Thesis Info

Thesis Title
Reversed Remediation. How Art Can Make One critically Aware of the Workings of Media
Saskia Korsten
2nd Author
3rd Author
Master's Thesis New Media
Number of Pages
University of Amsterdam
Thesis Supervisor
dr. Edward A. Shanken
Supervisor e-mail
e.a.shanken AT
Other Supervisor(s)
Language(s) of Thesis
Department / Discipline
New Media
Languages Familiar to Author
Dutch, German, English, French
URL where full thesis can be found;lang=nl;c=uvascript;sid=7ce78e360f6ea5123e290c62c61541a6;rgn1=entire%20record;q1=saskia%20korsten;sort=publicationyear;cc=uvascript;view=reslist;fmt=long;page=reslist;start=1;size=1
hypermediacy; hyperreal; immersion; remediation; uncanny
Abstract: 200-500 words
In this thesis I argue for reversed remediation as a counter-mechanism of remediation as explained by Bolter and Grusin as serving a historical desire for immediacy. Following McLuhan’s fear for the narcotic state which the user of a medium can enter when becoming a closed system with the medium; reversed remediation offers a chance to wake up the viewer. It creates a state of critical awareness about how media shape one’s perception of the world. Reversed remediation works counter to remediation mechanisms in the sense that it makes the media visible instead of transparent. It makes critical awareness possible because it lays bare the workings of media instead of obfuscating them. It goes beyond the reflectivity as proposed by Bolter and Gromala that does not reflect on the medium from the outside but rather reflects on the medium from within, in order to improve its formal workings without critically examining its effect on the way one perceives the world. Reversed remediation is one tip of an oscillation between reversed remediation and remediation. Hypermediacy is used in both reversed remediation and remediation as an operational method. In remediation, hypermediacy (multiplying technologies) is used to make possible a seamless transition between different (older and newer) media in order to render all media transparent, which follows a historic desire for immediacy. In reversed remediation, hypermediacy is used to display the incongruities between media in order to frustrate immersion and fosters critical awareness. The oscillation between hypermediacy towards remediation and reversed remediation has at its mid-way point a fulcrum, where the movement hovers for a moment and can be pushed in either direction. To push it towards remediation, the multiple media used must work together to create a familiar outcome which soothes the user into immersion. To push it towards reversed remediation, the multiple media used must work together to create an unfamiliar (uncanny) outcome which propels the user out of immersion and into a state of critical awareness. In this thesis art works are used as case studies because artists are known for their experiments and critical outlook on the media they use. I focus on artists who not only use older and newer media critically, but also those who can evoke this critical awareness about media in the mind of the viewer. In the works of René Magritte, Evelien Lohbeck, and David Claerbout, the Freudian uncanny is used as a vehicle to propel the viewer out of the state of immersion. In Magritte’s La Reproduction Interdite (1937) the uncanny is situated in a mirror-image of the painted subject which duplicates the viewer’s outside view rather than the view inside the painting. This leads to a hyperawareness of the viewer’s perspective being integrated into the painting, this also leads to the state of immersion being frustrated. In Lohbeck’s noteboek (2008) this happens when one wants to manipulate a drawn duration bar and one suddenly realizes that an analog environment is inserted into a digital environment and incongruities come to light. In Claerbout’s work the uncanny can be found in how analog objects are animated by digital technology as illustrated by the breeze in an originally analog postcard.