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Beyond Visual: toward the Criticism of Output-Oriented Approaches in New Media Research

Научные исследования: 

For citation: Sharopova N.R. (2017) Po tu storonu vizual'nogo: k kritike orientirovannykh na vyvod podkhodov v issledovaniyakh novykh media [Beyond Visual: toward the Criticism of Output-Oriented Approaches in New Media Research]. Mediaskop 4. (in Russian). Available at:


© Nigina R. Sharopova

Junior Researcher at the Sector of Aesthetics of the Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences, Junior Researcher at the Faculty of Philosophy, Lomonosov Moscow State University, PhD Student at the School of Philosophy, National Research University Higher School of Economics (Moscow, Russia),



This paper considers the widespread tendency to focus on visual aspects in most writing on digital media. This sort of visual bias is based on the paradigm to examine the new media in terms of output. The author criticizes this tendency and claims that digital media has nothing to do with visuality itself. She supports this assumption by analyzing three elements, on which the mentioned paradigm is usually based. The first one is the screen. The screen plays an important role in the user's visual experience. However, the author shows that the screen was not initially the main tool for the output, other kinds of output tools were used for a long time (like paper-based ones). The second one is GUI. This type of interface has become widespread only when the computer was commodified. Before that, the command line interface used to be most widespread. The third part reviews the visual content itself, with the computer graphics examples (the hidden surface problem) and the computer vision. All listed above constructs the user's experience in the digital media, but from the user's perspective, rather than the computer's one. Output-focused approaches analyze cultural or market tasks rather than the structure of digital media itself.

Keywords: digital media, media studies, visual culture, visual studies, screen, GUI.



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