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Software Takes Command
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Description for Software Takes Command
Paperback. Series: International Texts in Critical Media Aesthetics. Num Pages: 376 pages, 30. BIC Classification: JFD; UB. Category: (P) Professional & Vocational; (U) Tertiary Education (US: College). Dimension: 216 x 146 x 30. Weight in Grams: 500.
This book is available as open access through the Bloomsbury Open Access programme and is available on www.bloomsburycollections.com. Software has replaced a diverse array of physical, mechanical, and electronic technologies used before 21st century to create, store, distribute and interact with cultural artifacts. It has become our interface to the world, to others, to our memory and our imagination - a universal language through which the world speaks, and a universal engine on which the world runs. What electricity and combustion engine were to the early 20th century, software is to the early 21st century. Offering the the first ... Read moretheoretical and historical account of software for media authoring and its effects on the practice and the very concept of 'media,' the author of The Language of New Media (2001) develops his own theory for this rapidly-growing, always-changing field. What was the thinking and motivations of people who in the 1960 and 1970s created concepts and practical techniques that underlie contemporary media software such as Photoshop, Illustrator, Maya, Final Cut and After Effects? How do their interfaces and tools shape the visual aesthetics of contemporary media and design? What happens to the idea of a 'medium' after previously media-specific tools have been simulated and extended in software? Is it still meaningful to talk about different mediums at all? Lev Manovich answers these questions and supports his theoretical arguments by detailed analysis of key media applications such as Photoshop and After Effects, popular web services such as Google Earth, and the projects in motion graphics, interactive environments, graphic design and architecture. Software Takes Command is a must for all practicing designers and media artists and scholars concerned with contemporary media. Show Less
Continuum Publishing Corporation United States
International Texts in Critical Media Aesthetics
About Lev Manovich
Place of Publication
New York, United States
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Lev Manovich is the author of Soft Cinema: Navigating the Database (2005), and The Language of New Media (2001) which was described as "the most suggestive and broad ranging media history since Marshall McLuhan." Manovich is a Professor at CUNY Graduate Center, a Director of the Software Studies Initiative at California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology, and a Visiting ... Read moreProfessor at European Graduate School. Show Less
Reviews for Software Takes Command
The language of new media is embodied and expressed
-lent visual and interactive form
-through software. Software is the agent of our every digital experience. And software is a quintessentially human artifact. The fact that it is intangible
-you can’t reach out and touch it
-is the least interesting thing about it. This long-researched book, which synthesizes critical theory, human-computer interaction, and media history ... Read moreas well as newer approaches from the digital humanities, allows software to take its place as a commanding element in our conversations about computers, and how we work, play, learn, and create.
Matthew Kirschenbaum, Associate Professor of English and Associate Director, Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities, University of Maryland, US With Software Takes Command, Lev Manovich seeks to answer a central question: 'Why should humanists, social scientists, media scholars and cultural critics care about software?' His answer is a provocative, historically informed book that breaks new ground in digital humanities, in new media studies and in what Manovich defined in his earlier book The Language of New Media, as software studies. Through a theoretical analysis of the computer as cultural metamedium and a probing history of 'media software' such Photoshop and After Effects, among others, this is essential reading for anyone interested in how software has changed how we work, create, and perceive the world.
Tanya Clement, Assistant Professor in the School of Information at the University of Texas, Austin, US Computers haven't transformed media
they've shattered the very idea of a medium. Lev Manovich connects the dots of software society, from layers in Photoshop to layers of data, interpretation, and meaning.
Martin Wattenberg, Software Artist and Scientist The chapter on motion graphics is the best thing I’ve ever read on the subject, and the final version is copiously illustrated.
...a valuable resource for anyone interested in contemporary media theory or the humanist study of software. It collects both the history of media's softwarization in the 1960's and 1970's and the cultural development of a metalanguage of motion graphics in the 1990's. In addition, it provides the theoretical framework necessary for a discussion of these histories and for future developments in media software. If it does not provide a single final answer to its catalyzing question, it is only because the use of 'media after software' is a cultural phenomenon in which we are still neck deep.
Patrick Davison, New York University
International Journal of Communication
Currently, too many of us in education lack sophisticated and critical ways to think and talk about the role of software in our lives. Unlike previous technologies, software can push back into our worlds in unprecedented ways. In education, the danger is that software will begin to dictate pedagogy rather than the other way around. Manovich’s book can help us avoid this pitfall. The greatest value of Software Takes Command is that it helps frame the history and nature of software in a way that makes me more confident in identifying how and when to take command of software myself.
Tom Liam Lynch, Pace University
Research in Review
The proposal involves such strength and conviction from Manovich. You have to have balls to wonder about the intellectual, philosophical, epistemological and conceptual origins of the software we use every day…This work is thus a secret history (by neglect rather than conspiracy) of the culture of software. Por eso la propuesta de Manovich conlleva tanta fuerza y convicción. Hay que tener cojones para preguntarse acerca de los orígenes intelectuales, filosóficos, epistemologicos y conceptuales del software que usamos cada día… Esta obra es pues una historia secreta (por desatención mas que por conspiración) de la cultura del software.
Manovich’s book studies this management of information not so much from the overused perspective of the ‘digital revolution’, but more specifically via the analysis of software…identifying software as the new ubiquitous technology that structures everyday contemporary life – a life which has, thanks to the rise of software, become global…As such, Software Takes Command is a contribution to the emerging discipline of ‘software studies’.
Warren Buckland, Oxford Brookes University, UK
New Review of Film and Television Studies
Today Manovich - one of the foremost authorities in research software and massive digital cultures - it comes with an even more radical and powerful theory: the software is the message, now a category imperative for new approaches to analysis and understanding of the contemporary. Hoy Manovich – una de las máximas autoridades en estudios de software y culturas digitales masivas –, viene con una teoría aún más radical y contundente: el software es el mensaje, convertida en una categoría imprescindible para los nuevos criterios de análisis y comprensión de la contemporaneidad.
Toques de Contemporaneidaed
With significant contributions like Software Takes Command, software studies is sure to flourish as an area of scholarship within media studies, if not as a replacement.
Yanni Loukissas, Graduate School of Design, Harvard University
Journal of Design History
Through a series of theoretically informed and empirically rich chapters, Manovich reflects on how different media became thoroughly infused with software, how it altered different practices, and how to make sense of software’s effects. He persuasively argues that softwarization has led to the formation of a new ‘metamedium’ in which what were previously separate media, and already existing and not-yet-invented media, become fused.
Rob Kitchin, National University of Ireland Maynooth
Information, Communication & Society
….Manovich's work contributes as it unveils some of the invisible labour involved in media production hidden in the softwarization process, and deepens our understanding of the changing practices and aesthetics.
Information, Communication and Society
Reading Manovich is indeed useful, and worth putting in your toolbox of concepts along with Donald Norman’s affordance and Bruno Latour’s agency. Per leggere Manovich risulta utile infatti mettere nella propria cassetta degli attrezzi concetti quali quelli di affordance di Donald Norman e di agency di Bruno Latour.
Tatiana Mazali, Politecnico di Torino
Software Takes Command shows that technical expertise can indeed lead to more intelligible technical description…Manovich’s background allows him to set priorities that resonate with the situated hierarchies of relevance that exist in every professional practice…This book focuses on some of the most fundamental features of some of the most common programs in the cultural software space and remains resolutely analytical and formalistic. In that sense, it can be considered as uncritical. There is no variant of false consciousness to be found and no bureaucratization of the creative mind through formalization or standardization. Software Takes Command is trying to understand what is, not what ought or ought not to be… Given [software’s] enormous significance for contemporary visual culture, one would expect there to be a number of published volumes that discuss Photoshop and similar programs in some depth. But besides Manovich’s work, there is preciously little…One can therefore only hope that Software Takes Command inspires others to take the approach to new domains and different types of software…Lev Manovich shows us how this could be done – and this is why Software Takes Command is such an important book.
Bernhard Rieder, University of Amsterdam
Information, Communication and Society
The intelligence and breadth of Manovich's approach makes this book relevant for all those who, in the fields of computer science, art, design, history and theory of new media, and related disciplines, wish to understand the multiple forms and structures of interaction and manipulation encoded in the software we use in many of our creative and communicative practices. Manovich beautifully synthesizes a significant part of his work as programmer, designer and digital animator, media artist, researcher and professor, helping to strengthen and expand the field of cultural studies of software, one of the corollaries of his previous systematic analysis of the language of new media. This is an essential book in the canon, still in formation, of software studies.
A broad range of examples combined with the author's own experience as a media designer, as well as his many careful observations and provocative ideas make this book a compelling and insightful take on a central pillar of digital culture.
Martin E. Roth, Leiden University, The Netherlands
Asiascape: Digital Asia
Software Takes Command is impeccably organized and thorough, meant to be exhaustive and complete in its topology of the practices of new media production and consumption, from taking an Instagram pic of your boyfriend on holiday to the most advanced modes of graphic design, film and speculative architecture.
Red-Assiniboine Research Unit