NMI 2007 – part I


Since I don’t have a mobile phone blogging tool or even a laptop I couldn’t life blog from the NMI conference at the academy of sciences. So here comes a little summary about the topics and speakers of last Wednesday.

The NMI conference brought together people from very diverse fields. A main goal was to promote the discussion about current issues in media such as e.g. film, TV etc. on a broad level.

The welcome speeches by a representative of the Alcatel-Lucent foundation (which supported the conference) and Prof. Klaus Rebensburg (coorganisator of the conference) indicated that despite the title of the conference: “Film, Computer and TV in the sign of content” the paradigma of the semantic web suggests that an emphasis has sometimes also to be put on context.

After the welcome speech section A: “Media and public space” started. The introductory keynote was given by Prof. Jürgen Mittelstraß (Uni Konstanz), head of the Alcatel-Lucent foundation about “media consumption and knowledge ressources”, where among others it was stated that humankind is still very far from understanding and modelling a real artificial intelligence.

The second part of section A: “From the arguing towards the reacting public” was delivered by Prof. Wolfgang Coy. In a historical review he demonstrated how the primarily oral communications like in the greek polis changed into a public space which was to a great extent mediated by newspapers (like in the 18th century), how this public space again changed with the onset of broadcast and TV and how finally the internet with its MUD’s, Games, Chatrooms, weblogs etc. forms a new public. In a critical reflexion he asked how this new public may – in view of the diversity of the involved groups – pose a threat to the “public sphere” in its function as a mediator of a democratic culture.

After the break section B: “Media production and media content” started with a talk by Jennifer Hofmann about projects at the Film & Television Academy (HFF) “Konrad Wolf” like e.g. about a collaboration intended for improving the workflow for animation productions which is between the HFF and (if I understood correctly) the Communication University of China (CUC) and finally the company mental images. She also spoke about the – since 2005 existing – symposium “Insight out” where the complete production chain from “screen play, preproduction” over “accquisition”, “production”, “postproduction” and distribution is discussed. As an example she showed a lecture by Gary Goldman about his new film “Next” in which Nicolas Cage is able to forsee 2-min-ahead time events and able to alter their future. In particular “Next” is a reference to the structure of common narratives in video games, where one “replays” a situation until one succeeds to enter another level.
The talk was originally thought to be given by Prof. Ulrich Weinberg, visiting professor at the CUC and from 2005-2007 head of the Digital Media Institute of the HFF, however he was busy due to a new appointment as head of the new school of design thinking at the Hasso-Plattner Institute in Potsdam. The new “school of design thinking” is a Berlin/Potsdam analogue of the d-school in Stanford.

After Jennifer Hoffmann’s talk the emphasis of the section was more laid on the relation between content and media distribution. Dr. Klaus Illgner-Fehns manager of the IRT -Research and Development Institute for the public Broadcasting Organisations in Germany (ARD, ZDF, DLR), in Austria (ORF) and in Switzerland (SRG/SSR) displayed among others that the actual forms of technical media, like cable networks and end-user appliances a.s.o. are getting more and more diverse. In particular this complexity of technical possibilities leads to a kind of “irritation” on the side of the end-user who looks for a simple solution. This suggests that “all-in-one” packages, managed services and especially brands will obtain a more and more important role. This could turn out to be problematic if service providers also start to provide content.

After the coffee break Prof. Arnold Picot from LMU Munich chaired the “executive directors table” with Helmut Egenbauer of T-Systems, Media and Broadcast, Dr. Klaus Illgner-Fehns of the IRT, Dr. Wolf-Dieter Lukas director generale of the ministry of science (BMBF) where under participation of the audience again problems of mobile infrastructures and content production, funding strategies in research and development, as well as general issues of broadcast, media, mobile&providing and media policies were discussed. The issue of regulations was raised. It was asserted that communities will be at the center of the future web and thus it was discussed how this affects media distribution, access and content. Among others – if I understood the answer to my question about the strategies of the BMBF with regard to free access to scientific publications correctly – the BMBF thinks about providing financial support to researchers in order to enable the guarantee of essential authors rights in scientific publishing.

After the discussion Ingo Wolf of GRID TV – a company which provides IPTV stations gave an overview about the growing IPTV boom, which was a bit shortened due to the boat trip which took place afterwards.

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