Bolter and Grusin – Remediation (1999) III

In
the final section of Remediation, B&G break out three self orientations–three
varieties of self in light of the forceful processes of remediation: the
remediated self, the virtual self, and the networked self.  The remediated
self basically begins with a notion of self as summative and re/configurable
(like William James’ empirical self (233)) rather than rigid or authentic. 
Remediated self gives way to (at least) two variations of self:  immersed
and interrelated/interconnected.  These selves correspond to the poles of
remediation; the immersed experiences the visually mediated as transparent and
immediate; the interrelated/interconnected self experiences the visually
mediated as opaque and navigable (232).  According to B&G, we experience
ourselves in both ways.  This connects up with expressive activity, too.
Virtual reality (where the user moves through) fits with romantic selfhood,
while opacity and ubiquitous computing are akin to the fixed-subject self of the
Enlightenment.  The clearer part of this first chapter in section
three–"The Remediated Self"–builds on the duality of self as object and
subject in the specific case of bodybuilding.  In bodybuilding, when "the
body is reconstructed to take on a new shape and identity," the body as medium
seems most plausible (237).

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Bolter and Grusin – Remediation (1999) II

Let’s call this entry part two of three. I’m a bit behind (behind what? just
my own schedule), but I’m through the application chapters–the middle 140 pages
of B&G.  In the paragraph opening into the final section, "Self," B&G write
that these middle chapters are applications of remediation as a process. 
In their glossary, B&G define remediation this way:

remediation Defined by Paul Levenson as the "anthropotropic" process
by which new media technologies improve upon or remedy prior technologies. 
We define the term differently, using it to mean the formal logic by which new
media refashion prior media forms.  Along with immediacy and hypermediacy,
remediation is one of the three traits of our genealogy of new media. (273).

B&G discuss remediation as this logics-guided process involved with a variety
of media throughout section two: computer games (88), digital photography (104), photorealistic
graphics (114), digital art (132), film (146), virtual reality (160), mediated
spaces (168), the www (196), and ubiquitous computing (212).  In the final
section, "Convergence," B&G offer an explanation for more various push-pull
relationships among media.  Whereas remediation tends to describe a uni-directional
process of influence, convergences are akin to blends–multi-directional
shapings felt among media (where television flows into the www and the www flows
into television).  Convergence rel. to remediation: a sloshing media
spillway, a complex subversion of remediation’s teleology.

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Bolter and Grusin – Remediation (1999) I

The remediation project depends on a double-logic.  Tangled around and
around one another, bread-tie like, hypermediacy (opacity) and immediacy
(transparency) stand as the two poles between which all remediation oscillates
(again, oscillations, as from Lanham).  Hypermediacy is the
"frenetic design" that comes with exciting and blending mediaforms into one
another.  Immediacy refers to the dreamwish of closing the gap
between the real and the mediaform.  Hypermediacy invites others to
enjoy the interplay (explicit); immediacy strives for the perfect
mimesis, a match with reality so convincing that the real/virtual distinctions
wash together, ripple-free (tacit).  Remediation, relative to these poles,
synthesizes, collects them together again, keeps order, shepherds inventive
deviations and garbled others back in step: web ‘pages’ inhere newspaper layout,
television inheres film, blogs, just like diaries. 

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Eloquent Images I

Bolter – "Critical Theory and the Challenge of New Media," 20-36
In this brief article, the first in Hocks and Kendrick’s Eloquent Images,
Jay Bolter begins with a historical overview of the image-word problem. 
He traces a larger outline of new media by propping up a series of artificial
dichotomies: visual-verbal, theory-practice, critique-production,
ideological-formal (34); the project of new media is to collapse these terms. 
Bolter explains that unlike film and television, which few cultural critics
conceived of as full-scale replacements for print, the web and its hyper-blended
forms of discourse introduce a different kind of contest between old and new media
forms. Yet it would be a mistake to view new media forms and print as strict
teleological trajectories, each edging out the other, competing for a mediative
lead.  This matters differently if you’re the CEO of a Weyerhaeuser, I
suppose, and maybe there’s something to the race track metaphor (one car to
each, one driver, one big-dollar sponsor) that admits or allows for the capital
backing of media forms.  That’s not really Bolter’s point here. He
explains, "It is not that there is some inadequacy in printed media forms that
digital forms can remedy: New digital media obviously have no claim to inherent
superiority" (24). 

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Retromediation and Novelty

Cross-posted to
Network(ed) Rhetorics.

Frankly, as I read "Remediation, Genre, and Motivation: Key Concepts for
Teaching with Weblogs," by Brooks, Nichols and Priebe, all of NDSU,
I wondered about the consequences of framing
weblogs as remediations of older forms–the journal, the notebook and the
filter.  What results from a setup of weblogs that calibrates their
potential in terms of paper-based corollaries?  It’s difficult to know
exactly how this was framed beyond the evidence we find in
the article
(the framework, the research narrative, the questionnaire, the data-sets, the
conclusion) and in the related links (the

weblogs themselves
,
a
syllabus
,

a reading list
,

adjacent


assignments
) so I’m reluctant to respond to the essay with firmly resolved
skepticism, especially considering that it reflects some of the earliest uses of
blogs to teach writing. Yet through this limited lens, I have doubts about

why we need to liken blogs to paper
counterparts.  What’s gained?  Is it a way to legitimate composition
pedagogy adventurously (inventively, imaginatively!) straying from
long-recognized forms, forms often occupying the lion’s share of weight in the
event-oriented syllabus or program-wide curricular design?  Is it a way to
call up, for students, a sense of the familiar?  Although it is, perhaps to
a lesser degree than resonates in this article, necessary at times to present
students with a grounding in the familiar, when Brooks et. al. tell us, "we
wanted to balance the novelty of the activity with a grounding in familiar
literate practices," my initial thought is that a high stakes
flattening/deadening/adequation is inevitably brought about.  And this, I
think, must bear on motivation, if only subtly, tacitly.

What do I suggest instead?  Well, it
depends on the broader aims of the course. For collective course blogs, I’m less
and less inclined to model exemplary entries for the whole class, and rather
than talking about what blogs enable by connecting them to the written forms
they (more or
less) resemble, I
prefer to introduce blogs to students in terms of their impact on how we

think (sure, paper variations impact
thought, too), develop and write with/about ideas and so on (more to this, but
I’ll let it rest here).