Hypermediacy is a "style of visual representation whose goal is to remind the viewer of the medium" (Bolter and Grusin 272). Hypermediacy plays upon the desire for immediacy and transparent immediacy, making us hyper-conscious of our act of seeing (or gazing). In Psycho, when we see an extreme close-up of Norman Bates's eye as he watches Marion Crane through the peephole, then find ourselves looking through it ourselves, Hitchcock foregrounds the act of seeing, implicating the viewer in the voyeurism that is at the root of Norman's (and our?) psychosis. Hitchcock's is an act of hypermediacy.

Hypermediacy is an expression of our fascination with the medium itself (or some would say anxiety over it). It is a self-referentiality of the visual and has become so pervasive that we see it as the theme of films like Last Action Hero (1993; Dir. John McTiernan), in which Jack Slater (Arnold Scharzenegger) plays both an action hero and Arnold Schwarzenegger himself and in which the film screen is permeable by characters on either "side." Computer games like Myst hypermediate themselves as expressions of the desire for the end of the book (in Myst, three characters, all evil in the end, are trapped as video images in a book).

— "A Brief Glossary of Remediation"
from A Review of Remediation: Understanding New Media (Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin, MIT Press, 2000).
Review by David Blakesley
Purdue University

Hypermediacy: desire and anxiety