Some thoughts for discussion at today’s webinar- Edit Olah

The text I have read to generate some thoughts for today’s webinar is:

Bolter, Jay and Grusin, Richard, 2000. Immediacy, Hypermediacy, and Remediation. In Remediation -Understanding New Media. Cambridge Mass.: MIT Press. Available at:

Bolter’s and Grusin’s book is examining the relationship between immediacy and hypermediacy in remediation.

The authors explain this very well in the ‘Introduction:The Double Logic of Remediation:

‘In addressing our culture’s contradictory imperatives for immediacy and hypermediacy, this film demonstrates what we call a double logic of remediation. 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.’

It was important for me to understand these words perfectly so I looked the definitions of these 3 up in the dictionary.




the correction of something bad or defective.


–verb (used with object)

  1. to settle (disputes, strikes, etc.) as an intermediary between parties; reconcile
  2. to bring about (an agreement, accord, truce, peace, etc.) as an intermediary between parties by compromise, reconciliation, removal of misunderstanding, etc.
  3. to effect (a result) or convey (a message, gift, etc.) by or as if by an intermediary.

–verb (used without object)

  1. to act between parties to effect an agreement, compromise, reconciliation, etc.
  2. to occupy an intermediate place or position.


  1. acting through, dependent on, or involving an intermediate agency; not direct or immediate.


–noun, plural -cies.

1. the state, condition, or quality of being immediate

2. Often, immediacies. an immediate need: the immediacies of everyday living.

3. Philosophy

a. immediate presence of an object of knowledge to the mind, without any distortions, inferences, or interpretations, and without involvement of any intermediate agencies.

b. the direct content of the mind as distinguished from representation or cognition.


1. The condition or quality of being immediate.2.

2. Lack of an intervening or mediating agency; directness: the immediacy of live television coverage

3. Something immediate, as in importance



(usually used with a singular verb) a system in which various forms of information, as data, text, graphics, video, and audio, are linked together by a hypertext program.


A computer-based information retrieval system that enables a user to gain or provide access to texts, audio and video recordings, photographs, and computer graphics related to a particular subject.

It was quite confusing first, however, after reading the text of the book further I could crystalise the relevant meanings for these phrases.

Remediation, remediate:

‘to effect (a result) or convey (a message, gift, etc.) by or as if by an intermediary.’


‘immediate presence of an object of knowledge to the mind, without any distortions, inferences, or interpretations, and without involvement of any intermediate agencies.’


‘a system in which various forms of information, as data, text, graphics, video, and audio, are linked together by a hypertext program.’

The book refers to immediacy, hypermediacy, and remediation as ‘practices of specific groups in specific times’ under ‘the current cultural assumptions’.

I found this very interesting and true in our heavily media-orientated world, where technology made perhaps a bit too much information in incredibly various format available.

The text made me think about a number of questions:

  • Why the authors refer to immediacy as transparent and not invisible?
  • How does the logic of trasparent immediacy work in 3D movies and computer graphics?
  • What is realistic? Copying the existing world or fiction presented in an absolutely believable form?
  • What is the relationship between reality and virtual reality in terms of immediacy?

These are the questions I would like to discuss today’s webinar.

Relevant quotations from the text:

Chapter 1

Immediacy, Hypermediacy, and Remediation

‘We do not claim that immediacy, hypermediacy, and remediation are universal aesthetic truths; rather, we regard them as practices of specific groups in specific times.’

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

‘What we wish to highlight from the past is what resonates with the twin preoccupations of contemporary media: the transparent presentation of the real and the enjoyment of the opacity of media themselves.’

‘The Logic of Transparent Immediacy

‘Virtual reality is immersive, which means that it is a medium whose purpose is to disappear. This disappearing act, however, is made difficult by the apparatus that virtual reality requires.’

‘As computer scientists themselves put it, 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).’

‘The logic of transparent immediacy is also at work in nonimmersive digital graphics—that is, in two- and three-dimensional images projected on to traditional computer, film, or television screens.’

‘If even ten years ago we thought of computers exclusively as numerical engines and word processors, we now think of them also as devices for generating images, reworking photographs, holding videoconferences, and providing animation and special effects for film and television.’

‘interfaceless” interface’

‘And it is apparent in the triumph of the graphical user interface (GUI) for personal computers.’

‘The desktop metaphor, which has replaced the wholly textual command-line interface, is supposed to assimilate the computer to the physical desktop and to the materials (file folders, sheets of paper, inbox, 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.’

‘Virtual reality, threedimensional 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.’

‘The Logic of Hypermediacy’

‘The multiplicity of windows and the heterogeneity of their contents mean that the user is repeatedly brought back into contact with the interface, which she learns to read just as she would read any hypertext.’

‘One reason that this style has not been exhausted is that it functions as a cultural counterbalance to the desire for immediacy in digital technology. As a counterbalance hypermediacy is more complicated and various. In digital technology, as often in the earlier history of Western representation, hypermediacy expresses itself as multiplicity. If the logic of immediacy leads one either to erase or to render automatic the act of representation, the logic of hypermediacy acknowledges multiple acts of representation and makes them visible.’

‘On the other hand, hypermediacy can operate even in a single and apparently unified medium, particularly when the illusion of realistic representation is somehow stretched or altogether ruptured. For example, perspective paintings or computer graphics are often hypermediated, particularly when they offer fantastic scenes that the viewer is not expected to accept as real or even possible. Hypermediacy can also manifest itself in the creation of multimedia spaces in the physical world, such as theme parks or video arcades. ? p. 173 In every manifestation, hypermediacy makes us aware of the medium or media and (in sometimes subtle and sometimes obvious ways) reminds us of our desire for immediacy.’

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