Bolter and Grusin, “Remediation: Understanding New Media”

As far as understanding new media went, it was hard to understand this piece. Something that might play into the misunderstanding would be the age of the piece. This piece was published in 1999 and the technology described back then has come very far since then. If this was published today, I feel like it would be a completely new piece. If they thought media and technology was persuasive and reforming that many years ago, it has taken over even more now. What I got from it was that digital media is used to portray realism the best it can. Bolter and Grusin comment, “In order to create a sense of presence, virtual reality should come as close as possible to our daily visual experience” (22). Film, photography, and television are just a few examples of media that shows a virtual reality. Playing off of these examples, I believe the last paragraph of part 2 of this piece was important. Bolter and Grusin write, “The advocates of ubiquitous computing express grandilo- quently the implied goal of all advocates and practitioners of digital media: to reimagine and therefore to reform the world as a mediated (and remediated) space. Again this is not new. For hundreds of years, the remediation of reality has been built into our technologies of repre- sentation. Photography, film, and television have been constructed by our culture to embody our cultural distinctions and make those distinc- tions part of our reality; digital media follow in this tradition. Nor will ubiquitous computing be the last expression of remediation as re- form-as the burgeoning promises made on behalf of “push media” already remind us” (62). The line that sticks out to me most is the one about photography, film and television. People today depend on these medias to tell us what is real and what is not. It feels to me like we believe everything we see and we put trust in things that we shouldn’t. Yes we get a better sense of what the world is like through television say, but a show will not tell us the difference between the real and fake things in life nor will they tell us what is most important in this world. We should not base all of our cultures and ideas solely on what is told to us, we should believe in what we want to believe in. It’s even said that, “…the idea of technologies that embody our cultural values or distinctions has been a feature not only of modern but of “amodem” or “premodern” societies as well” (62).

When discussing with other students in the class they brought up some other interesting points in this reading. The mentioning of computer games was one of these topics. My colleague explained that our era grew up with computer games because we were so young when they first began popular. Games are a way to go through reality only virtually, through a screen. You’re doing it through digital ways and it’s almost as if you’re completing the action in the flesh. Another colleague explains that remediation as reform is good. One reason for this is, “…because all mediations are both real and mediations of the real, remediation can also be understood as a process of reforming reality as well” (56).  The more reformation, the more old can be made better and newer. This can lead to improvements which leads to progress and success.



2 thoughts on “Bolter and Grusin, “Remediation: Understanding New Media”

  1. Hi! Sorry for the late comment! I instantly connected to what you said about if this piece was written today we would have a totally different piece. It is so interesting to me that we only came so far over the years because it seems like in today’s society we are moving at lightening speed when it comes to remediation. I also totally loved what you wrote about “how people today depend on media to tell what is real.” Have you ever noticed that when a news broadcaster says something EVERYONE immediately believes it because the media is formal and just supposed to be correct? Or how when a picture depicts something, truth is instantly taken from it? It is crazy to think about when you take a step back. We have a lot of similar ideas about this subject that we can use in our project 3! Good job!

  2. Good analysis! I liked how you talked about how we take film and photography as the truth without question. Would you consider Photoshopped pictures to be remediation? Even though they take a piece and alter it like traditional remediation, I feel like it goes even further and, in some cases, completely changes the meaning. I agree that remediation is generally a pretty positive concept in that it improves earlier media, but do you think Photoshop is maybe an example of negative remediation?

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