Mediamatic Magazine vol 4#3 Bilwet 1 Jan 1990

Intelligent Media

The medium media is introduced world-wide and has left its acceptance stage behind it.


Intelligente Media -

The last far corners of satellite orbit have been colonized and only in the channel offer does inner medial growth still take place. But with the adult phase having been reached, the media sees a mid-life crisis approaching.

The indifference of the vegetating 'couchpotato' was, from the start, distinguished and radical warded off with the acceleration of images and the arousal of the sensation of participation; to he totally absorbed. This indifference, fears the media, will spread like an epidemic in the borderless world of tomorrow and will lead to fathom
able situations.

According to old- fashioned marketing thought, one answers this with maximum differentiation of the product to keep every market niche active: a Stalinist channel for elderly communists, baby-tv, animal television for free-range pigs, etc. And all this 24 hours a

But this is no answer to the massive defection to the reality which is also going on. The increasing need to make history in a hobby or tourist atmosphere, away from work, is consciously placing the media in the shadow of the event. For a moment people have no more time for the media. They cunningly direct the media to historical sites which suggest that something is going to happen. By way of media traps, people clear the way for themselves in order to do the right thing elsewhere. In Western museum cities an avant-garde had formed this, the anti-media movement, which makes an end to all connections under the slogan lets pull down another media. With disappearing acts it creates temporary and local media-free spaces, almost as terrorists, with its own anti-satellite missiles. A pre-eminently secret movement because it carefully keeps itself out of the press and makes its existence known only through jamming and sabotage. All events that don’t come in the media are claimed a victory by the movement and are conveyed to the entire outer-media circuit which it feels related to. Stirred up by this violence, together with the alarming growth of the indifference and fragmentation of viewing statistics, the mentality-pohce will be forced to initiate a discussion about the larger social issue of the media future. The media lobby won't want to wait for the outcome and will begin r&d of the inevitable answer; intelligent media.

While interactive media argues from the point of view of the subject and makes reality superfluous, Intelligent Media (im) thinks from the point of view of the object, and tries to define what is happening in front of the screen. The fragmentation of audience behaviour in the previously rigid media age was brought about by remote control.
The television makers ignored the quick practices or tried to prevent them by putting together even catchier programs. Besides this, they spread out the offered diversity over the 24 hours, a relic from the juvenile phase when people still watched one channel for half of the evening.

After the viewing statistics became valueless for advertisers due to the frequent channel switching, there was a change over to the registration of channel time: the number of minutes the user stays with one channel. An extra chip in the remote control made this possible. The digital im goes a step further. It receives continuous feedback from the viewers behaviour and installs threshold values in which above them, the product, unaltered, reaches the appliance. In case the average channel time falls below these levels, the im begins subliminal testing in order to find out which elements in the gram should be introduced or changed (news, sex, personalities, decor, dialogue, music, colour). The program producers only deliver potential programs: the chance of the complete broadcast of an old cinema success is minimal. The competitive channels are scanned continuously for more attractive ‘bits'. The classic one-after-the-other editing of image & sound is replaced by synchronized mixing from the central computer. A contribution is better when manipulations are less conspicuous. In spite of this, when the bottom limits of attention are reached, we change over to a totally different program part, unperceived. The fragmentation remains, if only because taste continuously changes and there are 'early adopters' and followers. But instead of threatening, it has become the condition of existence. Still, im doesn’t take the unpleasantness away in the media. The intelligent media leads to a complete information-relativity. If the news item isn't interesting it gradually takes another content. The community of democrats flips, and, with the results of their larger media discussion in hand, demands for alternatives in order to protect information from its downfall. Because their tv faces, in spite of this, become more and more dependent on the media, they are out for revenge. With their state broadcasts, they can't complete for long with dynamic media and therefore come up with reasonable proposals. They want the stamp of reality guarantee in the upper left corner of the screen. The im will never agree to this, but compensates by giving up specified zones for the purpose of setting up itself media-free reality parks. These are also meant to split the anti-media movement in a radical wing and a faction that is prepared to negotiate. The democrats propose further that for healthy social functioning, a media-diet is necessary. In this way they demand the im to build in an ecological principle: as soon as the number of viewers falls below the absolute minimum, the channel goes out. First for a day or a week, but for the im magnates it's much more attractive when it goes out for good, since it makes tv watching much more exciting and therefore increases the channel time of the worst stations. Aside from this, the media police/policy demands the abundance of superfluous information to be dammed to get the essential back to the surface of history again. The im also can give no promises concerning this since it knows that all information is noise. The offer to give politics its own channel is rejected because such a channel is gone within a week.

The democrats will always remain an intolerant minority group in a totally democratized media system. All these ecological
restrictions will probably be used by the na to legitimize the practice of permanent control of media use, and thus of every movement in the radius of the censors. The common denominator remains that there must be participation in the media, whatever the cost. The intelligent answer to im comes from im itself: the ptv The personal television is, concerning its image feeding, not exclusively dependant on im's offerings, but helps itself to sovereign image material to make its own samples andremixes: 'do-it-yourself media which must rescue the ideology of creativity. The only survival strategy of the media is, however, to remain more interesting than reality. The ptv tries to replace the make-your-own- history through one last 'techno-fix'. With ptv the media reaches its third stage of life. Reality cannot be locked up for good as a tourist attraction in a park. It remains present, leering, to surprise all media makers sooner or later. The outer media circuit finds itself among us already, but doesn’t let itself be known, and so remains unattainable for the tourist experience. It waits in all quietness for the death of the media.

translation Linda Pollack