"To McCullough, computer animation, geometric modeling, spatial databases – in general, all forms of media production or design – can be said to be 'crafted' when creators 'use limited software capacities resourcefully, imaginatively, and in compensation for the inadequacies of prepackaged, hard-coded operations' (21).... Again, as Sennett suggests, we 'assert our own individuality' against the prepackaged, predetermined processes and limitations of the tools we're using. Craftsmanship, says aesthetic historian David Pye, is 'workmanship using any kind of technique or apparatus, in which the quality of the result is not predetermined, but depends on the judgment [sic], dexterity and care which the maker exercises as he works' (45).
'Workmanship engages us with both functional and aesthetic qualities. It conveys a specific relation between form and content, such that the form realizes the content, in a manner that is enriched by the idiosyncrasies of the medium' (McCullough p.203). '[E]ach medium,' McCullough says, 'is distinguished by particular vocabulary, constructions, and modifiers, and these together establish within it a limited but rich set of possibilities' (McCullough p.230). Similarly, each methodology, or each research resource, has its own particular vocabulary, constructions, modifiers, obligations, and limitations. We need to choose our tools with these potentially enriching, and just as potentially debilitating, idiosyncrasies in mind. Do we need advanced software, or will iMovie suffice? Do we need to record an focus group in video – or will the presence of the camera compromise my rapport with my interviewee? Will an audio recording be more appropriate? Do we need to conduct primary interviews if others have already documented extensive interviews with these same subjects? Do we need to conduct extensive, long-term field-work – or can we accomplish everything in a short, well-planned research trip? How do I match my problem or project to the most appropriate tool?"
(Shannon Mattern, Words in Space)
Malcolm McCullough, Abstracting Craft: The Practiced Digital Hand (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1996).
"In the future, as depicted in the 2002 film Minority Report, our periodicals will create interactive, hybrid reading/viewing experiences-with built-in sound and motion-based commercials rather than static advertisements, incorporating news footage with pages that dissolve and re-form to reflect breaking stories. Despite minute gestures in that direction, such as the Amazon Kindle and G24, The Guardian’s PDF newspaper that’s updated throughout the day, that vision of media-if there’s really a market for it-is a long way off. ...
Nevertheless, something ... is now available weekly from Dennis Publishing, the company that gave the world The Week, Maxim and several other British 'lad magazines' as well as launched their American spin-offs. Monkey is proportioned like a glossy, has an interface that mimics the turning of pages and even has a magazine-like layout: margins, a basic two-column grid, images combined with text and print-like pacing. The difference is that Monkey’s text sparkles (literally, if not figuratively), dances and slides onto the page. Many of the photos will turn into movies or slideshows (some rather naughty) when clicked, and on some spreads users can shuffle page elements, substituting one image for another. The format also changes to serve its content. A small mini-magazine with short reviews is digitally 'stitched' into the 'middle' of each issue. Additionally, most advertisements come alive, thanks either to Flash, streaming video or some combination, showing previews of movies or commercials for products framed by the equivalent of a full-page ad.
To be sure, Monkey does nothing that isn’t done on other websites, and it has formal predecessors for its page interface-the arty This Is a Magazine, for one, and the webified versions of print glossies from Zinio for another. But unlike the wider web-which has evolved its own vocabulary and conventions for storytelling-and other web magazine predecessors-for which the turn-the-page interface seems a formal conceit-Monkey truly blends old and new media design conventions in a way that is both appalling and appealing."
(Jandos Rothstein, 29 January 2008)
Fig.1 Monkey Magazine, 2011. Dennis Publishing, Issue 183, pp.8,9.