For me, the most interesting part of Manovich’s book thus far is the section in which he details the genealogy of the screen. I like Manovich’s idea that the screen is an aggressive medium. In the past I have not put much thought into the characteristics of screens, but now I definitely agree with Manovich’s assertion that the screen is aggressive and that it’s function is to “screen out, to take over” and to render “nonexistent whatever is outside its frame.” (96)
I was particularly intrigued by Manovich’s study of the screen in relation to the human body. Manovich believes that screens imprison their viewers. I can’t even count the number of times that I have been glued to my computer, either typing a paper, doing research or reading celebrity gossip on TMZ.com. Often times, it is hard to pull myself away from the computer because I am so engrossed in whatever I am doing online. My Mac has imprisoned me many times. Reading Manovich’s views on the screen made me think about how often I am enslaved to my computer on a daily basis. I check my email four or five times a day. I check my Facebook once or twice a day. I usually use ichat every other day or so. These daily habits must waste hours of my life every week. Five years ago I barely even checked my email once a week and I was not a member of Facebook. I only used ichat to talk to friends who were attending different colleges than me. I must have had tons of free time back then.
Manovich’s detailed history of the evolution of the computer made me reflect on my first memorable experience with computers. In 1991, when I was eight years old my next-door neighbors bought a computer. I can remember being invited over to play with it. While I don’t remember exactly what the computer looked like I do remember that about the only fun thing to do on it was a program that allowed you to paint. My, how computers have changed.