The story of media is the story of mankind extending his reach through technology. The invention of the printing press has allowed us to easily fix knowledge in a format that can be exchanged, shared, and sent far away. Photography allows us to take a moment in time and space, capture it and store it. And, the digital era has seen us take information, break it into pieces of data, and then reassemble that data into new forms of knowledge. With each stage of increasing technical complexity, the relationship between media and culture becomes more complicated, reflecting the role that technology plays in shaping our experience of knowledge, information, and/or data.
This site is the end product of work done by students in a course titled Physical, Electrical, Digital offered through NYU's John W. Draper Master's Program in Interdisciplinary Studies during the fall semester of 2016. The course considered the centrality of media technologies in the experience of culture by assessing the impact of books, film, records, tapes, disks, and even architectural spaces such as cinemas, on cultural development.
For the course, students identified a research project and were asked to research seven technologies and ten events relevant to their topic. Using those technologies and events as a starting point, students generated a thesis argument that they were tasked with conveying through a thematic essay and visualization. This site was then built using the the digital humanities platform Omeka to organize the various portions of each project, create cross-links, and automate timelines of each project. Visualizations were static images in some cases, while in other are embedded interactive experiences. The site will grow with future iterations of the class in the hopes of building upon existing work and showing how the material technologies and cultural texts of different media experiences are intertwined over the course of history.
For more information about this site, please contact Kimon Keramidas, Clinical Assistant Professor of the Digital Humanities: firstname.lastname@example.org