Remediating the apocalypse

Remediation: The Cultural Logic of 24

In their writing on remediation Bolter and Grusin (1999) are concerned primarily with the documentation of remediation from the perspective of “representational practice,” particularly as it relates to new media. However they note that it also operates at the level of a “cultural logic.” As such it is a useful way of understanding the dynamic of texts produced in this new media environment.

The remediation that occurs in formal terms between websites, split screen CNN style news, and the split screen style of the television drama series 24, also influences the intertextual relations of the content, or the transfer of meaning, across these different forms.

24's technical or narrative innovations - each series of the show unfolds over the course of one day, in "real time," across split screen locations, over 24 one hour episodes - can be analysed in terms of their attempt to mediate both immediacy (real time) and hypermediacy (split screens). At a semiotic level this analysis is deepened when we note the insertion of news breaks dealing with terrorism, and a community announcement at the show's beginning by the series lead actor, Keifer Sutherland, urging us not to typecast Muslims as terrorists - which of course is, in part, what the show does.

The show's oscillation between split (screen) and real (time) narratives, spills across other screenings of the real in advertising and news.

This web project is an evolving space exploring contemporary manifestations of the apocalyptic in current affairs and popular culture. It is being developed in association with my Ph.D. research and is both a research method and a presentation of that research. In exploring the apocalyptic I am particularly interested in mapping a series of multimodal mythic clusters that are evolving through a process of remediation which I identify as a key cultural logic for an age in which electracy is the new literacy of nomadic subjects. This hypertextual presentation foregrounds affiliational logic and although I hope the project accumulates meaning it does not seek to present a single, formal, linear argument. I have presented some of these ideas in more traditional academic formats in other places. Although the navigational choices are the user's own these tips may be useful. Feedback is very welcome.

Marcus O'Donnell 2005-2006