- What were Marshal McLuhan’s key conceptual theories to understanding electronic media? How have they influenced our present thinking about visual media practices and their impact on society today?
Marshall Macluhan (1911-1980) was a Canadian public intellectual, philosopher and communication theorist. McLuhan’s key conceptual theories to understanding electronic media were that the medium which is the message is an extension of the self (Television enables “far-seeing”, telephone enables “far-hearing”) (Gitelman, 25). He states that this changes the human senses to the extent if human beings being unable to tell what have been displaced. His basic concept is that communication technology shapes human perception and cognition. For instance print made possible the western society characterized by democracy, capitalism, individualism and nationalism (Gitelman, 27). McLuhan’s conceptual theories have caused us to think of visual media as a vital necessity to life-the avenue to information and civilization. Today the visual media shapes the culture (dressing, cooking, religion, cultural and social events), as well as the economic and political scenes.
- What were the major socio- political events/movements in the 1960’s that were impacted by and affected visual media? What were the major technological developments in this period that have influenced media art practices?
The Cold War (Soviet Union Vs US, Space Race, Communism Vs Capitalism, Arms Race), and the rise of the Civil Rights Movements are some major socio-political issues that arose in the 1960s. Others included the Vietnam War and the Counterculture (student movement). In all these, the media industry was steadily growing. Some of the major technological developments in this period include the rise of the television as a common and major mass media means, the rise and use of computers in research institutions and the military (Staiger, & Sabine, 46). The use of the atomic bomb on Japan also triggered the development of movies and TV program on wars, science-fiction films, etc. The rise of the TV in this period saw the rise of a booming film industry in several cities such as Los Angeles, London and New York. There was also the creation of diverse entertainment features such as songs, dramas, sitcoms among others issues that have significantly influenced media art practices.
- Outline key developments in the creation of video art and describe the work and influences of two major video artists.
The development of video art can be largely credited to two men; Nam June Paik & Bill Viola. South Korean June Paik (1932-2006) is considered the founder of video art. He thrived in the late 19th century during which he redefined the broadcast television and transformed video into an artist’s medium. Paik first joined the Neo-Dada art movement called Fluxus. At an exhibition called Exposition of Music-Electronic Television, Paik scattered and reassembled some televisions using magnets to distort their images. In 1964 he met some two engineers who helped him improve the flow of electrons on color TV (Paik, 36). In 1971 he made a cello from 3 TVs. In 1971 he used the term super highway to describe an application in telecommunications. He continued with other development until 1996 when he became a professor in Berlin Germany.
Bill Viola (born in 1953) came up with the Quintet Series to improve the images and sounds in electronic media. he uses aspects of nature and incorporates them into electronic devices he has done some works with the Tristan Project, the Night Journey bodies of light all of which are video art projects to improve the clarity of images and sound in video art.
- Why is 1989 considered a seminal year that has influenced our recent socio/political/cultural history and explore its impact on visual art.
In 1989 several things happened that influenced the recent socio/political/cultural history. First there was a wave of revolutions across the Eastern Bloc which led to the opening of the Berlin wall in November. This also marked the beginning of the integration of the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics. The split occasioned many things as it affected world politics and socio-economic dealings such as the cold war. The split also affected art in that the people tried to express the happenings in different artistic ways. Artists in the former USSR also arose and expressed how they felt about different socio/political/cultural issues (Amos, 56). The advancement in TV and other electronic media had gotten better with the introduction of many color TVs. These events improved the visual art and helped in the passage of information which has recently seen almost the whole world become one capitalistic state.
- Choose a topic from the lectures or class presentations and describe its primary elements and describe why it has particular relevance for you.
The film Ryan is significant in that it presents the events regarding the life of a person in manner that captures the real life events. It also adds visual details such as disembodied appearance, distortion of the characters and the use of psychological realism to show emotions. Since the story regards the unfortunate but self-inflicted issues that Ryan Larkin brought n himself after drugs and alcohol abuse, the message in the film warns against engagement in such behaviors (Landreth). It does so beautifully and emphatically.
Gitelman, Lisa. Always already new media, history and the data of culture. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2006. Print.
Paik, Nam June. Nam June Paik. English language ed. London: Tate, 2010. Print.
Staiger, Janet, and Sabine Hake.Convergence media history. New York: Routledge, 2009. Print.
Ryan. Dir. Chris Landreth. Perf. Ryal Lurkin . Rhino Home Video, 2005. Laser Disc.
Amos Doolittle: Engraver Of The New Republic; An Annotated International Bibliography Of Lewis Carroll’s Sylvie And Bruno Books; Book Trade Connections From The Seventeenth To The Twentieth Centuries; B." The Library Quarterly 79.1 (2009): 157-159. Print.