Medium

A medium is a technical or physical mean of converting a message into a signal capable of being transmitted along a channel.[9]

Media convert thoughts into forms that can traverse the physical world and be re-converted by one or more senses back into thoughts. Ideally, the artist's "message" will run the gauntlet without being affected by it, but in practice this is rarely the case. The master of one's medium is the degree to which that percentage can be increased, the degree to which the artist's ideas survive the journey-- or for some, the degree to which the inevitable detours are made useful by the artist.

A medium may use many channels.

The technical constraints of a medium define the range of possible codes.

The cultural constraints of a medium define the use of codes.

1   Kinds

Media are divided into three main categories:[9]

  1. Presentational medium
  2. Representational medium
  3. Mechanical medium

1.1   Presentational medium

A presentational medium uses the 'natural' languages of spoken words, expressions, gestures, etc.

  • the voice
  • the face
  • the body

Presentational media require the presence of the communicator, for he or she is the medium, and consequently restricted to the here now.

Presentational media produce acts of communication.

1.2   Representational medium

A representational medium uses cultural and aesthetic convention.

  • books
  • paintings
  • photographs
  • writing
  • architecture
  • interior decorating
  • gardening

Representational media can exist independent of the communicator.

Representational media produce works of communication (text) that record the media of presentational media.

1.3   Mechanical medium

A mechanical medium transmits presentational and representational media.

  • telephone
  • radio
  • television
  • telexes

Mechanical media use channels created by engineering.

Mechanical media are subject to greater technological constraints.

Mechanical media are more affected by level-A noise than representational media.


We call it the media b/c it mediates our perception of reality. You didn't sense that event directly, news of it came over a noisy channel.