Camera lucida: visual definition

Reading Roland Barthes' 'Camera Lucida' made me wonder on the actual camera lucida as a medium vis-à-vis camera. Perhaps this video might be of use to some.

The launch: a debate on the newness, Salinger and the ongoing dialogue with the media

It was around 4 pm and the four of us where sipping coffee in a cafe trying to grasp what excites us in media studies most. Ideas for the launch of this blog were supposed to be cut-up, remixed and posted. The four being Karin, Melinda, Bernadette and myself (Lina). The word 'new media' was hovering in the air above, leisurely coalescing with the steam of the coffee at first, yet it evaporated almost as soon as the steam did. We decided the term was debatable and spent a few minutes recollecting our first engagements with the media and contemplating what inspires us to research them.

Lina: Shall we begin with new media? After all, further on in this blog we will try to assess the media that are emerging currently. Let’s say, the first word that springs in my mind is dynamic. Yet what is current? What is new? Are we still looking for the language of new media?

Karin: The term 'new media' is annoying, because people mostly talk about Internet or games.

Bernadette: I think the term is bullshit, because they aren’t new. What is new?

Melinda: I would have to agree. If I had to define my term, it would be Internet culture. It is important to pay attention to it as it is changing culture, but it is not erasing things. In a way, it is creating a continent of its own, where the results are similar, but the experiences are different to the real thing. Therefore it is not parallel, but something different. Epic fail is another term I come up with.

L: In that case, what fascinates you in the studies of media most?

K: Media engagement - the ongoing dialogue with the media.

M: Internet culture. I look at many different things: how online communities emerge and the correlation between the physical and the digital. I am interested in how the Internet creates its own economy.

L: Speaking of engagement, do you remember your first time online? I think I was about 11 or 12. The computer was in a parsonage. I remember trying to log on for quite a few times with no success. When I finally managed to go online and found myself in the default home page (I think it was MSN), I was puzzled. I realised that although I was online, I was not sure where to go.

K:The first page I ever saw was Altavista. I was 9 and my first engagement with the Internet was in Ghana, in a media lab in my school. I also remember being very addicted to Encarta - I loved all the speeches. Encarta was my life.

M: My first memory is of hacking school computer network in order to get past BESS - a security network. I hacked it!

L: Which one has been your favourite online resource currently? I vote for - a bottomless pit of inspiration.

M: The website of Popular Culture Association, particularly conference proceedings.

K: Wikipedia.

L: Now that we have mentioned resources, have you got your media guru?

K: Marschall McLuhan and Jean Baudrillard.

B: I tend not to have favourite persons. But I would single out Stuart Hall and Henry Jenkins.

Melinda confidently nods here: Henry Jenkins.

L:Could you suggest a book every media student should read?

B: Steven Johnson 'Everything Bad Is Good for You: How Today's Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter'.

M: Edward Castranova 'Exodus to the Virtual World: How Online Fun is Changing Reality'.

K: J. D.Salinger 'The Catcher in the Rye'.

[Susan Sontag's 'On Photography' would be my suggestion- L.]

L: What is the most annoying stereotype about the media you can't bear with? In my case it would have to be the idea that the Internet is the abyss of amateurism. Those who think so only skim over the surface of the Web.

M: The stereotype of online gamers - the fact that they don't have any social life. I must say sometimes they have more social life than those people who stay away from gaming.

L: It doesn't come as a surprise that when I invited to launch a group research blog reflecting on our studies in Utrecht University, the first people to respond immediately where the ones who have blogged before. While this blog will revolve around the axis of our research, my previous blogs where quite personal. I guess, felt the urge to be heard. How about you? What does blogging mean to you?

K: I started blogging while being abroad. Usually it is just a way to get something off my system. It is a self-therapy. I call it an impersonal way of being personal.

M: It's communicating feelings through an unnamed third person. Also it was an easy way to have my articles accessible for my resume.

L: Since you mentioned resume, where do you see yourself in the next five years from now?

At this stage everybody looks pensively at me. Bernadette had to rush and is gone by now. Melinda responds she has no idea. Neither do I. Karin throws in a phrase that quite aptly summarises our chat: 'If I knew, I wouldn't be here'.

We are not sure yet where this will take us. Yet as it is the journey that matters, we welcome you aboard...


We are a group of Research Master students in Media and Performance Studies (Utrecht University, The Netherlands). We are interested in mapping discourses on media theory and practice, network culture, video games, remix, fan fiction, cultural software, identity and (re)presentation. We post our research as it happens.