Meow… An Introduction to CATS

Awwwwww, CATS… No, not those kinds of CATS

CATS, sounds like a lovely, furry, cuddly subject where it will love you more the longer that you hold it in your lap and scratch behind its ears…

It’s not.

CATS actually stands for “Critical and Analytical Studies”. During CATS lessons, the idea is to strip down art to its very bones, and look at the artists personal life, events at the time, and socio-political history of the nations and the world, in order to analyse how the art came about and why it is the way it is, and what it says about the world at the time and the artists opinions of the world.

What is New Media?

For our first lesson in CATS, we were looking at the very basis of any new media subject: What is New Media? In order to be able to answer this question, we worked in groups to answer a short series of less-complex questions so that we could formulate a proper answer.

  1. What is Technology?
    • Our answer: Any System or Mechanism that helps to make the completion of tasks easier.
    • Actual answer: Anything that expands the scope of Human action.
  2. What do we mean by media and medium?
    • Our answer: Media is the thing that you wish to broadcast, and the medium is the method by which you broadcast it (e.g. A painting of the seaside [media], painted using oil paints on Canvas ).
    • Actual answer: Media is the plural of Medium.
  3. How many forms of Media are there?
    • Our answer: Painting, Photograph, Written, Verbal, Blog/Vlog, Television, Films, Advertising, Games, Internet,
    • Actual answer: Only three kinds of media (one to one, one to many, many to many), everything else is just a media vehicle.

There are some stark contrasts between the answers that my group developed, and the actual answers to these questions. Both of the answers to the first question have different wording, but essentially mean the same thing. The answers to the second question are vastly different. This came about through complete oversight on our groups part. We were used to hearing the word “medium” as “material” i.e.what you use to make the artwork, rather than noticing that the digital media was simply a collection (plural) of different mediums. The answer to the third question was again, vastly due to us overcomplicating the answer. Whilst trying to name as many types medium as possible, we failed to realise that there are really only 3 possible ways to communicate, everything we listed was simply a method of sending that media.

So, after all this writing, what really is new media?

New media is the creation of media through the technology of the time. So, today this would be through things like Photoshop and SketchUp, and distributed through the media of Facebook and YouTube. 50 years ago however, this wasn’t the case, as much of the technology that we use today hadn’t been invented, and in 50 years time, will be using technology that no one has even dreamed of yet to create and share our new media creations.


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