September 13, 2001

On The Wire

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What do Guy Ritchie, Clive Owen, and Ang Lee have in common? Yes, this sounds like the prelude to a really corny joke, but actually the answer is quite simple — it is a prime example of the unexpected combinations that digital technology can produce, and an introduction to this column on new media’s contribution to the field of arts and entertainment. New media includes everything computer-generated, from interactive websites to film, from DVDs to song. Most people are so accustomed to its prevalence, that they aren’t even aware of its identity as a distinct genre.

Almost every facet of the entertainment industry, from Hollywood to the airwaves, has been influenced by the popularization of the concept of an interactive audience, which is a part of the new media craze. Simple case in point: the viewer’s choice polls conducted at the recent airing of the MTV Video Awards. Contrary to the notion that millions of Americans were sitting idly by their televisions mesmerized by our leading pop icons (and their use of live animals as props), is the fact that while watching, many were “logging on” to their computers to complete interactive polls