The Durable, the Portable, and the Processible

Heilmann, Till. (2009) The Durable, the Portable, and the Processible. [S.l.].

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A5252625

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Storage, transmission, and processing are considered the three basic functions of media. The various techniques fulfilling these functions throughout history constitute the field of media studies. Media studies emerged as a distinct scientific discipline after the Second World War, when Canadian economist Harold A. Innis set out to examine the role that storage and transmission of knowledge played in the rise and fall of empires from ancient Egypt to the British colonial empire. Marshall McLuhan continued Innis' work and adapted some of his central concepts to the study of new media like radio and television. Over the last quarter century the personal computer and the Internet have brought about a change in the landscape of media comparable only to the historical shifts caused by writing, the printing press and electronic mass media. Correspondingly, scholars such as Friedrich Kittler, Lev Manovich, Katherine Hayles, Jay D. Bolter, and Matthew G. Kirschenbaum have tried to assess the techno-logic and cultural significance of digital media and processing. Most contemporary theoretical approaches to digital media can be understood as an attempt to historicize and systematize the relation between storage, transmission, and processing. Underlying this trinity, however, are notions of orality and literacy that may apply to the description of the durable and the portable but fail to illustrate the new features of cultural forms in the digital age. Starting with Innis and McLuhan, then proceeding to Kittler, Manovich, and Kirschenbaum, the paper discusses the concept of processing with regard to the mediality, materiality, and dimensionality of the three basic functions of media and supplements the durable and the portable with the processible.
Faculties and Departments:04 Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Departement Künste, Medien, Philosophie > Fachbereich Medienwissenschaft
04 Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Departement Künste, Medien, Philosophie > Ehemalige Einheiten Philosophie und Medienwissenschaft > Medienwissenschaft (Tholen)
UniBasel Contributors:Heilmann, Till A.
Item Type:Working Paper
Publisher:Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Discussion paper / Internet publication
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Last Modified:22 Mar 2012 14:31
Deposited On:22 Mar 2012 14:18

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