Tag Archives: Digital Object

New Media Objects: Interactive Installations by Robison, Charity



Hello, my name is Charity and I am a post-bach student in the DTC program.  I come from a fine arts background so my challenge is to transfer what I can of my studio skills and knowledge into a digital format that I can use to further my language of expression.

Math offends me and the digital realm is challenging with its limited tactile process and lack of physical or organic matter to touch, feel, and manipulate with my hands.  It also looks a lot like math..

There are a great many new media objects to chose from so I decided to simply look over the slides and see what came to mind.  This random exploration worked out well and resulted in some unexpected recollections.  When I looked  over interactive installations, I was immediately taken to an experience I had at Burning Man in 2009 with an installation titled Steve the Robot H.E.Ai.D.

It is described as “a Human Energized Artificial Intelligence Device that encouraged collaborative sound and music making inside a giant 35 foot structure made to resemble a giant robot head. Motion is detected using a camera mounted at the peak of the structure, which is then used to generate sound and project the laser image.”

I had come to it out on the playa late one night and found myself completely fascinated by the physical and visible connection I had with the piece.  I danced with someone and watched it trace my every move along with theirs via laser lights onto the playa dust beneath me.  I was actually watching the electricity and energy between myself and another.

In relation to the characteristics of new media by Lev Manovich, I believe this met all five.  By creating an interactive connection between a computer and the human body, numerical representation (p.27) was made via intelligence that communicated between various systems to create the whole. There is an algorithm recording and transcribing human movement into a digital format.

The numeral representation here incorporated modularity (p.30) by combining several methods of data gathering to create the cohesive result of man and machine.  This is also, in part, an automative (p.32) process.  Computers have been explicitly designed and programed to record the human or analog movement and transcribe them into a digital format that can then be further translated into a visual shape and form.  Variability (p.36)  is then nearly infinite as it is defined by each individual that interacts with it, recording not only their physical stature and form, but also their movement.  Transcoding (p.45) follows with the materialization of this digital interpretation of an analog subject.  The human body and its movements are displayed in a digital format via laser lights.

Here is a short video clip of the installation:

New Digital Media Object


The Wii system by Nintendo is a new media object because the games and creation of the system was created by computers, making it digital. Nintendo has been producing consoles and games for many generations that continue to become more and more advanced. The Wii games are based on body movement while holding a controller. There are games for both young children and adults that are based on television shows, movies, other video games, and workout routines. The first characteristic of numerical representation means that the Wii has a visual representation that can be broken down and that it was created on a computer and originated in a numerical form (Manovich 28). In the second characteristic of modularity the Wii has media elements that are included in the games such as images, sounds, shapes, and behaviors (Manovich 30). Majority of the time the voices that are used in the video games are the same voices from the actors and actresses in the movies the games were based off of. Automation does not seem to have as much of an effect of the Wii system as some other new media objects but it does have 3-D graphics that are used in the games to set up the backgrounds and settings (Manovich 32). The characteristic of variability is in my opinion one of the most important, if not the most important characteristic. There are many possibilities for making characters and games for the Wii. In variability, instead of making identical copies, there are many different versions available (Manovich 36). On the basic Wii sports game Mii characters can be made to fit each players personality and on most other games different characters can be chosen and dressed up however the player wants. In the final characteristic of transcoding, there is a culture layer and a computer layer that is incorporated into each game, meaning that human culture is represented by the computer. In other words there is always a story and a plot to the games (Manovich 46). The Wii games can also be translated from or into another format such as Xbox or Play station. The Wii system could even be considered transmedia because the games being used are the same media as movies to relay the same information (DTC slide 29) but no matter what the Wii is a new digital media object.