Tag Archive: grusin

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.


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.