Remediated Spaces

Remediated Spaces

 Bolter and Grusin’s chapter Remediated Spaces looks at physical and non-physical public spaces within the world which refashion or which have been refashioned by media.  Much of the chapter is dedicated to a discussion on the hypermediation and transparency of theme and amusement parks, with much of the focus on Disneyland and Disney World. It then progresses into a look into remediation as it appears in city centers of Europe and the shopping mall of America. Bolter and Grusin cite the work of Augé heavily, who coined the idea of a nonplace.  The authors consider cyberspace itself a nonplace, and conclude the chapter with a study of the theology of cyberspace.
The chapter deals heavily with theory and therefore connects closely with the chapters on the theory of Mediation and Remediation and Networks of Remediation.  Let’s start with the fun stuff: Disneyland/Disney World.  Here is a place where hypermediation and transparency are juxtaposed – they are able to exist as one. B& G state that hypermediacy is apparent not only in the “electric light and sound but with specific references and remediations of particular Disney films, songs, and animated characters” (p. 170). At the same time, transparency exists by giving visitors the chance to step into the films they have seen by riding rides which reenact a certain part of the movie of meeting the famous characters they see on film.  B&G are careful to point out that while these experiences may not be “transparent” for most adults, they surely are for children who think the experiences and characters are authentic.B&G refer back to the the concept of “economic repurposing” in their discussion of Disney, as well.  Just like a company like Marvel might make a comic book into a movie, Disney made films and television shows into a mediated space, the amusement park.  This is not in rivalry of the predecessor, but in mutual relation.  As B&G assert in Networks of Remediations, “A medium in our culture can never operate in isolation, because it must enter into relationships of respect and rivalry with other media” (p. 65).  In the case of economic repurposing, there is no rivalry – only respect.  If the films do well, so will the amusement park.  And so on.

B&G’s reference to Augé’s idea of nonplaces is intriguing.  They mention shopping malls, city centers, airports, train stations, and Cyberspace all as nonplaces in that all of these places have a “quality of detachment.” In other words, if you were to be plopped down in one of them, you would have little indication of where you were in the world.  They are, in fact, detached from the world around them.  B&G note that these places are ripe with hypermediacy and also only function as public places during their hours of operation.

This is where the theology of Cyberspace comes into play.  I believe Cyberspace does not meet the criteria of a nonplace in that it acts as a public place at all hours of the day – it is never turned off or shut down.  However, thinking of Cyberspace as a mediated space in its own – a space which a person can actually feel as if they may enter into and interact with – revolutionizes the human conception of space.  This sort of theology is something which requires further examination to fully (ok, even somewhat) comprehend.

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