Volume 16, 2014
Between Yesterday and Tomorrow
Anna Caterina Dalmasso
Le médium visible. Interface opaque et immersivité non mimétique
The relation of reciprocal co-implication that Merleau-Ponty formulates—and on which he insists throughout his work—between sense and the sensible, perception and expression, and then visible and invisible, transforms the way in which one conceives of the medium. Merleau-Ponty’s aesthetics reveals an idea of the medium as a support that erases itself in the act of conveying the signification and also shakes the direct correlation between transparency and mimetic simulation.
Understood as the sensible thickness of the body opening onto the world, then as depth and écart that catalyzes vision, the medium, then, furnishes one of the definitions of flesh, as the element of auto-mediation: connective tissue or fabric of communication that is at once écart and internal difference. Merleau-Ponty conceives of the medium as both that which renders and that which is rendered visible. It is therefore no longer an intermediary; it ceases to be an invisible mediator and becomes the opaque element that reveals in filigree the movement of gestaltic difference.
It is from such a Merleau-Pontian conception of medium that one can begin to elaborate the complex issues posed by mediality in the post-medial age. The idea of a “visible medium” permits us to break with the confl ation of the simulation’s immersive effect and performance, which often informs the rhetoric concerning medias and new technologies, in order rather to think of an “opaque interface” or an “non-mimetic immersivity.” From such a conception of mediality we can equally understand the phenomenon of numerical convergence, not as the accomplishment of the suppression or dematerialization of the medium, as is the case with traditional theories, but as the point of departure for a return to the body as the condition of possibility for every aesthetic experience.