MIT 2000 Notes Midterm.docx

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Media, Information and Technoculture
Media, Information and Technoculture 2000F/G

Lecture 1 Memory/Writing ­ Picture of guy trying to memorize things, for USAmemory championship o Memory is not as important as it was 2000 years ago ­ Picture of 12 file folders with each month to remember things o Rely on paper system to help remember things in the future ­ Taking notes = reliable source to remember things Memory ­ Simonides of Ceos, 5 century BC ­ Banquet hall collapse ­ Memory palace o Childhood homes o Architectural digest o Visually picture things to remember o Construct memory palaces to remember things Memory: Spatial, Visual ­ Spatially we memorize things ­ Remember faces of friends ­ Not good at memorizing names and numbers ­ Spatially lay out things we don’t remember into memory palaces o Make them memorable in a weird way Epic Poems of Rajasthan 1. Oral tradition 2. Bhopas a. Poets, they have epic poems 3. Epic poems a. Mohabharto  ▯100,000 stanzas b. Dev Narayan ­ Poems have carried on for thousands of years ­ Techniques to memorize them ­ Endurance of epic poems o Seen as sacred telling the stories o Healing powers ­ Challenge to oral tradition o Literacy o Those who learned to read had a harder time memorizing o Mass media makes it harder to remember Oral Society 1. Words are evanescent “events” a. Hebrew word davar = word + event 2. Power of spoken word a. Language as a mode of action, produces knowledge 3. Interiocutor 4. Cognitive/way of thinking Oral Society and Recall ­ How do spoken words become memorable thoughts? o Mnemonics ­ Mnemonics and formulas 1. Rhyme 2. Proverb 3.Alliteration ­ Serious thought – memory systems Oral Tradition 1. Rich in metaphor = visually graphic a. Multi-sensory 2. Homer a. Illerate b. 9 Century BCE c. Poems are full of similes + metaphors, which are visually graphic Oral Society ­ Jongleur (middle ages) ­ Memorized hundreds of lines of texts ­ Trained memory/worldly mind Theory/Orality/Harold Innis 1. Theorist of communication/culture a. How do people mainly communicate? 2. Historical relationship between time and communication Time Biased Media 1. Orally 2. Stone, clay 3. Community, continuity 4. Practical knowledge 5. Geographically confined ­ Griot (WestAfrican Storyteller) o Repository of oral tradition Time Biased Bedia ­ Hierarchal social order o Kings at top ­ More Vulnerable to “light” media challenge Spaced Biased Media 1. Papyrus, paper, printing press, tv 2. Large capacity for information 3. Administration a. Territorial control, less democracy 4. Cultural homogenization 5. Secular 6. Commodification 7. Monopolies of Knowledge Orality 1. “My bias with oral tradition” 2. Spirit of Greek civilization a. Dialogue, Socratic method b. Intellectual exchange c. Skeptical of dogma 3. Inhibit tyranny, imperialism Origins of Writing: Sumeria 1. 3200 BCE Mesopotamia 2. Accountancy a. Economy b. Outstripping $ 3. Pictographic Script Sumerian ­ Rebus principle ­ Pictographic symbol used for phonetic value Sumerian/Cuneiform/Clay 1. Abstract Concept a. Texts b. Objects and ideas 2. Cuneiform a. Pictography to formal patterns b. Ideographic symbols Writing:Alphabetic ­ Phoenicians o 1500 BCE o 22 letters ­ Hebrew, Latin ­ Phoenetic/Pictographic/Schematic ­ Alphabetic helps you sound out words, its standardized ­ Easier to learn, read and write GreekAlphabet ­ Adopt Phoenician alphabet (vowels) ­ Easier to read and write ­ Precise meaning Ancient Greece ­ Craft to democratic literacy ­ Devalue memorization ­ New statements/models ­ Eric Havelock = “pre scientific, pre literary, pre philosophical” Writing (Ancient Greece) ­ Objectify texts ­ Disembodiment ­ Abstraction Literacy/Orality: Greek ideas, Innis ­ Oral tradition ­ Alphabetic literacy ­ Brake on knowledge monopolies Writng/Limitations 1. Scarcity/Expense writing material a. Stone, clay, parchment, papyrus 2. “Calligraphy as enemy of literacy” a. Handwriting becomes an art form Tutorial 2 Now that we have started to write with a limitation of 140 characters, what does this mean for the future of memory? Due to technological advancements, we have the ability to remind ourselves of everything we have to do. Because of this, is it possible where our will completely diminish and will have to fully rely on these technologies? Spaced Biased Media ­ Produce a lot but want to last long, can travel over long distances ­ Attempt to capture space o Example: telegraph  Long distance communication Time Biased Media ­ More durable, things that stay, local, rituals, traditions, memory, something you cant necessarily change ­ * Based on the bias of the media, it affects the social values and dynamics of it o Ex: rituals vs a telegraph Lecture 2 Scribal Culture 1. Scriptoria * Person would yell out what to a. Dark/middle ages write. This is how copies of books were made. 2. Book production 3. Hand copying 4. Parchment 5. Dictation – every monk had different writing a. On parchment 6. Hybrid a. Writing/Orality 7. Holy Scripture a. Transcribing holy texts, spoken prayer has meaning when said alous • Was common for words to be said aloud, from books/holy texts, savour divine wisdom o Reading = meditation • In 1200s, there were lay stationers, which were copying operations in the universities Oral Society – MiddleAges ­ Legal proceedings – courts place importance on oral testimony ­ Aura of spoken word 1. Letters read aloud 2. Spoken prayers ­ Logographic = writing based ­ Phonogrphic = Oral forms of language Printing Press (1450s) ­ Johann Guternberg (1400-1468) ­ Wooden hand press o Used before to make wine ­ Moveable type = imprints ­ Paper (Rag-based) o No more parchment Gutenberg Bible (1455) ­ 42 line Bible ­ Print runs (200-1000 copies) st ­ His book was the 1 most influential book at the time ­ Huge technological innovation at this time o Alphabet system works best ­ Much of what was published was Bibles Impact of Printing ­ Reduce costs: speed production ­ Greater quantity/dissemination ­ Shift in writing from Latin to Vernacular ­ Sacred texts being made from press ­ Gossip/Scandal sheets also being made ­ Martin Luther saw printing press as something helpful to “get the word out” ­ Press = “God’s highest gift of Grace” Impact of Printing (Einstein) - Hearing Public 1. Communal - Binding 2. Local embrace 3. Direct participation 4. Pulpit news 5. Religious (?) - Reading Public 1.Atomistic - Fragementing 2. Distant embrace 3. Victorous partic - Imagined communities 4. Printed news 5. Secular (?) Continued Orality ­ Typography o “Conveyed to the ear, not the eye” ­ Book learning: oral/literate hybrids o Sermons o Lectures o Village reader o Coffee houses/salons 8 Mile Movie ­ Connecting with the immediate community ­ Power of the spoken word ­ An event that blasts at you, then it is over ­ Working class culture would also have the capacity to speak up ­ Emphasis on orality ­ Communication depends on audience o People coming together to watch them battle each other Print, News and Newspaper Print/Modes of Reading 1. Individualism a. Silently 2. “Bangers” of private reading 3. Octavo-mobile reading 4. Silent/Vocalized reading 5. Middle/Upper classes – working classes Women Readers ­ Fear unleashed emotions o Novels/fiction – women would be so emotionally swept up ­ Should only read bible/devotional works ­ Challenge to social structure, patriarchal authority Modes of Reading ­ Development of critical reading o Sacred texts had auras, worshipped
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