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Transparent Immediacy vs. Hypermediacy

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I give three groups of opposite example, the postcard vs. the skydiving photo, the screenshot of SKY Mobile TV vs. FaceTime, and the realistic vs. abstract paintings to illustrate the difference between transparent immediacy and hypermediacy.

Photo-realistic paintings by Alyssa Monks

1) (Compared to the example of abstract paintings,) Transparent immediacy is when a medium attempts to distant itself from its truest form, such as this touching shower painting. For the Realist artist, the world is a given and the sole aim of the artist is to describe this world without subjective. At first glance, this image looks like a scene caught by a photographer because it captures the essence of real life.

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Photo-realistic paintings by Alyssa Monks

2) The details like the woman’s eyelashes enable the painting to look as natural as possible. Its realism makes the user “no longer aware of confronting a medium”, which can be considered as the most important trait of immediacy (Bolter 24).

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1)Compared to live sport shows, which emphasize the presence of the medium in front of the user, the online video conversation like FaceTime for Mac is gradually striving for transparent immediacy. According to Bolter and Grusin’s “Immediacy, Hypermediacy, and Remediation”, transparency refers to the purpose of interface designers – to make the interface intuitive by erasing itself for the user.

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2)As shown in the picture, the figures on the screen directly smile at the camera lens, which implies they forget the conversation is not actually live. FaceTime places the user right in front of a human conversant, trying to weaken the presence of the computer by removing the window frame and controls as soon as the conversation begins. Its intentions completely comfort to people's understanding of transparent immediacy.

(Compared to the example of FaceTime) The screenshot of SKY Mobile TV is an example of hypermediacy due to the sports information presented on the bottom of the screen and discussion topics on the right side. This information is contantly changing and updating, which leads to the fact that the audience cannot only focus on what the hosts are saying. In other words, the presence of Mobile TV is very apparent so that the user is continually brought back to and made aware of the interface.

Bolter claims immediacy refers to users’ desire for an immediate connection with the medium. This skydiving scene creates a sense of immediacy because the photograph was most likely taken by the person holding the child’s hands. This sense of reality and presence in the sky leads to an exciting effect on viewers since the picture is very clear and natural. Thus, the viewer does not really think about the presented medium but instead the figures on the picture.

As a controversial art form, postcards often emerge clear images in which you lose yourself in its beauty. However, the immediacy is also removed because of the text placed in the middle of the image or the frame of pictures, etc. In this example, these “decorations” like text and frame do not make it less appealing, but instead attract the viewer to see the true scene someday. At the same time, they also represent the value of postcards which is different from normal photos.

This abstract painting can be sought as an example of hypermedia according to its exaggerated use of color. Due to the increasing competitions with other media like silent films during the 20th century, the expressionism of painting switched from realism to more abstract in order to bring attention to painting itself. Unlike the example of transparent immediacy, in which the painting attempts to disappear, this painting puts emphasis on the presence of itself.