What’s Hot and What’s Just Media

The media included in our focus of investigation should be carefully prepared for immediate dismissal. When it has completed itssentence or duty tour of fashion it will become another dreary item preparing itself for revival. What I propose is that ‘new media’ be considered to represent this transience and to refer as much to our way of ascribing its labels to the most contemporary forms of media transmission. A set of categories of key exemplifying attributes such as those Manovich (2001) describes is useful to understanding but it will be ultimately inflexible.

May it also be avoided to infer directly or outwardly a control of what should

Rhizome: organic structure expands in non-hierarchical clumps

be considered to represent the characteristics of new media. I say this because technology is taken up by the uses of the people who have access to it, and often expanded on in virtual ways that are beyond the technology’s design. Or at least to say that a discourse of power not be an acceptable way of discussing the status of particular media. (ie. the aloof position of the educated expert – deem from atop expertise or knowledge base that this is not a form of new media) For if many new media forms are rhizomatic as suggested, a hierarchical means of placing one in relation to another is not useful or conducive to the ‘deterritorialisation’ required of dynamic rhizomatic structures.

Mind that there is more to the rhizome idea than merely an allegory for hypertext. It was forwarded by Deleuze and Guattari as a way to reconceptualise the tree of life metaphor that they saw as serving a rigid heirarchical social structure. Many things are viewed with this tree euphemism in mind like business organisations and families. The particular D & G text is a little difficult but contains some interesting explorations of how the concept can involve a freedom of organisation differing from that of the rigid tree with it’s permanent central trunk. From the rhizome plants I’ve seen many different parts could be considered centres and one plant or the next is sometimes difficult to distinguish.

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