Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Something about mediated reality....

...oh yeah. The phrase "throught the magic of Television" says it all. In the fifty or sixty years that we've had television, we are only just beginning to come to terms with the implications of the medium. TV essentially amounts to an infinite extension of our eyeballs (place a camera anywhere in the universe and you can transmit live images to your living room. There may be relativistic effects...). TV depends on persistence of vision to work- it uses a mosaic pattern to create a convincing simulacrum of what our eyes see, and it uses animation techniques to recreate motion in those images. That both of these objectives can be accomplished electronically busts the whole game wide open- not only does this allow complete abstraction of the signal vis a vis how to store it and transmit it, but at the same time gives complete flexibility in the message. Anything you can imagine visually, can be represented on a screen.

Magic: any technology sufficiently advanced blah blah blah (Arthur C. Clarke? Ted Sturgeon? somebody like that). Even sophisticates such as myself can be fooled into slack-jawed amazement by the things we see. So what does that imply for the state of the art? In sixty years, we should expect that the simulacrum has become ever more convincing; we should expect, in fact, that the illusion is complete, and that control of the illusion is complete.


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