After about three years of grappling with this problem on and off, I have figured out the main problem I have with Bolter and Grusin’s concept of ‘remediation’. They write in a note to page 53:
The logic of remediation we describe here is similar to Derrida’s (1981) account of mimesis, where mimesis is defined not ontologically or objectively in terms of the resemblance of a representation to its object but rather intersubjectively in terms of the reproduction of the feeling of imitation or resemblance in the perceiving subject. “Mimesis here is not the representation of one thing by another, the relation of one thing by another, the relation of resemblance or identification between two beings, the reproduction of a product by nature by a product of art. It is not the relation of two products but of two productions. And of two freedoms… ‘True’ mimesis is between two producing subjects and not between two produced things” (9)
The above is fine, but then they go onto to discuss remediation in such a way as to elide the relation of productions. The double movement of differance (differing-deferring) produces a reserve or trace. For example, in terms of the intelligible, the sensible is this trace. The concept of remediation does not seem to include any movement of differing-deferring in the process of mimetic (re)production. The differential-repetition of events through networked media requires some understanding of the repetitive propogation of difference through the difference in perspective of producing subjects. To paraphrase Deleuze, not the variation of truth, but the truth of variation.
I suspect this is because Bolter and Grusin’s argument is organised around the expulsion of the ‘new’ — remediation is not new, there has always been media, etc. — and the shadow of the ‘new’ is cast over ‘difference’. It is as if the always-already trumps difference, indeed, but what about the difference that is part of the always-aready. So not how a compositions of relations expresses differences, but how a composition of relations (remediation) repeatedly incorporates difference.