February 12, 2004

Responses to Relationships = Responses to Technology

Chapter 4 of Rethinking Media Change: The Aesthetics of Transition by David Thorburn and Henry Jenkins is an essay written by Tom Gunning. He discusses the responses people have toward technology. Of all the chapters I have read so far, this chapter was the most interesting to me. Much of this chapter focuses on how the astonishment of new technology fades with time, “The appearance of a new technology is celebrated for its novelty and astonishment is the proclaimed response.” I can personally relate to this by remembering my first response to the Internet. When I was first introduced to the wealth of knowledge at my fingertips, I was completely amazed. However, now, it is something that I take for granted and the astonishment is gone. While I was reading this part, I could not help but relate it to relationships. “Astonishment gives way to familiarity.” Anyone who has been in love or is in love now knows exactly what I am referring to. When my boyfriend and I first met, we were star struck. We were amazed by everything about each other. He was perfect and I was perfect. However, after about six months, the “newness” of our love wore off and we were back in reality. Our love for each other did not fade, but we realized that a relationship is not always smooth sailing and the astonishment and amazement was no longer prominent.

Another part of this chapter that I could easily relate to said, “When a tool works, we pay it no attention; it seems to disappear. However, if the tool breaks down, if in some way it doesn’t function, it suddenly becomes conspicuous.” I will relate this to jweb. I’m sure that every student at Seton Hill University can relate to the frustration that surfaces when jweb is down. We yell and scream at our computer screen and curse the entire university. However, when jweb is up and running, do we appreciate it? Do we praise the entire university? No, because as soon as it works, “we pay it no attention.” Tom Gunning really knows what he is talking about.

Posted by JameeRice at February 12, 2004 10:58 AM

I think astonishment is a good word for it, and I also thought back to when I first used the internet, and didn't know what to do.

On a side note, I wonder if this is half my issue with e-books -- the fear of them being something "unhomelike," because it would be a common item, just in a new format, which would be weird. Interesting thought. (because I do have a really strange aversion to e-books, and I rather enjoy technology!)

Posted by: Julie at February 12, 2004 01:36 PM
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