Yesterdays lecture was started off exactly as it was described, ‘A big word for the age of Screen Cultures: Living in the Gesamtkunstwerk’. Indeed it is a big word and one that I still am unsure of its pronunciation, but hey, at least I can spell it… It was a word I was told I should have some memory of, or at least have heard it during my studies, neither of which was true in my case unfortunately.

Ivan talked through the idea of German composer Richard Wagner’s Gesamtkunstwerk (1849), its origins and how it developed – referencing a lot of theorists whose ideas have had great contribution to the area which I knew already would give me a strong introduction for when I started independent research. We also contrasted the idea to that Of G.E Lessing’s Laocoon (1766) and the notion of Medium Specificity (I have to say, the fluidity of speaking and typing that word is very rewarding), talking about theorists who have carried on Lessing’s work as well as authors such Nicholas Carr whose work covers more contemporary issues that concern the question for my research –‘ In the digital age, are we committed to the experience of the Gesamtkunstwerk or do we more than ever need the idea of medium specificity?’ Which will be answered in a 500 word literature review. I very much liked the notion of Wagner’s Gesamtkunstwerk, especially how it is so closely related to modern technology, and at first I was in disagreement of the idea of medium specificity, however that could of course change as I research the topic.

Figure 1. Plenty to look at, but what first… oh yes, GESAMTKUNSTWERK!

Figure 1. Plenty to look at, but what first… oh yes, GESAMTKUNSTWERK!

Anyway, Using Ivans detailed notes and the sources list I was surprised at how many I was able to obtain with relative ease. I usually struggle to find a lot of material online, especially if it is older and so this will give me the opportunity to thoroughly research my question – which will follow in my next post.

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