Geo Barcan: Bolter&Grusin - Remediation

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Bolter & Grusin: REMEDIATION


  • Virtual reality is an experiment in cinematic point of view.
  • Our culture wants both to multiply its media and to erase all traces of mediation: ideally, it wants to erase its media in the very act of multiplying them. [transparency]
  • To fulfill our apparently insatiable desire for immediacy, "live" point-of- view television programs show viewers what it is like to accompany a police officer on a dangerous raid
  • Many web sites are riots of diverse media forms-graphics, digitized photographs, animation, and video-all set up in pages whose graphic design principles recall the psychedelic 1960s or dada in the 1910s and 1920s. ⇒ and television news format resemble this aesthetics through their hypermediacy

New Media: What is new about new media comes from the particular ways in which they refashion older media and the ways in which older media refashion themselves to answer the challenges of new media.

1. Immediacy, Hypermediacy, and Remediation

Immediacy → perspective painting → "perspective means seeing through" → students of linear perspective promised immediacy through transparency

  • Virtual reality is immersive, which means that it is a medium whose purpose is to disappear. ⇒ With the head-mounted display in particular, virtual reality is literally "in the viewer's face. ⇒ the goal of virtual reality is to foster in the viewer a sense of presence: the viewer should forget that she is in fact wearing a computer interface and accept the graphic image that it offers as her own visual world (Hodges et al. 1994). ⇒ ENTER THE NARRATIVE FOREST, NARRATIVE THEORIES
  • ZINE : The desktop metaphor, which has replaced the wholly textual com- mand-line interface, is supposed to assimilate the computer to the physical desktop and to the materials (file folders, sheers of paper, in- box, trash basket, etc.) familiar to office workers. The mouse and the pen-based interface allow the user the immediacy of touching, dragging, and manipulating visually attractive ideograms. Immediacy is supposed to make this computer interface "natural" rather than arbitrary.
  • What designers often say they want is an "interfaceless" interface, in which there will be no recognizable electronic tools-no buttons, windows, scroll bars, or even icons as such. Instead the user will move through the space interacting with the objects "naturally," as she does in the physical world. Virtual reality, three- dimensional graphics, and graphical interface design are all seeking to make digital technology "transparent".
  • In this sense, a transparent interface would be one that erases itself, so that the user is no longer aware of confronting a medium, but instead stands in an immediate relationship to the contents of that medium. ⇒ But can technology exist without pointing to its mediated or hypermediated nature? Can the mediation, the interface be fully erases without living in a Baudrillardesque simulation? How will one be able to distinguish between what is real and what is not? Isn't then reality a transparent interface whose medium, created by our own subjectivity, we are facing directly?




IMMEDIACY = that the medium itself should disappear and leave us in the presence of the thing represented (kind of immersiveness, absorption)


⇒ Immediacy is achieved by by ignoring or denying the presence of the medium and the act of mediation. All of them seek to put the viewer in the same space as the objects viewed

transparent interface = an interface that erases itself = denying the mediated character of digital technology altogether.


⇒ Today as in the past, designers of hypermediated forms ask us to take pleasure in the act of mediation, and even our popular culture does take pleasure.


⇒ Remediation always operates under the current cultural assumptions about immediacy and hypermediacy.