Bolter and Grusin's Definition of Remediation

In Bolter and Grusin's Remediation, they define the "double logic" of remediation as such: "Our culture wants both to multiply its media and to erase all traces of mediation: ideally, it wants to erase its media in the very act of multiplying them" (Bolter and Grusin 5). They imply that current culture thrives on the integration of different types of media and the instantaneous publishing of those amalgamations. To describe the relationship between these fusions, Bolter and Grusin state, "The desire for immediacy leads digital media to borrow avidly from each other as well as from their analogy predecessors such as film, television, and photography. Whenever one medium seems to have convinced viewers of its immediacy, other media try to appropriate that conviction" (Bolter and Grusin 9).

Remediation of Literaturexternal image dvd-carmen.jpge

Hutcheon in her book A Theory of Adaptation describes a remediation as a type of adaptation that translates the content to a different medium. She states that “because adaptations to a different medium, they are re-mediations, that is, specifically translations in the form of intersemiotic transpositions from one sign system…to another” (pg.16). For example, George Bizet’s opera Carmen is not just an adaptation of Mérimée’s Carmen since it translates content from the written medium of the novel to the musical medium of the opera. Although the plot of the opera is similar to the original text, the remediation of combining music to the story creates a different emotional attachment to the opera for the audience.

Another example is the remediation of the jazz genre into the novel Jazz by Toni Morrison. In this remediation, or adaptation, Morrison transforms the elements of jazz music into fictional characters and a story line that represents these elements. For example, the first word (or sentence) of the novel is “Sth” (pg.1). This immediately gives the reader a sense of the Bebop as well improvisational styles of jazz music.



Remediation in Contemporary Media


One definition of remediation states that it is “the combination of different variations of digital media to achieve a better form of media that essentially gets across the same point, if not a better one”. But an underlying question remains: Is remediation always a more positive outcome, or a better result of getting across the same point? It can be argued that remediation can have both positive and negative outcomes. For example: The movie “Across the Universe” can be considered a remediation of various Beatles songs shown through film. It incorporates not a single original Beatles track, but instead it has covers of their songs done by other people in completely different ways. The character names in the movie are all names of people as heard in Beatles songs such as “Lucy” (from “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,”) “Eleanor” (from “Eleanor Rigby,”) and “Billy Shears” (from “With a Little Help from my Friends,”) etc. But the film does not follow the story of the Beatles in any way or the story behind the characters in which they are named after. The movie received great reviews by some, but for others it was considered a poor portrayal of initial Beatles music and history. When comparing to the original, this film is a prime example of how remediation does not always achieve a “better” form of media.


In the postmodern world new forms of media have given rise to novel opportunities for remediation. The video game, in the modern era, has become a complete virtual experience. Since the player is placed directly in control of the protagonist, there is instant emotional attachment and immersion. In a novel or a film, immersion is achieved by lengthy dialog and plot development (although video games do employ both these methods) but in video games all that is required is love of the self and the drive for self-preservation to find a connection. Film directors have found that remediation of vieo games comes with many justifiable perks; first of all every movie adaptation of a game has already set in place a large following, so failure due to obscurity rarely is the case, and second they are accessible to a mass audience because most video game based films produced appeal to majority standards.

Although video game based movies are popular presently, they do not add anything of merit to film. Video games fail as movies because they are not narratives; it is a puzzle and a game that is given the semblance of a storexternal image mortalkombat_movie.jpgy. These aspects make video games enjoyable to play and when they are done with skill and craft they are heralded as great games. A game can have a complex story and strong character development but if the game mechanics are shoddy then the game will flop. The Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat movie franchises are based on video games that involve simple 2D fighting; to make a movie about two opponents battling in an arena over and over again would not create an enthralling film, so a half-believable story is required. What it does create though, is the intensity of facing someone head on and suffering the sting of defeat when you lose. It’s not right to say that a good movie can’t be made from a video game but the difficulty equates to adapting a computer programing manuscript into a ballet.