Rethink Time and Space…(repeat)

For as long as I’ve been teaching media, I’ve come to a greater understanding of the necessity of understanding space and time. There are many many ways of approaching an understanding of both of these dimensions. And I don’t mean to reassert something that’s (only) a simple dualism. But coming to some understanding of how space and time work together in your thinking about media is essential.

Every incidence of an experience with media has what Harold Innis would have called a time biased dimension and a space biased dimension. Put simply, The time bias allows a particular idea to continue through time unchanged. The space bias, on the other hand, allows an idea to extend over space. Think carving in stone versus notes on paper.

The way Innis ((1951) The Bias of Communication. Toronto: University of Toronto Press) understood it, The more emphasis you put out a message lasting through time, the harder it is to extend it over space. Correspondingly, The more emphasis you put on extending a message over space subjects it to more potential change.

The digital environment makes this messy, of course. More on that later. But, any chance that we have to consider and discuss how we come to understand the relationship between time and space becomes valuable to the way we experience all media.

Time and space. Permanence and change. Ritual and transmission. Oral and literate.

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Ralph Beliveau Media Arts Area Head Associate Professor, Creative Media Production @ralphbeliveau Dr. Beliveau is on faculty for the Gaylord College and affiliate faculty in both Film and Media Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies. He co-authored Digital Literacy: A Primer on Media, Identity, and the Evolution of Technology (2016) and co-edited the forthcoming collection International Horror Film Directors: Global Fear (December 2016). He writes and teaches about media education and literacy, race, horror media, documentary, rhetorical criticism, video production, film, popular culture, music & cultural studies, and documentary theory production & history. He has written about network society, documentary rhetoric, horror media, The Wire, African American biographical documentaries, Alex Cox, Supernatural, Richard Matheson, Night Gallery, Italian film, and Paolo Freire and media literacy. He previously taught Radio/TV/Film at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and broadcast journalism, popular culture, and rhetoric while doing graduate work at the University of Iowa. Beliveau ran an FM radio station and cable television studio in Chicago and worked in Los Angeles in independent film and television production. He served as editor of the Journal of Communication Inquiry, chair of the Cultural and Critical Studies division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, and chair of the Student Documentary Competition for the Broadcast Education Association. Beliveau is part of the team of faculty who leads the British Media Tour annually and also taught Italian Popular Film and Literature in the Journey to Italy program in Arezzo. Beliveau earned his B.S. from Northwestern University and Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. More can be found at

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