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Remediation

Jay David Bolter


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Remediation ( Bolter & Grusin 1999 ) refers to a historical process through which newer media forms interact with earlier ones. On the very first page of Understanding media (1964), →  Marshall McLuhan noted that the “‘content’ of any medium is always another medium: the content of writing is speech, just as the written word is the content of print.” Remediation proceeds from this insight, but understands the process as more complex and historically nuanced. The relationship between media is not a linear process of replacement or incorporation, as McLuhan suggested; instead, the media of a given culture enter into a configuration of relationships involving cooperation as well as competition among numerous media. When a new medium is introduced (e.g., film at the beginning of the twentieth century, television in the middle, or the computer at the end), the whole configuration may shift. Designers and producers working in the new medium may seek to take over the roles previously played by the established media, and their counterparts in the established media may respond either by yielding easily or by reasserting their own roles (→  Design Theory ). This dual process of appropriation and reappropriation will remain ongoing as long as the various media remain vigorous. Today, printed materials (books, magazines, newspapers), film, television, and radio remain important, although ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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