habits – one used for information processing and collection, while the other for leisure and fun e.g. games – work together to provide a new online experience. This is typically done with the content of the narrative coming from the former, while the immersive interactivity done with the latter. This is mentioned by Lev Manovich, and is definitely something I agree with. In this new age of information, just presenting your data across in an aesthetically pleasing or easy to digest manner is not enough. In order to engage the user enough for them to fully understand and take away what you want them to, different levels of engagement are required. Levels that can be found in games like – working to complete an end goal, collecting monetary rewards along the way or maintaining your health levels.

What I found most interesting about this passage is the mention that the computer culture compared to traditional cultures have a disparity in how much more information is present, against the lack of narratives to link them all together. I believe narrative is an important part of the way we retain and retell information about culture and history as well as consumption of information. Even though the term ‘narrative’ has been specifically defined by literary theorist Mieke Bal to have actors, narrators, and its series of events to be experienced by the actors amongst other criterias, packaging information into ‘narrative’ to me is like the act of advertising – where the otherwise mundane product is placed in an engaging and appropriate context to bring out its features. This is where audiences subconsciously see the messages the advertisers intend (durable product, comfortable grip etc) by using an over-exaggerated or relatable situation where the product is used to subtly demonstrate its features in a telling manner.