Digital Media Introduction

Main Readings:

Virtual Art: From Illusion to Immersion – Oliver Grau

The Language of New Media – Lev Manovich

  • There will be something to watch and/or read every week
  • THIS WEEK – watch half an hour video and read about the internet (found on Moodle)

Have to analyze and respond three readings throughout the term

  • Analytical
  • Evaluative
  • Beyond what’s in the document – question the world

Learning outcomes:

1)    Analyse the language of digital media by placing it within the wider context of information cultures

  • To be writing blog posts about the things that we are doing – analyzing key readings and what we have learnt in lectures – including technology terms and information

2)    Integrate and apply formal research methods and idea development

  • We will have to research how certain things will be done – e.g. how to make your website look a certain way

3)    Demonstrate creativity and the ability to construct a narrative appropriate to the production of a range of integrated new media forms

  • Asked to create three sets of photographs alongside the technical stuff – want to see a narrative within these images but also want to see a narrative through your interface

4)    Demonstrate technical proficiency in the manipulation of internet based information to produce a considered piece of networked digital media

  • Make portfolio sites and a html pages – using dreamweaver

5)    Evidence their engagement with the creative-critical process through detailed analysis, evaluation and reflection upon their own work and the work of others

  • Have a robust blogging site – putting something up every week; and attendance

Assignment Brief:

  • The artifact must demonstrate the student’s ability to integrate 3rd party gallery software (of your choice) to interactively display various sets of original photos (titles of sets to be announced in lectures). These must be displayed via the open source blogging software – but can also be displayed via static gallery pages hosted on your server-space
  • The blog element of your artifact must be networked to other student blogs in your **research group and have links to various Web2.0 applications. These will also be announced in the sessions but you will be required to use Flickr and Twitter as a minimum
  • The web artifact must also evidence an ability to write/edit XHTML and CSS and link to at least one trial/static page (which will be made in workshops) and hosted on a separate folder on your server-space

Suggested to attach Twitter page to WordPress blog

Will make a portfolio, another WordPress blog, and a website

http = Hypertext Transfer Protocol


What is traditional media?

  • Media of course is anything that allows us to store and deliver information (both the content and the means of delivery)
  • Changes depending on the age – we are now in the digital age
  • The delivery of traditional media has changed over time
  • http – one means of using the internet to transfer pieces of information on the internet
  • Every age has it’s new developments – e.g. technology
  • All relates back to the digital natives and digital immigrants

I want you to start thinking about traditional representations of objects, animals, people and scenes, and ask how (and why) humans were and remain obsessed with making these representations as ‘real’ as possible

My response:

  • Documentation
  • A form of evidence
  • Anyone has a sense of imagination meaning that everyone, if asked to create something from their mind would create something completely different – trying to make these representations as real as possible therefore allows humans to understand the same thing on a global level

Illusion Spaces:

  • Taken from Oliver Grau’s Virtual Art: From Illusion to Immersion

I want you to think and blog about the techniques artists of antiquity (cave painters and Renaissance artists) used to create illusion spaces.

Do these traditional images have the same impact on modern audiences as they had on contemporary audiences. If so why/how? If not why?

Think about historical examples such as panoramas or modern day examples of panoramas (or other modern examples of trompe l’oeil and computer games). Or even this immersive 360 flyround examples. Perhaps you can think about fictional examples of immersive environments..?

My response

  • Yes, the more traditional techniques do have the same impact on modern audiences because it is still an illusion space which engages the viewers mind
  • However, I think that the more traditional techniques for creating these illusion spaces (like paintings) actually have a greater affect on the audience. This is due to the fact that because the modern audience is surrounded by digital imaging and manipulation software, many may appear shocked at the fact that these illusion spaces can still be created with more traditional methods

What is the Internet and how does it work?

  • Magic – runs on love and creativity
  • Global computer network
  • Runs on electricity – global energy consumption
  • Andrew Blum

The reason I have become so preoccupied with the Internet is that it is (among many things) an illusion space and the more sophisticated it becomes the more seamless the illusion becomes. Hence there are several things I want us to cover in this module:

  • Digital imagery
  • Trickery
  • Immersion and immersive technologies
  • Narrative
  • Identity (with particular reference to personal projections – including our professional/social projections online)
  • Participation
  • Mediated experience
  • Physical (and artistic/creative) ways of representing and articulating our relationship with this ‘untouchable’ thing called digital media


Peter Hirshberg: “The web is more than “better TV”” Video:

TASK 1 – The Interface:

Find 3 Photographers’ websites (they might be practitioners you already know, or curated sites) and compare & contrast their sites/interfaces based on:

  • Accessibility – easy to approach, reach, enter, speak with, or use; needs to be able to be used by a variety of disabilities
  • Findabilty – ease with which information contained on a website can be found; Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Usability – available or convenient for use; capability of being used; Should only be three clicks away from getting to relevant content; shouldn’t have to hit the backspace

Photographer 1 – Edward Weston:

  • Accessibility – easy; if you type in his name into Google, it is the second link to come up; very small text and colours that are hard to see
  • Findability – not very good; only one page dedicated to Edward Weston with one image and one introduction; not much information
  • Usability – not very good for same reasons as above
  • As he is a mid 20th century photographer, it is expected that his website would not be to the same standard as current photographers

Photographer 2 – Lorenzo Agius:

  • Accessibility – easy to find due to his unusual name; if typed in wrong to Google, suggestion comes up; large photos making it visible to many
  • Findability – Okay, as he only uses photos to symbolize the collections, I think it would be more helpful to include the title as well; not a lot of written information can be found
  • Usability – At first, not very good, but as you begin to get familiar with his page, it is incredibly usable; instructions on how to use the website for first time users would be advised

Photographer 3 – James Melia:

  • Accessibility – easy to find due to unusual name and number of social networking pages associated with his website; large photos making it visible to many
  • Findability – can clearly find the information through visual and written hyperlinks and pages
  • Usability – easy and straightforward due to the minimalistic yet simplistic design; easy to find things and browse through information


TASK 2 – Illusion, Trickery and Propaganda:

Find one (or more) Internet hoaxes or touched up photos (political or advertising). Discuss, in your groups:

9:11 hoax

1)    Who made it? – Peter Guzli, Hungarian, 38 years old

2)    What is its purpose? – It seems as though he did it just because he could; “I am ashamed that even now the police still get calls about it, I never did it for money and I never intended to cause any harm to the real victims or their families. I didn’t really stop to consider the consequences and never thought it would go outside of my small circle of friends.”

3)    Does it succeed? – Unsure as to it’s purpose but it succeeds in offering the viewer a very strong reaction

4)    How was it made? – Photo manipulation using Photoshop


  • Set up and shoot 3 sets of images. There must be at least 10 or more images in each set
    • Set 1: Work
    • Set 2: Rest
    • Set 3: Play
  • The images must be your own work and capture the essence of the module in terms of ‘digital media’
  • The production process and creative research should be blogged throughout
  • You may replace one set of images with a video exploring the replaced title theme. The video should be no less than 30 seconds and no more then 2 minutes in length.
  • Image sets must be displayed either via WordPress plug-ins or on static pages hosted on your server-space


  • Godaddy – £2.99/month
  • – £4.99/month
  • Vision internet – £2.29/month
    • Have to pay all at once
    • Recommended
  • 1&1 – £2.99/month
    • Recommended that I use it as I already have a domain name for it
    • Vidahost – £17/year
    • Justhost – from £2.00/month

Hosting space is like a folder on a computer – that’s your route directory

Database is a spreadsheet or table that are linked together

We are in the age of the database – everyone’s information is probably on more than 2000 databases each

Possible Scripts:

  • WordPress – put WordPress in another folder called blog so that the route director can be free for a big splash entry page
  • Joomia 2.5
  • Drupal