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Volume 18, 2017

Paul Majkut
Pages 19-29

Mediated, Unmediated, and Immediated

The philosophical context of media shifts is found in production details that occur during a cusp period of media change, when an older medium is supplanted by a newer one. The purpose here is to remove media barriers that stand between the thing-in-itself and the mediated knower. The point is not to mediate, but, first, to unmediate through detailed analysis and practice, then to immediate. The point is not to embody one’s self in media, but to disembody today’s reader trapped in Renaissance perspective. Visual tropes of Renaissance title-page frames, for example, set a pattern of participation that transforms the reader from an active to passive viewer. The Renaissance printed book is a building in which a text is stored. The architecturally-positioned reader enters through a portal on the first page. A medium is best understood from the inside, by doing rather than observing, accepting that theory arises from praxis. If we were to shed mediated communication, what would our attitude towards the natural world be? A media epoché that suspends mediated communication would be uncomfortable for those who had become dependent on such media. Heidegger and Derrida claim that it is necessary to cross out (sous rature) the printed word “Being” (“Being) because it is “inadequate but necessary.” But all words are inadequate and necessary. A text has two simultaneous and contradictory aspects: textual autonomy and intertextuality. The inability of the printed page to capture Heidegger’s meaning is not a failure of typography or language, but the consequence of pretentious typographical trickery.

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