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No Medium

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I published a review of Craig Dworkin’s No Medium (MIT Press, 2013), a study about “works that are blank, erased, clear, or silent,” in the latest weekend edition of Hyperallergic.  This is a bit of what I said:

…in “The Logic of Substrate,” the first and strongest chapter of the book, Dworkin provides a definition that affords us a more elegant and refined, if not novel, understanding of how media operate: “Those objects that are casually referred to as ‘media,’ … are perhaps better considered as nodes of articulation along a signifying chain: the points at which one type of analysis must stop and another can begin; the thresholds between languages; the limns of perception.” In this sense, the title No Medium acts as a kind of homophonic and edifying mnemonic: to realize that there is no medium — or better yet, to put the term “medium” sous rature, that is, under erasure — is to know media in a richer and, to use Dworkin’s own phrase, “more robust” way.

I notice that Amazon lists the book with a significantly different cover…as if it were deliberately supplanting what appears to be a polaroid photograph with the older medium of monochromatic painting, a kind of lighter version of Yves Klein’s blues.  Can anyone account for this difference?  

The image is embossed on the cover and I’m guessing that might have something to do with it…

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Michael Leong is the author of four volumes of poetry, e.s.p., Cutting Time with a Knife, Who Unfolded My Origami Brain?, and Words on Edge, as well as a translation of the Chilean poet Estela Lamat, I, the Worst of All. His poems have appeared in jubilat, Lana Turner, New American Writing, Tin House, Verse Daily, The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing, and elsewhere. Excerpts from a new manuscript in progress is forthcoming in Best American Experimental Writing 2018. He is Assistant Professor of English at the University at Albany, SUNY.

5 thoughts on “No Medium

    1. My guess, like your hunch, is that it has either to do with the embossing, or maybe this a proof. Who knows, but Amazon is littered with duplicate listings and messed-up metadata, so not surprising to see!

  1. the alternate cover reminds me of Crispin Sartwell’s “Six Names of Beauty,” which I was very disappointed to learn does not actually have a glitched out modification of a generic stock photo of a smooth stone as its cover image, but instead just the actual generic stock photo of a smooth stone: http://www.amazon.com/Six-Names-Beauty-Crispin-Sartwell/dp/0415979927

    I thought the unintentional version was highly appropriate considering the subject matter!

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