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…
Michael Leong is the author of the poetry books e.s.p., Cutting Time with a Knife, Who Unfolded My Origami Brain?, and Words on Edge. His creative work has been anthologized in THE &NOW AWARDS 2: The Best Innovative Writing, Best American Experimental Writing 2018, and Bettering American Poetry, Volume 3. His co-translation, with Ignacio Infante, of Vicente Huidobro’s long poem Sky-Quake: Tremor of Heaven is forthcoming from co•im•press in late 2019. His critical monograph Contested Records: The Turn to Documents in Contemporary North American Poetry is forthcoming from the University of Iowa Press in May 2020. He has received grants from the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses and the National Endowment for the Arts. He teaches in the School of Critical Studies at CalArts.