Lecture 3 Jan 17.docx

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St. Michael's College Courses
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Francesco Guardiani

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SMC219- Monday January 17, 2010 Xerox pg. 12-18 - Media as living organism* - biological metaphor – living as an offshoot or springs out of human creativity, manmade - The medium as a creation - Anything man made or created by us to enhance our comprehension of the world - This medium is a human artefact- all synonyms - Human creations or artefacts are necessary expressions of our own identity - To be human, we create - We create as an expression of our own identity- anthropological example - Northrop Frye – 800 articles, 28 books- his last 2 books speak of some kind of reduction – similar to McLuhan – distinction between primary and secondary concerns o Primary concern- biggest concern- the need of humans to create, “the concern of concerns”- necessity/obligation for human to express self via creation – expressed by the urge to live them, the need to eat, to have water, freedom of movement “the need” o Wherever you find humans, you find work- work is an expression of this inner human creativity o Humanity has built self upon this creation o Secondary concerns- response to what we think we need, the correspondence of humans to ideologies. Ex: “I am a Marxist, Christian etc.” – by assuming you are something you impose- but this is secondary to you being a human-being. It is an assumption. - These concerns help us explain media – something that is a necessity/fundamental urge of human creation - We create media as a response to a need/identity - There are at least 2 kinds of media - 1. Physical/tangible dimension/ can be measured - 2. Intellectual nature Once media created- it is there forever The medium is a product of a person and a group which is where it becomes a mass used for convenience and survival The most common of mass media is the language. Language is not created by one human being, it is a means of communication thus you need two individuals. Via trial and error – modifying sounds- collective creation, used by a mass = mass media Media is made up of a series of archetypes found in literature – a tragedy – form, human creation and as such used by a certain number of people To distinguish between the two fundamental media – the ones practical and tangible (ex. Book or chair) vs. intellectual literary form like a sonnet Cicero De officiis means all the concerns of the people (pg. 13) wrote about what is useful for humans/ what do humans have a concern for? They are concerned with what is useful / provides food etc. - response to a physical need is that which is “useful” - The word “honest” today means something else today but for Cicero it is something which is beautiful in itself, no practical function, not useful for anything. – envision something o Remains in literature for centuries o 1265-1321 Dante Alighieri – founded foundation of Western literature (MLA – first author) speaks of honesty, and the beauty of Beatrice who was to bring him to paradise, she was so special with a kind appearance- this honesty was associated with kindness- it is a beauty with no function o Boccaccio born in 1313-1375 – wrote in pros, Decameron book of 10 days spent by 10 young people, called the “honest brigade” – honest used to describe a group of people spending time outside of city waiting for time to pass, leisure time they tell each other stories of beauty or something that enhances = vs. honest Beatrice acc. To Dante o Persistence of this honesty is that this particular concept is exactly what the intellectual medium is made of – made of something that does not have practical function and puts humans at a level in which in their own identity is the highest. - Clarified what medium is made of – practical physical vs. untouchable noble in human creation intellectual Pg. 15 “The Essential 4 elements in the life of a medium” or “The Laws of Media” – last book produced by McLuhan 1988 published by son Eric which was made up of the last material Marshal McLuhan worked on before he died – scientifically considered to be the way media must act in order to be recognized as media in general 4 Laws – possibilities of defining media 1. Retrieval - A start but also says we are not starting from nothing - To be a creation – something coming from nothing- and yet we have the retrieval which tells us something has an origin. So the retrieval is not a transformation but an imagined base of an idea - Original ideas archetypes- in our own imagination - Most obvious retrieval example- the fashion industry “revival or retrieval of 90s or 80s or revival of certain spectacle – those are the retrievals or recreations in the fashion industry - Ex. Shapes of automobiles- retrieval of Chrysler PT-cruiser 2. Enhancement 3. Obsolescence - These go together - Enhancement means a new medium is constantly enhancing something. At the end of the day when we create something new create it to advance in a certain direction, go faster, better, enhance sight, temperature etc. - To enhance our understanding of facts we create encyclopaedia’s - When we enhance something, the less visible is the obsolescence of something else… we also
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