Hybrid Forms by Lev Manovich

Hybrid Forms is an article on the convergence of different media by Lev Manovich

The article goes into enormous depth on the subject of convergence in the creative arts and describes how over the last two or three decades many of the traditional platforms for producing film, television, art, music and other artefacts have converged and become a bank of skills for producers within the arts to easily draw from and combine to great effect.

The article gives clear examples throughout with references to where each example can be found. For example when talking about the convergence of music, animation and cinematic film Lev Manovich cites Coldplay’s 2007 video for the single Don’t Panic – take a look and you will see how the three converge superbly to make a successful piece. Coldplay have continued to use this mix of tools to great effect, their 2009 Video Strawberry Swing is very similar. This demonstrates Lev Manovich’s ability to pick out clear and accessible examples.

The explanations given by Manovich to describe the concept of the remix, mash up or collage that has come about due to rapid convergence are very clear, he explains how the concept of postmodernism is applied before and during convergence and how convergence is a concept we should embrace to further the art that we produce. A mix of typography, animation, 3D graphics, cinematic film and music may sound like an overcrowded piece but Manovich explains how it has come about that such a piece can exist and be accepted without question in the creative arts world.

Another interesting point raised in the article is the use of 3D. Not long ago designers were trying to produce a perfect representation of real life in 3D but of course once film makers got their hands on the technology they weren’t necessarily interested in the realism – as long as they had a 3D space to work in they were happy to fill it with what they wanted. Avatar is the most recent example of this and a classic example of cutting edge convergence film making. Titanic however is an example where realism was of the upmost importance but both used similar technologies to create different effects.

The advent of the internet is of course one of the most important aspects of the term convergence – it brings together all sorts of different ways of expressing one’s self and I think the fact that Manovich’s essay is available online, with links to other areas of interest embedded within it, is a perfect example of convergence in itself.

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