Remediating the apocalypse

The Remediated Self

Bolter and Grusin (1999) also develop a corresponding notion of the double logic of the contemporary self linking the immersive self and the networked self to the immediate and hypermediated aspects of remediation:

There are two versions of the contemporary mediated self that correspond to the two logics of remediation. When we are faced with media that operate primarily under the logic of transparent immediacy (virtual reality and three-dimensional computer graphics), we see ourselves as a point of view immersed in an apparently seamless environment. In a virtual environment we have the freedom to alter ourselves by altering our point of view - techniques pioneered in film and now extended and intensified in digital media. At the same time the logic of hypermediacy, expressed in digital multimedia and networked environments, suggests a definition of self whose key quality is not so much “being immersed” as “being interrelated or connected.” The hypermediated self is a network of affiliations, which are constantly shifting. It is the self of newsgroups and email, which may sometimes threaten to overwhelm the user by their sheer numbers but do not exactly immerse her. (232)

They link this notion of self to notions of representation:

When transparent media fail to satisfy us, opaque (hyeprmediated) media become necessary to our experience of ourselves. If immediacy were possible, if the self could become one with the objects of mediation, then the media would not need to enter into the definition of self at all. We could then be just subjects in the world. But that utopian state is certainly not available to us today, when media are just as much part of our world as any other natural or technical objects. Whenever we engage ourselves with visual or verbal media, we become aware not only of the objects of representation but also of the media themselves. Instead of trying to be in the presence of the objects of representation, we then define immediacy as being in the presence of media. This fascination with media works as the sublimation of the initial desire for immediacy…central to the Western tradition: the desire to be immediately present to oneself. (236)

This web project is an evolving space exploring contemporary manifestations of the apocalyptic in current affairs and popular culture. It is being developed in association with my Ph.D. research and is both a research method and a presentation of that research. In exploring the apocalyptic I am particularly interested in mapping a series of multimodal mythic clusters that are evolving through a process of remediation which I identify as a key cultural logic for an age in which electracy is the new literacy of nomadic subjects. This hypertextual presentation foregrounds affiliational logic and although I hope the project accumulates meaning it does not seek to present a single, formal, linear argument. I have presented some of these ideas in more traditional academic formats in other places. Although the navigational choices are the user's own these tips may be useful. Feedback is very welcome.

Marcus O'Donnell 2005-2006