I would like to add something to the issue of representation and its relation to the logic of immediacy that it very often presupposes, one which does not either leave space for mediation or, maybe worse from a political perspective, to that "historical intermediacy"- to use an Homi Bhabha's expression - where the performative nature of differences, included those btw. real/virtual, or real/representation, can emerge.
Bolter and Grusin (1999) date the faith in an "'interfaceless' interface" of digital media back to Renaissance, where they locate the origin of the aesthetic of transparency, manifest in the metaphor of the window used to describe monolinear perspective, which incidentally also accompanies the initial applications of the graphical user interface. In this regard, they quote the example that Norman Bryson makes about oil paint and its use as an "erasive medium". Postulating a correspondence between the medium and what it represents, rather than, more naively, between representation and the thing represented, the illusion of immediacy belongs to those who assert that we now live an unprecendented moment in the history of technologies, given that new technologies will eventually do without mediation. The historical counterpart of this desire for immediacy is the logic of hypermediacy that, rather than seeing representation as a window open toward the world, sees representation as itself "windowed", as a coexistence of multiple points of view. The logic of hypermediacy is not only aware of, but also extremely fascinated by mediation, with which it plays, as we can see from the Medieval manuscripts, the Baroque cabinets of curiosities, the trompe-l'oeil paintings and the collages and photomontages of the the twentieth century, among the several artistic expressions of hypermediacy.
Bolter and Grusin, by the way, point at the interdependence between immediacy and hypermediacy: "just as hypermedia strive for immediacy, transparent digital technologies always end up being remediations, even as, indeed precisely because, they appear to deny mediation" (Ibid., p. 54). Their notion of "remediation" shows precisely how reality and mediation cannot be separately conceived nor practiced, and how digital technologies do not changes the status quo more than they remediate the previous mediations. That is: neither the medium nor the real exist in a pure form, independently from their reciprocal mediation (of their already mediated natures).
Sorry for the long post!
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