The past century has seen a never precedented expansion of media systems. The increasing complexity of their use in everyday life as well as in institutions has called for corresponding stategies of reduction of this complexity. The tendencies of globalization have been matched by accomanying preferences for regionalization. The process of medialization of everyday life, at the same time, appears as a process of the domestication of the media (Sihvonen). This very complex process of both functional differentiation and structural implementation of expanding media systems is in the focus of modern media semiotics. It observes the change of habits of reception and new forms of interactive use of interrelated media as well as the strategies of selection from redundant information offerings within limited time budgets.
For centuries, the epistemological procedures and forms of argumentation within the framework of the humanities have been determined by the written word. How can their key concepts, their traditions, their frames of knowledge and memory be transformed from symbolic codes to poly-coded forms of depiction? Which specific media competences have to supplement the traditional ones? What are the new techniques of discourse and coherence in new media as opposed to the ones in old media? How can the information stored in the nets be used, navigated, structured? Will there be new modes of representation and narration? How are the same themes dealt with in concomitant media such as newspaper, television, internet? Which will be the consequences for our everyday routines of communicative behaviour (e.g., in telecommunication)? Or for our perception of works of digital art (music, pictures, texts, games, homepage design)?
The session aims at presenting a forum of discussion of some of the leading questions shaping the description of the evolution of media systems from a diachronical perspective, and providing a stimulus for analysing how and to what extent old media texts, production practices and use patterns exist side by side with their new counterparts in a changing media environment, and how the blurring of old and new media and media texts creates hybridized borderlines (Luukka). Borders are increasingly blurred, borders between local and global, author and audience, fact and fiction, between and among texts, between the verbal and the visual, and to sketch new maps of these borderlines calls for a multidisciplinary approach of media semiotics.