Media are always and at once substances and channels, both things and bridges. When we use this word medium, it is sometimes though not always clear in which sense we are using it. With broadcast media (television, radio) we tend to emphasize the network aspect. With fine art media (paint, ink, stone, clay), we tend to emphasize the material aspect. Yet as the 17th century painter and architect Frederico Zuccari reminds us in his writings about drawing as an artistic practice and medium, the inscription of a mark on a page is itself a bridge between an idea and its external realization. Thus every act of inscription is at once blending these two senses of the term media, thing and network. However, with digital media, the distinction between the two aspects of the term medium appear to be conflated and to collapse into each other. In this paper, I explore ways in which it may be possible to recuperate both senses of the term medium in a digital age by first acknowledging the importance of materiality to textual representation and communication practices and secondly, by developing a nomenclature for accurately describing the actions involved in such practices.
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