Manovich suggests that we can understand the variable and multiple cultural effects of computerization in terms of one overarching concept - scaling. The computer radically scales already existing cultural and social forms leading to new qualitative effects. For instance, the new media of 3D computer animation and virtual navigable spaces is a result of accelerating the calculation of perspectival images. Wikipedia which currently offers 800,00 articles in its English version and continues to grow exponentially in several languages, is a result of scaling up the number of contributors and the speed of editing (real-time). When a 100 megapixel image is displayed on the scale of a wall surface (i.e via the EVL LambdaVision Display 17,600 x 6,000 pixels), in practical terms a different image emerges where detail can be studied without losing context.
But this is only a beginning within the realm of shifting scales. What are the further effects of scaling which we can expect in the future? How can we use the concept of scale in media theoritical or cultural contexts?
Lev Manovich is the author of Soft Cinema: Navigating the Database (The MIT Press, 2005), and The Language of New Media (The MIT Press, 2001), which was hailed as "the most suggestive and broad ranging media history since Marshall McLuhan." He is a Professor of Visual Arts, University of California, San Diego, and a Director of The Lab for Cultural Analysis at California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology. This fall, he is a researcher in residence at Piet Zwart Institute | Willem de Kooning Academy | Hogeschool Rotterdam.
This lecture was webcasted live via http://www.v2.nl/live
IRC-chat, moderated by Todd Matsumoto: http://irc.v2.nl, channel #v2_manovich