Michael Wojcik on Fri, 23 Jan 2009 21:09:01 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> Digital Humanities Manifesto

Florian Cramer wrote:

> This is a straightforward paraphrase of McLuhan's "end of the
> Gutenberg Galaxy", with the only catch that McLuhan referred to
> analog media - film, radio, television. So it seems as if the authors
> thoroughly confuse "electronic" and "paper" with "digital" and
> "analog". But, technically seen, the movable type printing press is
> not an analog, but a digital system in that all writing into discrete,
> countable [and thus computable] units.

By the same token, traditional projected film is a digital system,
since it's quantized into still images (frames), generally with a
sampling rate around 60 samples/second. Individual frames in
chemical-photography film may be analog, but the medium is in essence
a digital one.

And there's nothing necessarily analog about film, radio, or
television, all of which have full-digital variants in use today.

The digital/analog distinction is useful in some technical realms (eg
data communications engineering), and sometimes as a term of
convenience, but it has no real utility in a general description of a

I won't comment on your other points, except to say that I broadly
agree with them. I could name a number of conference presentations
I've seen in the past year that make the errors you point to, such as
the reliance on bogus folk histories of "new media".

Michael Wojcik
Micro Focus
Rhetoric & Writing, Michigan State University

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