FALL 2011: V.07 N.02: CAA Conference Edition 2011
Roundtable Discussion Leaders: Pat Badani and Rachel Clarke.
The Media-N Open Dialogue was an opportunity for participants to share their perspectives on how we can build on the journal’s strengths and investigate new topics. Rachel Clarke, Media-N’s founder and past Editor-in-Chief, and Pat Badani, current Editor-in-Chief, led a lively discussion about the past, present and future editorial focus of Media-N – from its origins in 2005 as a purely online journal, to recent developments in print publication and the journal’s potential for growth. The discussion was aimed at exciting members and non-members about the areas in which they could participate in the journal and cull ideas for future fields of exploration.
Rachel Clarke began with an overview of Media-N’s history. She then talked about the evolution of the journal: establishing the Journal Board; the creation of a mission statement; the development of the first website by Petronio Bendito; the creation of a peer-review system; and the development of bylaws.
The journal began in Fall 2005 with a CAA Conference Edition, and continued to grow, with annual conference editions, themed editions, and guest-edited editions – resulting in fourteen journal editions to date – and between two to four editions per year. Clarke noted that the combination of conference-related, themed, and guest-edited editions had been a successful blend, enabling the journal to act as a forum where current trends, research, practice and pedagogical theories in the New Media field were featured and discussed in depth, often for the first time.
Clarke spoke about the new website, which went online for the fall 2010 edition. Developed by Media-N Web Director James Khazar, the site not only created a new look for the journal, but also radically expanded the functionality. An entirely new journal workflow was created, whereby articles could be uploaded directly to the site and edited there, literally re-shaping the editorial process. Clarke was involved in the consultation process for the refashioning of the site and expressed her satisfaction with the outcome, noting that the new design is in keeping with the identity of the journal as a forward-looking, contemporary academic journal in the digital arts field. The redesign breathed fresh air into the journal’s image and boosted the organization’s online presence.
Clarke played a video in which Khazar demonstrated the new features of the site.
Pat Badani followed this overview and expressed her excitement about the present development of Media-N, having just coordinated the first print-on-demand publication, Dynamic Coupling, Fall 2010: V.06, N.02, designed by Rachel Beth Egenhoefer. She showed a video showcasing the issue’s Guest Editors: Jessica Westbrook and Adam Trowbridge, who spoke about their editorial experience: how they developed the editorial theme, proposed it to Media-N and put together the edition.
Pat discussed the editorial board’s decision to now simultaneously publish web and print on-demand issues, a resolution based on a number of factors. For example, a print journal is viewed as more significant for faculty members who are under review for retention, tenure and promotion. It requires a larger team for the process, and thus allows us to grow the organization and the available sites of participation for our members. It also generates revenue for the organization helping us to meet our base operating costs. Pat noted that the online and print publications mirror each other in content but differ in design. The publication is freely available online, and the print version may be purchased through a print-on-demand service. Each has a unique ISSN.
Lastly, Pat offered a summary on how we envision the future of the journal and opened the subject up for further discussion in the open dialogue. The conversation revolved around the following topics and questions:
1) Current relationships between emergent fields and new media.
Seeing that an increasing number of NMC members maintain an interdisciplinary, collaborative, and multi-modal practice not defined by electronics, how much emphasis should Media-N devote to these emergent fertile convergences and divergences in the future? How so? Media-N precedents are: artists interviewed in Dynamic Coupling, agriArt, and Intermedia.
2) Themes for future publications.
What are the areas in new media practice that Media-N has not yet represented? For example: social practice works, community art, media/gaming and entertainment, and sound art?
3) Collaborative transdisciplinary publications.
Practitioners in a multiplicity of disciplines are increasingly adopting digital media as research tool and as medium. How can we address this in Media-N? What thoughts are there on having an occasional transdisciplinary collaborative publication: for example Media-N and a journal in another discipline (e.g., visual sociology)?
4) Media-N’s new print format.
Media-N has moved towards a double existence: online archive and matching print-collectable. What are your thoughts on additionally publishing “special editions” that appear uniquely in print format?