Understanding the definition of and differences between hypermediacy and remediation is crucial to anyone interested in media communications. These terms are especially relevant to those studying and working within new media culture or technologies.
Marshall McLuhan, perhaps the most famous media analyst of the 21st century, was first to point out that "the medium is the message." That is, the channel we use to convey a message has an unavoidable effect on how it is understood. Keeping this in mind, hypermediacy is the awareness of the medium by its audience. In other words, hypermediated texts do not try to hide the medium, but rather aim to remind the viewer of its presence.
One way for web programmers, television producers and other media designers to bring about hypermediacy is through remediation. With remediation, one medium appropriates another in an attempt to change or refashion it. According to Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin, all mediums, including new media, are a result of the remediation of another. For example, television remediated film, vaudeville and radio by taking elements from each to create a new medium.
In contrast to remediation, scholars and media consumers might also consider immediacy. With immediacy, rather than being aware of the medium, the audience can transcend it, becoming immersed. With true immersion into a medium, the audience might forget that they are, in fact, consuming media. However, immediacy is nearly impossible to achieve, as media does not make itself and human beings will always be present in the creation process.
- William Paterson University of New Jersey: Hypermedia and Hypermediacy
- "Remediation--Understanding New Media"; Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin; 2000
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