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Multimedia: From Wagner to Virtual Reality
     

Multimedia: From Wagner to Virtual Reality

by Randall Packer (Editor), Ken Jordan (Illustrator), William Gibson (Foreword by)
 
The first book to address the true history of computer-based multimedia. Web sites, CD-ROMs, video games, interactive television, virtual reality, touch-screen kiosks, 3D architecture design programs . . . these and other forms of computer-based multimedia will be as important to the twenty-first century as film and television were to the twentieth. But what is

Overview

The first book to address the true history of computer-based multimedia. Web sites, CD-ROMs, video games, interactive television, virtual reality, touch-screen kiosks, 3D architecture design programs . . . these and other forms of computer-based multimedia will be as important to the twenty-first century as film and television were to the twentieth. But what is multimedia, where did it come from, and how does it work? Multimedia presents the fascinating dialogue between the arts and sciences over the last half-century that made today's multimedia possible. Scientists like Vannevar Bush, Douglas Englebart, Norbert Wiener; artists like John Cage, Nam June Paik, and William Gibson--their groundbreaking visions are brought together here for the first time, given historical context, and embedded in a clear explanation of the core concepts behind multimedia. Multimedia will be required reading for anyone who has built a Web site, studied computer graphics, or wondered at the rapid birth and evolution of the new media now changing every aspect of our lives. Introduction by William Gibson.

Editorial Reviews

Jon Katz
The best guide yet on a subject of central importance to anyone interested in the future of media.... historically significant. —SlashDot
Douglas Rushkoff
This book may be the Primary Source for years to come. —author of Coercion : Why We Listen to What 'They' Say
Sara Diamond
[O]f great value to novices to the field and to serious theorists and educators....testimony to the human imagination.
Annick Bureaud
Not 'just another reader' but a key source book in the field of art, science and technology history... excellent in all respects. —Leonardo
Wired
An evocative whirlwind tour through 100 years of work [of] artists and scientists [in] the field of computer-human interaction... Excellent.
Boston Globe
[A]n important book....For anyone who wants to know where multimedia technology is going,or where it has been.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
"What we need is a computer that isn't labor-saving but that increases the work for us to do, that... turns us... not `on' but into artists," writes John Cage in his essay in Multimedia: From Wagner to Virtual Reality, edited by Randall Packer and Ken Jordan, with a foreword (and an excerpt) by William Gibson. Surveying various artistic disciplines, the editors uncover the intersections of the avant-garde and strict computer science with inclusions like Tim Berners-Lee's 1980s prospectus for the World Wide Web, titled "Information Management: A Proposal," and ignored by his colleagues until he made the software, and his fortune, independently. Contributors include Bauhaus luminary L szl Moholy-Nagy, Cage prot g and performance artist Nam June Paik, and artist Lynn Hershman. Photos and illus. (Norton, $26.95 416p ISBN 0-393-04979-5; Apr.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
An anthology of 32 reprinted short pieces demonstrate collaborations between art and science, mostly since World War II, but also back into the 19th century. Many are manifestos by artists in a wide range of media. The arrangement is not chronological, but by the thematic integration, interactivity, hypermedia, immersion, and narrativity. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Kirkus Reviews
A comprehensive and ambitious anthology chronicling the history of "the multimedia revolution." With this collection, multimedia experts Packer and Jordan present a sampling of seminal articles by the artists, writers, scientists, musicians, and architects who engineered the 20th century's communication revolution. Each of these authors, from composer Richard Wagner to multimedia artist Nam June Paik, Douglas Engelbart (inventor of the mouse, windows, and e-mail), and beat writer William Burroughs, envisioned modes of artistic expression that penetrated "the fourth wall" dividing art from audience. Each imagined new modes of synthesis or communication that would enable people actively to engage with art, literature, music, and vast stores of information in their everyday lives. Most of these visionaries believed that technology was the key to their efforts—that computers could transform the passive appreciation of art into an active, participatory discourse. Many of these works are very technical, and most require a basic understanding of contemporary debates in art and science. The editors have done readers the invaluable service of providing pithy, astute, contextual summaries of each essay so that readers can pick and choose from among them. In fact, picking and choosing is an appropriate way to read this collection, since Ted Nelson (who coined the terms "hypertext" and "hypermedia" in 1963), William Gibson (to whom we owe the term "cyberspace"), and many others believed that nonlinear reading and writing are ideal (because these forms better mirror the nonlinear workings of the human mind). Gems include Vannevar Bush's 1945 Atlantic Monthly essay that led to the development ofthe "hyperlink," Tim Berners-Lee's 1989 proposal for a decentralized information network that was the foundation for the development of the World Wide Web, media artist Lynn Hershman's description of her groundbreaking multimedia projects, and Marcos Novak's piece about virtual architecture in cyberspace. An unusual exploration of a quiet revolution that changed the world.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393049794
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
01/28/2001
Edition description:
1 ED
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
6.47(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.40(d)

What People are Saying About This

Douglas Rushkoff
This book may be the Primary Source for years to come.
— (Douglas Rushkoff, author of Coercion : Why We Listen to What 'They' Say)
Sara Diamond
[O]f great value to novices to the field and to serious theorists and educators....testimony to the human imagination.
— (Sara Diamond, artistic director, media and visual arts, The Banff Centre)

Meet the Author

Ken Jordan has pioneered innovative Web sites such as SonicNet, Word, and Media Channel. He lives in New York City.

Randall Packer is a media artist and professor of electronic arts at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore.

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