New media is ‘modular’ compared to old media which is ‘linear’ – this is the main idea/concept that I took form the lecture.

New media provides modular information as it is made up of smaller and smaller components until binary code is reached.

Lev Manovich – ‘modularity is one of his five principles of new media:’

  1. Numerical representation
  2. Modularity
  3. Automation
  4. Variability
  5. Transcoding


One of the problems that was highlighted in the seminar is how to visually represent new media database. There are two main ways in which they choose to try and show it:

  1. connector lines (literally just draw a line between two variables)
  2. tables (use the x and y axis to navigate around the table)

Both ways show the most simplistic representation of the relationship between the two variables with in the database.

New media allows interactivity – the database being modular enables choice/interaction; where as traditional media narrative has no interaction. Interaction and narrative are at opposite ends of a fulcrum where when the level of one increases the other decreases.


We were posed some questions at the end of the seminar to think about and discuss:

  • Does visual representation limit the databases possibilities?

Yes – I think that attempting to represent something so complex as a database visually so that humans can read it just stunts the complexity that computers could process/understand.

  • Is the database and its visual representation for navigation inherently a contradiction?

Sort of – a database is a three dimensional complex structure with more information than any human could process (at same speed) so attempting to represent it would work and it does work thats how humans know how to set up and control databases in new media – but the representation is much more simplistic that the actual thing.

–What do we mean when we say meaningful navigation of new media and to whom is this navigation meaningful?

–If interaction and narrative are opposites, is the database an anti-narrative form?

No – they have to link in some was as they are both part of the same database. They may provide different purposes with in the database but it is all contributes to the same system.


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