Lecture 6 Jan. 26.docx

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St. Michael's College Courses
Francesco Guardiani

SMC219 Xerox – pg. 31-40 Misguided notion of determinism- to forecast as part of human nature as a continuum… one will tell you exactly what you will get, where your actions will lead, another will be cyclical Frye: “There is nothing new under the sun” – Shakespeare “To everything there is a season” = as we renew own life, we find something totally new- cyclical event = media Media lead us to anticipate/ forecast… just part of human nature – in continuum we cannot forecast. Anticipation is never as perfect as we expected it to be History of Mass Media - How the most ancient mass medium – language – is recorded? - Collective language – when turns into written is in need of other mass media - *Form becomes the substance of media - Spoken word- first technology- the difference between an object and its description - Object: something that exists because created by humans, object is humanized the moment it is described/ framed in some form! - Relationship between object and form is the same one that recurs each time a medium is used, medium is something that translates the object, gives another dimension - Media as translator – means the medium is a translator into a human reality – the object, piece of wood, is just a piece of wood… the moment the wood becomes the basis of a living room table, the wood is translated into a human reality - Function of medium is to manifest or make explicit human spirit - We have identified these 2 realities – big players: nature and art - Nature is by itself barren with no contact, moment touched= human nature - Art- short form for artificial/artefact –means man made - Everything is art, conscious experience *Test The Notion of Recording- How do we apply art? Artistic recordings of spoken word? Pg. 32- recordings/support - Wax tablet support, Latin literature, love poets, first great lyric poets o Stylus- little stick – wax can be like a page – stylus writes on wax o Recording writing on tablet o When message conveyed, receiver responds o For short, affectionate messages that take the form of lyric poetry - Clay tablets o Cuneiform o Alphabets – stylized pictographs o Mesopotamia - Stone/ Bronze (carved/cast) o Write something solid, important, something you want to stay there for centuries o Represent rules of a civilization o The writing at the entrance of Hell- Dante o Writing on support – the support changes according to content or content changes accordingly - Something more practical? - Parchment o Easy to support, practical o More appropriate and portable o A support that can be scarce o Made of animal skin thus could be scarce o The surface on which something has been written o Surface of parchment can be erased via scraping o Palimpsests - Papyrus scrolls o Fears fire and humidity o Made from plant o Great advantage: easy to handle, to link to other pieces of papyrus, easily rolled into scrolls Transportation of information- movement of information – needs to be understood clearly as depending on the support. 1820- Prior there was no faster way to communicate at a distance than the horse Telegraph to today Which media fits best in a society that has long distance- Papyrus – good for long distance communication, Roman Empire… communication was key, directly linked to the speed at which the information could go (from periphery to centre) – from need to communicate = papyrus could bridge gap Hierarchical system – everyone has a role within the organization Most common use of papyrus = administrative – commonly used until papyrus became scarce Two episodes linked to scarcity of papyrus – 1. Decline and fall of the Roman Empire 2. More independent empires Scarcity created need for another medium = Parchment- first used around second century BC - Parchment (pg.37) o Substitute for papyrus- but expensive o Consisted in the skin of an animal - softened o Vellum: refers specifically to the skin of a young cow, a type of parchment o Common support for manuscript books: books written by hand - Know how books were made (manuscripts) - The scarcity of papyrus, due to collapse of Roman Empire, parchment become popular (time of Chr
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