Review: Chapter 6′ Lev Manovich: What is Cinema?

The first five chapters of Manovich’s book The Language of New Media were used to frame chapter six What is Cinema? This did not come to a surprise to me as it might have most people. If you recall in early readings of The Language of New Media, Manovich explains in detail that each chapter builds off of one another in a kind of backwards approach.

Manovich begins chapter six by explaining how these five chapters were used to frame and develop a type of work between new media and technology. He uses the history and theory of cinema as his explanations to what is driving innovations of new media. Manovich reiterates points that are referenced in previous chapters such as the computer techniques in traditional film making and the breakdown acronyms while reminding us of codes such as HTML and JPEG.

While giving a lot of History on cinema, this chapter elaborates on the changes in the film making process. He goes over the four principles of  film making .  Giving the four principles, we can define digital film as a combination of live action, composting, painting and image processing of 2 and 3-D computer animation.  Manovich also echos the use of still images, doing this he recaps how video and moving images are frames.  As I learned not only in this book, but also in class-cinema is the art of turning many still imaging into one fa-nominal video using the art of motion.

As I completed the readings of chapter six I realized cinema has come along way from traditional customs. However, Manovich might state the fact that digital media was used well before we realized it,  the digital innovations among us have not only created a forever change in cinema, but will continue to advance as the progression and  inception of technological advancements rise.






Review: Lev Manovich Chapter 5 ” The Forms”

This weeks assignment we were to read chapter 5 of  Lev Manovich’s The Language of New Media. In this chapter called “The Forms” Manovich discusses the database. When referencing computer science, “database is defined as a structured collection of data.” Information is stored in the database allowing it to be a quick search engine(218).

Within these databases, we have “database logic”  and “database complex.” Manovich notes that different types of databases use different approaches when organizing data. A few examples of these are “hierarchical, network, relational, and object-oriented (p 218).

Databases became more approachable in the 1990’s (p 221). It was fall of 1998 when a huge company  – which I am sure we are all familiar with – had “three millions books” in its database. According to Manovich, database and narrative are natural enemies. They both compete for human culture to create a “right to make meaning out of the world (p 225).” He elaborates on the fact that within new media we see a unifying or merger of database and narrative into new forms.

These new ideas consist of a variety of games which gives navigable space a new genres and cultural form. Examples of these games are Doom and Myst. Manovich goes to identify the number of ways these two games are different such as Doom is “fast paced” and Myst is “slow  and etc (p 244)” But despite the differences they are the same in one aspect,”both are spatial journeys. Navigation through 3-D space is an essential, if not the key, component of the game play (245).”

It is important to realize that navigable space can be used to represent both physical spaces and abstract information spaces. Manovich also stresses the fact that it has emerged as an important paradigm in human-computer interfaced (p 249).

After explaining two key forms of new media – database and navigable space – Manovich goes on to note the schemes that can be established between “modernity and supermodernity (p 284)”  Manovich “emphasizes the continuities between the new media and the old, the interplay between historical repetition and innovations (p 285).”

What is Gamification?

Besides being a new term that not many individuals are aware of. Gamifications is:

“the process of using game mechanics and game thinking in non-gaming contexts to engage users and to solve problems. Gamification leverages game design, loyalty program design and behavioral economics to create the optimal context for behavior change and successful outcomes.”

Gamification was first “coined” in 2008. It has been widely used in businesses around the world today. It increases the ability of users to solve problems and obtain the most out of their employees by using a  rewards system-such as point- of some kind.  If designed correctly, gamification has proven to be a successful tool used to increase motivation, develop skills, teach, and much more.  It is a technique that makes an unappealing chore seem fun.

Do you have a Winn-Dixie Card? If so, you are a participant of gamification.



Chapter four of Lev Manovich’s The language of New Media is devoted to Illusions. He discusses the innovations of Illusions and how they have dramatically changed since the fifth century B.C.

Zeuxis, who was a famous Greek painter in the fifth century B.C. created a painting of grapes.  His creation was so skilled and detailed that the birds could not tell they were not real. They would fly down to eat from the painted portrait only to find that it was not edible. This was the beginning of illusionism art (177).

From this moment, the art of painting and creating such still images has dwindled. The twentieth century A.D. has since optimized to create “real-time, interactive, photorealistc 3-D graphics,” using high- performance graphics computers. Manovich uses RealityEngine as an example. RealityEngine is a “high performance graphics computer that was manufactured by Silicon Graphic Inc.” during the twentieth Century. Since this innovation, the replacement new media industries continue to expand (177). The industries have become obsessed with illusionism and continue to be fixated with having the finest program on the market.

Manovich notes, “the visual culture of  of a computer age is cinematographic in its appearance, digital on the level of its material, and computational (i.e.,software driven )in its logic (180).”

With this being said, it is obvious that new media has shaped our illusions and communication within our culture.  The theories and histories of illusion in the media such as the, Art of Illusion, The Myth of Total Cinema and The True Vine only deal with visual dimensions. However, Manovich believes that these theories have three arguments dealing with three different relationships in common.  Each argument concerns,” image and physical reality, image and natural perception, present and past images.

  1. Illusionistic images share some feature with the represented physical reality (for instance, the number of an object’s angles.

  2. Illusionistic images share some feature with human vision (for instance, Linear perspective).

  3. Each period offers some new “features” that are perceived by audiences as an “improvement” over the previous period (for instance, the evolution of cinema from silent to sound to color).

New media has changed and will continue to change the way we view images of all kinds. It is no longer a subject that one simply gazes at. It is considered to be an interactive image that functions with as an “interface” between a user and a computer or device (183).

Two of the latest examples of new media mention in chapter four are that of Jurassic park and Terminator 2. Manovich explains how Jurassic Park was anticipated to create, “systematically degrading” images to represent the dinosaurs from the past. They show grain images of blur, and low resolution unlike Terminator 2.  Terminator 2 represents futuristic images of ultra sharp reflections with no blur and techniques to achieve photo-realism(204).