New York: Bloomsbury Academic, This new book from the celebrated author of The Language of New Media is the first to offer a rigorous theory of the technology we all use daily - software for media authoring, access, and sharing. What motivated developers in the s and s to create the concepts and techniques that now underlie contemporary applications like Photoshop, Illustrator, and Final Cut? How do these tools shape the visual aesthetics of contemporary media and design?

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Tell others about this book Lorem About Software Takes Command This book is available as open access through the Bloomsbury Open Access programme and is available on www. Software has replaced a diverse array of physical, mechanical, and electronic technologies used before 21st century to create, store, distribute and interact with cultural artifacts. It has become our interface to the world, to others, to our memory and our imagination - a universal language through which the world speaks, and a universal engine on which the world runs.

What electricity and combustion engine were to the early 20th century, software is to the early 21st century. What was the thinking and motivations of people who in the and s created concepts and practical techniques that underlie contemporary media software such as Photoshop, Illustrator, Maya, Final Cut and After Effects?

How do their interfaces and tools shape the visual aesthetics of contemporary media and design? Is it still meaningful to talk about different mediums at all?

Lev Manovich answers these questions and supports his theoretical arguments by detailed analysis of key media applications such as Photoshop and After Effects, popular web services such as Google Earth, and the projects in motion graphics, interactive environments, graphic design and architecture.

Software Takes Command is a must for all practicing designers and media artists and scholars concerned with contemporary media. Software is the agent of our every digital experience.

And software is a quintessentially human artifact. This long-researched book, which synthesizes critical theory, human-computer interaction, and media history as well as newer approaches from the digital humanities, allows software to take its place as a commanding element in our conversations about computers, and how we work, play, learn, and create. Lev Manovich connects the dots of software society, from layers in Photoshop to layers of data, interpretation, and meaning.

In addition, it provides the theoretical framework necessary for a discussion of these histories and for future developments in media software. Unlike previous technologies, software can push back into our worlds in unprecedented ways. In education, the danger is that software will begin to dictate pedagogy rather than the other way around.

The greatest value of Software Takes Command is that it helps frame the history and nature of software in a way that makes me more confident in identifying how and when to take command of software myself. You have to have balls to wonder about the intellectual, philosophical, epistemological and conceptual origins of the software we use every day…This work is thus a secret history by neglect rather than conspiracy of the culture of software.

In that sense, it can be considered as uncritical. There is no variant of false consciousness to be found and no bureaucratization of the creative mind through formalization or standardization.

Manovich beautifully synthesizes a significant part of his work as programmer, designer and digital animator, media artist, researcher and professor, helping to strengthen and expand the field of cultural studies of software, one of the corollaries of his previous systematic analysis of the language of new media. This is an essential book in the canon, still in formation, of software studies.

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Software Takes Command



Lev Manovich


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