What is media?

There was an interesting seminar today in the University of Tampere where a number of media, communications, film and also one games scholar met to discuss ‘media’ as a “crossroads term” in academia. The multiple interesting presentations and discussions can not be adequately paraphrased by myself, here, but it was interesting to note how e.g. ‘digital media’ was related to convergence developments, and also to the ubiquity or pervasiveness of media – it was becoming difficult to say what was not media any more. This was philosophically linked to the question of mediation and presence; e.g. Jacques Derrida for one has emphasised that there is no access to ‘original’, or authenticity – our human existence is to exist within systems of signification that are always also systems of ‘re-presentation’ (when we become conscious of something, we already have some, even minute reflexive distance to that thought or sensation). Ok, maybe in some extreme experiences (strong pain, pleasure, intoxication) that sense of reflexiveness is in marginal position, but you get the idea. Even having a body means that we have that (“first person”) media always with us.

I presented some views of media as seen from Interactive Media / New Media perspective(s) and from those of Game Studies: e.g. the sometimes tensed relations and borderlines between game/narrative and game/media. Where I did not have time to go, however, was the growing interest in the rhetorics of games, and the study and application of games not to communicate direct messages, but to create conditions for expressive action. The posthuman views on the complexity of human agency I did mention, as well as the application of Game Studies into the study of everyday life (should have gone both to Goffman, and to gamification debates there, but did not have time). Great seminar, thanks for the organisers (Seija Ridell, Taisto Hujanen)!

Link: http://www.uta.fi/cmt/tutkimus/seminaarit/mika_ihmeen_media.html

Author: frans

Professor of Information Studies and Interactive Media, esp. Digital Culture and Game Studies in the Tampere University, Finland. Occasional photographer and gardener.

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