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Media critics remain captivated by the modernist myth of the new: they assume that digital technologies such as the World Wide Web, virtual reality, and computer graphics must divorce themselves from earlier media for a new set of aesthetic and cultural principles. In this richly illustrated study, Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin offer a theory of mediation for our digital age that challenges this assumption. They argue that new visual media achieve their cultural significance precisely by paying homage to, rivaling, and refashioning such earlier media as perspective painting, photography, film, and television. They call this process of refashioning "remediation", and they note that earlier media have also refashioned one another: photography remediated painting, film remediated stage production and photography, and television remediated film, vaudeville, and radio. <P>In chapters devoted to individual media or genres (such as computer games, digital photography, virtual reality, film, and television), Bolter and Grusin illustrate the process of remediation and its two principal styles or strategies: transparent immediacy and hypermediacy. Each of these strategies has a long and complicated history. A painting by the seventeenth-century artist Pieter Saenredam, a photograph by Edward Weston, and a computer system for virtual reality are all attempts to achieve transparent immediacy by ignoring or denying the presence of the medium.
The relationship of digital art to innovation in the practice of design is the subject of Windows and Mirrors: Interaction Design, Digital Art, and the Myth of Transparency by Jay David Bolter and Diane Gromala. Centered on a conception of art practice that emphasizes the function of experimental forms, Gromala and Bolter postulate that digital art can directly inform the trajectory of interaction design. By shaping a discourse around issues of artistic practice, Windows and Mirrors is an analysis of the material engagement and desire to define the computer as media.
When Bolter (Georgia Institute of Technology) finished the first edition in the early 1990s, the World Wide Web was only a couple years old and was still used primarily by research centers and universities. Changes in the technology, the use of it, and the perception of it has convinced him to shift the focus of the second edition to show how hypertext and other forms of electronic writing refashion the forms and genres of print.
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