Henry Jenkins: media philosopher

Courtesy of Putting People First, here are the contours of the new media landscape as suggested by MIT Comparative Media Studies director Henry Jenkins. He describes the culture-shaping and anthropological dimensions of this space as "innovative," "convergent," "everyday," "appropriative," "networked," "global," "generational," and "unequal" - and driven in part by an emerging gaming culture, a force that he along with the Serious Games Initiative believes can be used to problem solve.

They are certainly not the only ones interested in appropriating games. During his sit down at the ideaFestival last month, John Gaeta discussed at length the film industry's search for a creative form that merges unpredictability of gaming and its "never ending possibility" with the very human magic of story. 

This combination of expansive culture and creative license is also the subject of a book I'm reading. In The Mind's Provisions, French philosopher Vincent Descombes argues for a distributed cognition best understood in anthropological terms, a holist view of thinking that may be applied to any society with tool making skills. As its inhabitants shape their tools, they are shaped in turn.

Our digital tools now make, distribute and consume media.

So I don't think it's a coincidence that a philosophy of information has emerged in the past 10 years or so. Much as the ancient Greeks thought deeply about nature, and thus paved the way for empiricism, I think the media-verse we inhabit offers grounds for a more complete understanding of the mind.

I hope to blog more about Descombes' book soon.


Wikipedia: Media studies, Philosophy of Information