Tag Archive: summary

Remediation Reading

            The reading by Bolter & Grusin for this week covers the topic of remediation. The authors define remediation as the representation of one type of medium in another. There are many ways in which digital media “remediates” what came before it.  This is dependent on the degree of competition as well as existing rivalry between old media and new media.

            One way is when an old media is accentuated within new media lacking critique or irony. The text uses the CD-ROM versus the DVD as an example of this. Another way is when the differences between old and new media are erased, rather than emphasized. In this case, the new form of media does not desire to be erased completely. This reading also explains that in remediation, digital media can be more or less aggressive. In other words, new media can try to mimic or give a new form to the existing media. The final way, is when new media remediates by attempting to “absorb” the old media completely. The text uses the example of interactive computer games remediating cinema. Overall, this reading explains new media with the focus on remediation, or the representation of one type of medium within another.


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.

Lister New Media (51-59) Coldiron 9/20/2011

In pages 51-59 lister discusses What kind of history new media has. He wants us to think about where this media has come from and what has preceeded it. In class we discussed the online broadcast of a concert with a chatroom included with it. To think about what has made this possible and what came before it we can think how this existed way back when teh beetles were playing on the television and people were calling their freinds chatting about it.

Lister wants us to think about how new something is or if it is just a different way of doing the same thing. Such as watching this concert it is not very different from the past where they would play their music on the television and talk about it over the phone. Its a different way of doing the same things that we used to do in the past. Another example is how new is online streaming of music. I do not think its very new because you could have heard music from the radio since it was invented. Its the same idea, being in a remote location with no one around and still being able to hear music.

Though it is hard to determine between new and old media we do it everyday without thinking. We determine whats new even if it really is not all that new. There are old things that made this new media possible. Thinking about the teleological path it took to become what it is today. No such advances could have happened without small steps in the process.

Manovich – Modularity

By extension of his concept of discrete data, Manovich dedicates an entire section of his research to what he refers to as modularity. The idea behind modularity is similar to discrete data in that new media objects are composed of smaller, independent pieces. One example I gave for the previous section was that a digital image is composed of pixels, which are its discrete parts. Going in the other direction, however, is where modularity begins to take hold. Take a common webpage, for instance. This webpage is considered a new media object, but it also contains many other smaller media objects within it. While most webpages have the aforementioned digital images within them, they can also contain other media, such as video clips, sound bytes, interactive Flash media, text, and so forth. This is just a single page, and its scope is already pretty deep, having multiple types of media objects composing it, each of which have their own discrete data composing them. Zoom out further to an entire website with multiple pages similar to the one described, each linked together using HTML hyperlinks; this website is also considered a new media object. Consider the entirety of the World Wide Web and you begin to see how completely modular the internet truly is.

An additional important concept concerning modularity is the idea that each and every part is not necessary for the whole to exist properly. Unlike old computer programs which required each module in order to run (failing if one were to be deleted), today’s new media objects can add, remove, or modify any piece of its composition and still be perfectly fine. Continuing the webpage example, a particular image could be removed or replaced simply by modifying a single line of HTML code, and the page itself will retain its identity as a new media object.

Manovich – Numerical Representation

The concept of numerical representation that Manovich presents in this portion of the reading describes all “new media objects” as being digitally coded one way or another, i.e. they can be represented with numbers. There are two important ideas that arise from such a statement, and they are as follows:

  1. Media objects can be described mathematically. Vector imagery, for instance, uses mathematical functions to describe shapes, creating pixel perfect representations of that shape at any resolution.
  2. These media objects can be altered using other algorithms to perform various manipulative tasks. An example of this is shown in the fact that digital photos can be easily improved by pressing the button that changes its brightness and contrast, and this button performs an algorithmic calculation to change the mathematical data contained within the photo.

Manovich then details the process of converting old media into new media objects. While many common terms are given, the one that appears to be of the utmost importance is the concept of changing continuous data into discrete data. He defines continuous data as “the axis or dimension that is measured has no apparent indivisible unit from which it is composed.” Put another way, old analog photographs are just that: one photograph. There is no smaller unit that it can be broken into. New media objects are composed of discrete data, however, which means that the information is defined as a collection of distinct units. A digital photograph is composed of a certain number of pixels, for instance. These pixels hold a quantifiable value that determines its color. Images are not the only thing that adheres to the principle of discrete data; all new media objects are composed of smaller, quantifiable units of one form or another.

Another important idea Manovich expresses revolves around standardization. Once a new media object is introduced, the type of information carried within it can be standardized such that future objects of a similar nature have the same type of discrete data. All digital images are composed of pixels, and as such, digital viewing devices must be able to display pixels. Going one step further, these media objects can be easily broken down into their discrete data in order to produce an identical copy. Every time you use the copy/paste functions on your computer, you are adhering to this principle.