La Forge’s VISOR and the Pictures in Our Heads: Understanding Media Studies Through Star Trek

  • Nathanael BassettEmail author


Media studies involves looking at more than what we see on a television screen. It focuses on one of the inescapable aspects of human experience – the relationship between people and technology (“technics” [1]), and the mediation of our experiences. We never experience phenomena directly. Instead, our experiences are mediated through things between us and the world. Media studies explores both content and form of media. It focuses on the relationships that different types of media foster, the messages we receive via a medium, and the material qualities of artifacts and systems through which we experience the world. Geordi La Forge’s VISOR, as found in the fictional world of Star Trek, is a prime example. It is both “the medium and the message”, in Marshal McLuhan’s terms [2]. Beyond the example of the VISOR, all of us depend on complex socio-technical systems to mediate our experiences. Media studies works to reveal how these systems contribute to our lives and help to constitute our social world. Drawing from many different disciplines, media studies scholars investigate the means of communication we otherwise take for granted.


Media studies Communication Mediation Technology Epistemology VISOR La Forge 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA

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