A new medium?

One question the Diasynchronoscope raised in development was: Is it a new medium?

It is at this early point most assuredly not a mass medium but was it a medium at all and if it was not a medium – what was it?

This is more than just a question of semantics as we are taking a formalist approach to the Diasynchronoscope it is essential that we use the correct tools for investigation. The authority we turned to on media was Marshall Mcluhan and in particular his laws that serve as a test of a medium outlined in the Tetrad of Media Effects. McLuhans definition of a medium emphasises technology over the messages and codes that are delivered by the technology and at this stage because we are using simple codes it seemed an appropiate primary tool for investigating the technique.

McLuhan designed the tetrad as a pedagogical tool phrasing his laws as questions with which to consider any medium The laws of the tetrad exist simultaneously not successively or chronologically and allow the questioner to explore the grammar and syntax of the language of media.

An overview of Marshall McLuhans Tetrad of Media Effects.

a) Extension/Enhancement: Every technology extends or amplifies some organ or faculty of the user. What does the medium enhance or intensify?

b) Closure/Obsolescence: Because there is equilibrium in sensibility when one area of experience is heightened or intensified another is diminished or numbed. What is pushed aside or obsolesced by the new medium?

c) Retrieval: The content of any medium is an older medium. What media does it retrieve?

d) Reversal: Every form pushed to the limit of its potential reverses its characteristics. What does the medium flip into when pushed to extremes? One example of this is that the mobile phone a device that was meant to free us and give vocal communication on the hoof instead has become a ball and chain where we spend more timing writing to each other (in the form of texts). This flipping rarely occurs at the start of a mediums life.

Application of Tetrad laws to the diasynchronic technique would be :

  • a) The Diasynchronoscope enhances synchronous sound holistic freezing of time comprehension of movement over form it favours convergence and parallax and somatic (of the body) perception.
  • b) The Diasynchronoscope reduces the importance of heavily mediated screen-based media from stereoscopic 3D projection that needs spectacles to computer visualizations and film. It differs from screen-based media because it eliminates flicker is veridical – in terms of perspective focus and parallax and it is screen-less.
  • c) The Diasynchronoscope returns us to the magic of zoetropes and other devices of wonder from the 19th century.
  • d) The Diasynchronoscope at extremes flips from veridical perception of movement to non-sequential seried viewing of individual objects if too complex it can create occluded pathways that destroy the narrative effect. It is too early to say if it will cause major flips. Although one thing we have noted is that although it frees an audience to move around; observers tend to stand still when watching an installation.

According to Marshall McLuhans definition of a medium which emphasises technology over the messages and codes that are delivered by the technology the Diasynchronoscope could be viewed as a near pure depiction of McLuhans definition of a cooler medium where viewer involvement is key.