Tag Archive: bolter

Week 5 Reading Summary: Remediation

This weeks reading is focused on the idea of remediation, or recycling. Using one medium in another medium. An example would be the content of writing is speech and written word is the content of print. So you take one medium in one form like speech and turn it into another medium, like writing. This is the idea of digital media. They talk about several different ways you can do remediation. There is the option, like in a book that was turned into a film, to simply copy the story and plot and put it into film. You don’t want to make any references to the fact that the book is now a movie, just play out the book and let people watch their favorite story. The story content is simply borrowed. The goal is to have the reader have the same experience watching the movie as they did reading the book. Then there is copying a medium and not trying to change it exactly, just make it better. An example is an electronic encyclopedia. It is the same encyclopedia just easier to use and more easily available.The conclusion  is that, “re-purposing as remediation is both what is ‘unique to digital worlds’ and what denies the possibility of that uniqueness.” Basically the fact that the world wide web is all about re-purposing makes it unique but because they are just reusing mediums that already exist in different forms it makes it impossible for it to ever be unique.

My third analytic paper is about Claudia Davis’ “A Film.”  I really liked the video, it was very well done, and I liked the message the video brought.  The video can be found on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNURgbaxTUk.  The video is made using stop motion techniques and construction paper on a white brick wall, which by the way, makes for a great backdrop.  The video is about pollution and the environment, and how humans are damaging it by not being environmentally friendly, like when she shows CFC’s emitting from the spray cans and spreading around the earth.  The video also shows a fish getting caught in a soda can holder and acid rain, both environmental disasters humanity has wrought.  It is a great example of new digital media.

The video shows a subtle and powerful message that humans are damaging the earth by not caring, and is a perfect situation to show an example of Gladwell’s “small change.”  It’s essentially a video to make you want to help the environment, but as the video can only be as powerful as is audience, it enacts a small change to get people to help out. It enacts the social aspect of Social Media, by not only being uploaded to a social media website, but also attempting to enact a small social change.  It’s a new form of social activism, a new media presentation with an old world message.

This video style has been used since film was first created, stop-motion, but has had resurgence as of late. (Wikipedia, 2011)  The style of the video is perfect for the presentation, with a good frame rate for the images.  The new media concepts in Baym are great for analyzing the video.  The video is interactive in that it has been uploaded to YouTube and now can be commented on, reposted, retweeted, or any other number of distribution means.   The video has become the property of the world.  The video’s temporal structure is asynchronous, with the video being delivered to the viewer.  The videos social cues are obvious, help the environment to prevent bad things.  Its storage is small and light, being able to be stored on YouTube likely forever.  As the video is on YouTube, it can be replicated endlessly, and its potential reach is anyone with an internet connection.  The video is not location specific, and does not include in language with the exception of credits, so would be almost universally understood.

The video shows remediation in its use of a previously recorded audio track, and shows use of classic animation techniques.  Bolter and Grusin show remediation to be “the representation of one medium in another” (Bolter and Grusin, 45). The paper movement is very similar to other stop-motion videos of the past, and the use of construction paper within the context of a stop-motion video is itself a form of remediation.

The video shows participatory culture is that it has an activist message, and that YouTube allows users to leave comments.  Users are also allowed to repost the video on other sites, retweet, Post to Facebook, etc.  Participatory culture is what allows this video to become popular if it ever does.  Liking the video would be a form of participatory culture.

The video was also shot using a camera and edited using a computer, so in itself it is also a form of machinima.   Scenes whose time-lapse was sped up or slowed down was a direct conformation of machinima being used.  The video also shows its development in its digital reproducibility.


Bolter, J. David, and Richard A. Grusin. “Introduction.” Remediation: Understanding New Media. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 1999. Print.

Gladwell, Malcolm. “Twitter, Facebook, and Social Activism.” The New Yorker. 4 Oct. 2010. Web. 08 Dec. 2011. <http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/10/04/101004fa_fact_gladwell?currentPage=all&gt;.

Baym, Nancy. Personal Connections in a Digital Age . Polity, 2010.

Wikipedia. (11 N). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stop_motion

In this article Bolter is trying to argue that remediation is a defining characteristic of the new digital media. He has good points when he says that an encclopedia on disc is not the same as a printed encyclopedia. They still call it an encyclopedia so that you know what it is and they try to make the computer have seamless interuption of your access to this dictionary. It makes it easier for you to use it and they call it a better way because you can do searches quicker. He also has a good point when he talks about the electronic behavior control systems takes old movie clips and inserts them into something that takes them way out of context, and therefor makes us more aware of the original clip and the new clip. Gives us a sense of knowing what the old media is so that we can critique the new one.

I also like how he critiques media theorist Steven Holtzman who talks about how the process of remediation will be left behind in the future, but Bolter disagrees with him  because he knows that media change cannot be significant enough to not be able to be compared to the past devices like this, and even if it does happen then they will be compared to their first generation of the product again down the line which is another form of remediation. This means that remediation is a constant process and that it wont be left behind at least in the foreseen future. He also restates at the end that re-purposing as remediation is both what is “unique to digital worlds” and what denies the possibility of that uniqueness. An interesting statement that shows we will always be comparing uniqueness of objects to other objects from the past that had the same uniqueness at one point.