What I appreciated and respected about Murray’s piece was her intention to depict what she sees as two separate strands of engagement with new media and the philosophy of new media, symbolized by the artist and the engineer. In fact, I did not find much to disagree with Murray about, since her arguments were based around two social groups that she perceived as the necessary elements of the development of new media. In Manovich’s piece, however, I found trouble with his statement that old and new avant garde creations are not aiming at the same thing: representing the world in a new way. As though he has missed his own point, Manovich seems unwilling to concede that the new forms of avant garde, these forms of data and information manipulation, are still just ways representing the world in a new way.
These novel understandings of the world, represented in data and graph, are in fact the greatest contribution of these new avant garde artists to our expanding world; consider this TED talk and then assess for yourself whether or not these new forms of media are some of the most intriguing and engaging representations of reality yet produced: http://www.ted.com/talks/hans_rosling_shows_the_best_stats_you_ve_ever_seen.html
It seems that these new processes of data mining and processing are not merely ways to re-present old media, but are being used for artistic representations reality in their own right (even if those who create things like Rosling’s charts are simply doing their job, without recourse to artistic inspiration).
I simply think Manovich missed an obvious similarity between these old and new avant garde artists, especially when I stop and consider how much of my life has been spent analyzing data graphs without ever stopping to consider their world-representative qualities, but only because they were so intuitively understood as being world-representative.