[-empyre-] intro abstract extract: The medium is the usage

Hi regulars,
have been observing only since the beginning of the week and already have seen that there is some interesting thinking going on here. By way of introduction I'd like to post for discussion some of my abstract for a paper with the working title, "The medium is the usage":
"[...] Whilst working in the field of hypermedia documentary producing an artefact, dense with data and in itself without mass but for the CD-ROM from which it may be shared, this author happenstanced upon streams of logic with potential to soothe his angst about the relevance of his imagemaking practice.
The essential ingredients of this balm may be distilled from fresh understanding of the process involved in the production of artefactsâmediation. One component is an awareness of virtuality as a condition in a flux of ontological states as theorised by some contemporary scholars. Another is derived from an interpretation of the actor-network theory of Callon and Latour that enables broader application of that discourse than the narrower techno-scientific claim to socio-political significance that those authors attributed to it.
Semiotic models of mediation that have been devised by three contemporary theorists are cited. One, from Pierre LÃvy has much to offer our understanding of how tools virtualise human activity.  Another, from Donna Harraway, the author of "The Cyborg Manifesto", is a model that challenges traditional oppositions such as, between nature and culture, and, between self and other. The third is one proposed by N. Katherine Hayles, which she claims is demonstrated by a common preoccupation in cybernetics, literature and informatics during the second half of the twentieth century. Her model shows materiality and information; and, mutation and hyperreality as being oppositional nodes.
This author will overlay these three different models of mediation so that some congruence is apparent in a new derivative visualisation that shows how the condition of mediation and the condition of manipulation may work in a balanced opposition to each other in the globally networked computer environment. This prepares the way for further argument, that some digital artefacts designed for networked computer mediation may demonstrate the potential for offering, on behalf of human, natural and non-human entities, some socio-political agency.
It will be demonstrated that the networked computer, with agency for reception, calculation and dissemination, offers a means to overcome the potential for manipulation that was inherent in the one-way mediation that typified the mass media model of the modern period. This is a significant issue. It provides for us in the digital era an alternative to Marshall McLuhanâs widely accepted notion that the âmedium is the messageâ. This may now be supplanted with the precept that "the medium is the usage". [...]"
yours tentatively,
otherwise known as
Ashley Holmes 
Faculty of Informatics and Communication 
Central Queensland University 
Mackay Campus 

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