Industrial printing press printing a magazine

The Age of Print and Remediation

The invention of the printing press was one of the most significant moments in human history. It allowed us to mass produce texts that would normally take people months to copy. The printing press ushered in the “age of print”, now since the advent of computers we are in the “late age of print”. Print media is still used but through “remediation” they are being transferred into digital media.


The process of remediation is when you take something like a print text and transfer it to another medium, like an electronic form. One useful aspects of remediation include the ability to make texts available to a much wider range of people, through the internet. The speed at which information can be put out there is also another positive aspect. Instead of mailing letters, you can simply send an email instantly. People can also see digital representations of paintings that they would normally not be able to see.

There are many positives in remediation, but there are people who would argue against it. When it comes to physically written media you generally put more thought into what you are writing, since it is difficult to rewrite with a pen and paper. Emails lack the formality of a written letter because of this. The speed of sending an email outweighs the need for formality. Electronic texts are also less concrete than reading words on a page. When you close a book you are reading the words still exist. When you are reading online the words dematerialize after you turn the computer off.

Remediation is an overall positive, just because of how easily information can be dispersed. While it is less real than a book in your hand the accessibility makes it useful. In the late print age remediation is going to become much more common.

Photo by: Bank Phrom


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