Nam June Paik video-synthesized image
of Laurie Anderson
as there are many possible paths through a network, there
are many potential readings of multimedia's history. In
ours, the key concepts intrinsic to digital forms of multimedia
are defined as:
of artistic forms and technology into a hybrid form
of the user to directly manipulate and effect her
experience of media, and to communicate with others
of separate media elements to one another to create
a trail of personal association.
of entering into the simulation or suggestion of a
Aesthetic and formal strategies that
derive from the above concepts, which result in
non-linear story forms and media presentation.
critics of today's multimedia shy away from attempts to
identify a dominant theme behind the emergence of this
new medium. They say that the subject is too various,
that it resists a neat historical frame. In fact, there
is a tendency among critics to celebrate the elusive nature
of the subject. Multimedia, by its very nature, is open,
democratic, non-hierarchical, fluid, varied, inclusive
a slippery domain that evades the critic's grasp
just on the verge of definition. But these qualities did
not evolve by happenstance. They were the product of deliberate
intent on the part of multimedia's pioneers, who were
aiming for quite coherent goals.
five characteristics determine the scope of multimedia's
capabilities for expression; they establish its full potential.
Follow the definitions through the Pioneers timeline to
show how these characteristics evolved more or less simultaneously,
each following its own tradition and trajectory and yet
inextricably interwoven with the others in a web of mutual