New media has undoubtedly changed the way that people interact in and view society. With the omnipresence of computers, televisions, cell phones, the Internet, and DVD players, it is nearly impossible to escape this “new media.” Even the way an “old-fashioned” book was read is changing with the advent of Kindles, Nooks, and whatever else you would like to name these new “eBook readers.” So the question becomes, how has this new media shaped our society? And has it affected the way in which we now view reality?
After seeing the image in class, I became smitten with Dziga Vertov’s picture of the eye and lens superimposed from his film “Man With a Movie Camera.” This simple picture makes a huge cultural statement that begs the same questions presented above. Do we, as a society, see the world only through “the lens” of new media? Or are we still able to perceive a reality outside of the world of technology?
It was after seeing Vertov’s image that I chose the design for my blog. I carefully chose the header image based on my beliefs regarding new media. One eye of the woman being photographed is seen clearly in the image, yet the other is blinded by smoke.
In a much broader context, I believe that while we are to some extent “blinded” by this new media, we are also able to perceive a reality outside of it. It is about finding a proper balance of the real and the fake, which can indeed be very difficult to do in a world inundated by technology. The reason I chose the background image of my blog is again for the eyes. Among the designer clothing and jewelry, I am drawn to the intensity of the eyes in the photograph. The eyes are largely the way we perceive the world, and it is important that we stay attentive to what reality is and what it is not.
We are now used to art in so many technological forms—graphic design, computer-generated photos, films done all through digital technology—that many critics, such as Walter Benjamin wonder what mechanical reproduction has done for traditional art forms, such as painting, drawing, etc. He takes a look into what mechanical reproduction means for the reality of an original piece of art.
In my next post, I’ll take a deeper look into what mechanical reproduction means for authenticity of traditional artwork.