Focusing on MA-thesis part III – expose

For the proseminar MA we had to draft an expose for the master thesis. After a peer review from my colleagues Jan Adams and Tobias Bettke the idea for my master thesis is getting more and more palpable.

Here’s a small summary:

Working title:
Augmented Analogy

The problem:
Differences between digital and analog media are questions that are dealt with in media theory and communication science since early computers in the 1930s. Since the emergence of CDs as digital audio recordings the differences cocerning characteristics, advantages and disadvantages of both kinds of media are also consumer concerns. While in the 1980s and 1990s the death of analog media was predicted, in recent years a hype around vinyl records and haptic products brings back analog media. Still on both sides you will find hardliners who propagate either analog as the better or digital products to be the future of media. A sophisticated view however shows that professional opinions ponder advantages and disadvantages, concerning characteristics, efficiency, target group and scope, of both representation systems to find the right method and media for their products.

Current state of research:
General media theory of the last century gives a good overview of perceptieve and psychologic aspects that are the foundation for the thesis. Furthermore there are a lot of current works about digitalisation. For the part of analog media, there are numerous practical applications giving an insight into todays production mechanisms but also practical literature from the last ten years.

Research questions:
What does digital and analog mean concerning the media?
What are characteristics of digital and analog media concerning perception, aesthetics, content, duplication and reproduction, what are the dis- and advantages of both?
In specific – how are analog products produced today?
How can we as communication designer ponder dis- and advantages of digital and analog production and choose the right method fitting the content?

The thesis shall rise awareness among designers for the different representation systems. Next to theoretical explanation the thesis should show that the analog, in whatever form, is still an important part of the media. The comparison to (all) digital media should create awareness, that
the virtual worlds based on 0s an 1s can’t offer a holistic solution, but the (reasonable) combination of both systems are the best possibility to convey contents. A poster series dealing with the topic and the master thesis as a book itself will show digital and analog approaches, depicting aesthetic characteristics and compare distribution mechanisms (e.g. social media vs. posting bills).

Besides general media theory, the thesis deals with media theory approaches by Jens Schröter arguing the concepts of digital and analog.
In addition a philosophic approach comes with Otl Aicher, while David Sax gives insights into the working methods in Silicon Valley, and with selected interviews shows that just in the center of digtal production analog methods and approaches are extremely important. Victor Papanek’s function complex (methods, association, aesthetics, need, telesis, use) are also applied to both systems and Thomas and Martin Poschaukos practical approaches towards designing with coincidence (Nea Machina) are also part of the theory.

Besides (media-) theory, sepcific examples show characteristics of analog and digital media. Besides expert interviews, specifically manufactured graphics and artworks the differences are explained and depicted. Thus a poster series shall become the practical work piece, related to the findings of the thesis. In addition the hardcover will be another reference for an analog product based on digital data.

Primary literature, expert interviews (e.g.: Ocho Resotto, P98a, Supersense, Dafi Kühne, Yeah!Yeah!Yeah! Studios…), related posters from own production with adequate documentation.