Taxonomies and Systems in the Text
To some extent it's unjust to call the systems which Manovich carefully develops "taxonomies,"
though they do resemble some of the collections of devices which are often considered the backbone
of rhetoric. Note that Manovich doesn't propose that his collections are exhaustive, or the only way
to schematize the languages of new media; his work offers one solution from many possible.
The text's structure mirrors the taxonomies Manovich proposes. Beside the five
principles of new media described in the introduction and summarized in this review, the broadest
category is the division of conceptualizing new media into four areas: interface, operations,
illusions, and forms. These four categories are the bulk of chapters two, three, four, and five,
Manovich argues that working through the language of new media in this manner mirrors the
organization of computer software: he moves from "low level" forms, like binary code, to "high
level" ones, like sophisticated computer languages designed to be easily readable by humans. As the
book moves on, the "whole new media object" is built from the parts Manovich investigates in turn.
|What is New Media?
||Establish a framework for investigating new media objects, clarifying the properties which
distinguish them from "old media," and correcting some common mistakes in theorizing new
||Investigate the objects which facilitate interaction between humans and computers, and
establish the notion of the "cultural interface," the complex of culture and computing technology,
and the role the screen plays in both cinema and new media
||Describe the ways new media objects are manipulated, especially the key notion of compositing,
and the importance of selection, creating new media objects by choosing from assembling
||Comparing the dominant style of cinema (photorealism) with the styles emerging in digital
images (on the level of images themselves and the software required to create them)
||Investigate new media objects as a whole; the rhetorics and conventions used to assemble and
organize entire works in new media, especially the tension between organization by narrative and
the emergent forms of the database and navigable (virtual) space