Blog: 7 “The Screen and The User” by Lev Manovich & “Becoming Screen Literate” by Kevin Kelly

Both of these reading really grabbed my attention. Screens are something that I have over looked my whole life. In the first reading, The Screen and The User by: Manovich, it tells the history of screens. It talks about virtual space vs. reality and how screens help us navigate through cyberspace. In the second article, Becoming Screen Literate by: Kevin Kelly, compares screens to books, how we are evolving to become “people of screens.”


In Manovich’s chapter, I found it interesting when it said by “looking at a screen…[lets] users experience the illusion of navigating through virtual space.” I thought this made an interesting point. The Internet and cyber space and other virtual worlds don’t really have a physical form. It’s thanks to screens that the average user can make out heads or tails of websites and other cyberspaces. The reading continues by talking about ‘frames’, which help us focuses on what is on the screen. I never thought of the boarder around the computer screen or around a phone or TV are actually frames that help us see the more interesting things that are on the screen. There are also two genres: landscape mode and portrait mode. In class we talked about ‘screen out’ functions, like the one Dr. Johnson showed us in class about finding restaurants with your smart phone. This function is growing, taking over and rendering a nonexistent world/space outside the screen frame.

In a paragraph in this article discussed VRs (pg 97), which are “typically used a head-mounted display whose images completely fill the viewer’s visual field,” continues reading “real, physical space and the virtual, simulated space – coincide.” Our world is changing and virtual space has “…completely encompassed the real space…The screen has vanished.” This reminded me of all the cool syfy gadgets used on space adventure TV shows and movies that are coming to ‘life’ and are becoming ‘real’ things!


In Becoming Screen Literate, Kelly talks about how screens have created an audience. Not the other way around; in my other communications class my professor, @academicdave, would call this ‘technology determent.’ Where the technology is the cause for a cultural effect. Kelly continues saying that the audience that has been created is for very short/quick films or moving pictures with an average time of 1-3 minutes. He first describes us as “people of the book” because of printing black ink onto white paper in a linear logic of facts, which is describing a book. I really enjoyed they way Kelly described things though out his article. To follow that lat statement Kelly describes how we are “becoming people of the screen,” by “nudging the book aside and catapulting…moving images, to the center o the culture.” The ‘culture determinist’ side comes out saying that we (culture) have paved the way from books to screens and that ‘we’ have caused the effect that screens are now taking over our world. Kelly describes the over throw of books to screens by this quote, “it is easier to read a book than to write one; easier to listen to a song than to compose one; easier to attend a play than to produce one. ” It kind of describes us, Americans; we are the ‘lazy lot’ that create more and more advanced technology to make life easier, which can, and more offensively is, defined as we don’t want to work to get the results we just want them now in the easiest way possible. That a whole other topic that I don’t need to get into today.


Over all screens are be found practically everywhere, I’ve seen them in bathroom, living rooms, kitchens, cars, phones, MP3 players, planes, stores, restaurant, billboards, and more. They give us visual information quickly…faster than it would be for you to read the product they were trying to sell you. You get to see it, and seeing something last in your mind, and it is pleasing to you. The moving pictures grab your attention and suddenly you find yourself glued to a screen. “We Are The People Of The Screen!”


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