For our first blog, we are discussing the subject of visual media, as a main field of our work and a place we often find ourselves doubting and thinking.
“Visual Media” is a main expression that describes media known to us such as television, film, photography, picture, and so on and is quite wide and undefined completely. When analyzing these so-called Visual Media, it comes to the conclusion that they include more than just one sense. We believe that you can agree with us that all media, from the point of view of sensory influence, are “mixed media”. So from here there are two questions that we often discuss:
(1) Why are we trying to talk about some media as exclusively visual? Is it because of the visual dominance? And if so, how is this dominance defined? Is it a quantitative inclusion, more visual information, than hearing and touch?
(2) Why is it important to call these media “visual”?
We may find the answers of those questions in the well known theories for visual media by the famous Canadian professor and philosopher Marshall McLuhan. In one of his books Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man he wrote:
“While the new media is interactive, in the old media the order of presentation is permanent. In this process the user can now control the media object. In the interaction process, the user selects which elements to display or which paths to follow, thereby creating a single content. In this way, we become co-authors of the work”
We can analyze this subject through two pillars, the senses that affect our sensory and the inevitable development of technology.
Regarding the senses and the media, the famous theoretician Marshall McLuhan made an insight into this point when he argues that “different rates” are for different media. McLuhan was happy to use terms such as “visual” and “tactile media”, but surprisingly is his claim that a television that usually applies to a paradigmatic visual medium is actually a tactile medium: “The television picture …. is a continuation of touch” in contrast, the printed word, according to McLuhan’s views, was closest to a purely visual medium. In a wider framework, McLuhan’s theses did not have the goal to identify certain media with isolated, specific sensory channels, but to assess certain mixtures in certain media. Although McLuhan calls the media an extended arm of the sensory, it is important to emphasize that he also considers these sequences at the same time as “amputations” and continuously highlights the dynamics and interactivity of the mediator sensor. His well-known thought that electricity allows continuation (amputation) of the “sensory nervous system” is an argument for the wider version of Aristotle’s concept of “unified sense”, a coordinated “community” of sensation in an individual or spectacle.
We guess that now you are confused too, but we hope you are asking the same questions as us. From here we can see why the specificity of the media is a much more complex problem than specific sensory labels such as “visual”, “sound” and “tactile” and is a matter of specific sensory rates embedded in practice, experience, tradition and technological inventions. We need to be aware that the media are not just the expansion of the senses, the calibration of sensory rates, but they also represent semiotic operators.
The claim that there are no visual media is just opening a gambit that will lead us to a new concept of media taxonomy that will leave the concretized stereotypes of “visual” or “verbal” media and will produce a more diverse and diverse type of media-new medium.
The development of modern technologies in a dramatically fast unpredictable time and the introduction of a new dimension in human life makes us a generation of change and changes the general picture of the real world around us. Considering the high speed in which the technology is developing, the question arises whether New Media is standing up against the Visual Media or they are just a modern phase in their long-standing development and progress. Today, there is no sharp border between reality and illusion, there is no limit to what modern technology can capture and display. All these changes in addition to technological development are due to the experience that the generations had before us.
Imagine a world in which there is only one TV Show to watch and during its transmission all attention is focused on a small black box that broadcasts simple frames and animations. This idea was not so long ago a reality and it was quite satisfactory for the perceptions of the recipients.
We are now witnessing new media that converts visual information into a new dimension of sensory feels and experiences, continually moving the border of technologically feasible, something that is very close to the point of McLuhan theories half century ago.
According to this, what do you think about the new interactive Netflix series ‘Black Mirror: Bandersnatch’, is it a bop or a flop? So the question is, how can we label it? New Media or Visual Media?
Please feel free to write your points of view in the section below.
Till the next time, squareONE.