Media Do Not Exist: Performativity and Mediating Conjunctures by Jean-Marc Larrue and Marcello Vitali-Rosati offers a radically new approach to the phenomenon of mediation, proposing a new understanding that challenges the very notion of medium. It begins with a historical overview of recent developments in Western thought on mediation, especially since the mid 80s and the emergence of the disciplines of media archaeology and intermediality. While these developments are inseparable from the advent of digital technology, they have a long history. The authors trace the roots of this thought back to the dawn of philosophy.
Humans interact with their environment – which includes other humans – not through media, but rather through a series of continually evolving mediations, which Larrue and Vitali-Rosati call ‘mediating conjunctures’. This observation leads them to the paradoxical argument that ‘media do not exist’. Existing theories of mediation processes remain largely influenced by a traditional understanding of media as relatively stable entities. Media Do Not Exist demonstrates the limits of this conception. The dynamics relating to mediation are the product not of a single medium, but rather of a series of mediating conjunctures. They are created by ceaselessly shifting events and interactions, blending the human and the non-human, energy, and matter.