There are some significant studies on materiality of media. Above all, Harold Innis chronologically researches diverse prevalent data storage media such as papyrus, parchment and paper. In his book, Empire and Communications, Innis explores how certain media can be popular based on material. Media transports and stores messages by utilizing their unique materiality. Some media maintain their usability for a long time. But other media sometimes disappears soon after being introduced to the world. Innis insists that popularity depends on diverse elements; for example, affordability, weight and resistance against aging. In this way, media as a vehicle has developed following their materials. These vehicles were physical and tangible, so people could read or feel their message without electronics as long as they are literate. However, since the advent of telegraph, the vehicle is getting more and more invisible. In this context, communication and transportation have different meanings that were once interchangeable (Carey, 203).
Media grammar literacy focuses on the unique “grammar” of each medium and the way in which the production variables of each medium interact with content elements (Meyrowitz, 99). This paper concentrates on media grammar literacy in relation to the materiality of media. Instant communication, the immaterial media, has already been popular in society, so we gradually lose the link between the vehicle of message and its materiality. This technology encourages people to communicate each other in real time. They simultaneously post their pictures and messages, and reply them on social networking sites. In other words, as the technology advances, information is getting more and more ubiquitous and instantaneous. Why don’t we have a time to think about the meanings of the terms such as ubiquitous and instantaneous?
To answer that question, I created an interactive art, Tweeting Twitter. This project incorporates the Twitter website, one of the most popular social networking site showing the diverging Internet environment between communication and transportation. This synchronizes physical transportation with invisible transmission again. This creates the in‑between space between the keyboard and the Twitter website, namely, the virtual transportation from the material input device to the immaterial digital image. The method involves an effective process to make ineffective process because communication should be delayed to keep up with the simulating transportation. In doing so, viewers can see the quasi‑physical transportation of their typing in real time in the in‑between space. This visualization implies oral speech, which is impossible to edit or correct texts, and movable printing press, which is the first non‑human text but still physical device. Ultimately, this project explores how to escape from this instant message for a while by giving viewers some time and space to reflect on the instance of text. To maximize the effect, each letter is synchronized with its own bird’s song. Users listen to diverse birds’ sounds when they type their message. This slow message project suggests an acoustic shelter from a huge number of instant messages by creating the in‑between space and time as a bridge between communication and transportation.
- Byeongwon Ha, Virginia Commonwealth University, US, studied Film, Television and Multimedia from SungKyunKwan University, South Korea. After receiving his BFA, he created interactive media and experimental films in the graduate study of Media Art from Yonsei University, South Korea. With the thesis project award, he also received an MFA in Digital+Media from Rhode Island School of Design. After graduation, he studies indoor‑air‑quality‑mapping in digital media as a member of the Public Laboratory for Open Technology and in Science. Now he is pursuing his PhD degree, the Media, Art and Text program at Virginia Commonwealth University. Based on his academic experiences, he creates diverse algorithmic films and interactive installations.
Full text (PDF) p. 117-121