Markdown as a Medium


Writing is an external of the self, that is external to the body, it is a technology that has to be learnt to have meaning.

René Magritte, one of the most renowned artist of the movement of Surrealism explores this through his work La Trahison des Images or The Betrayal of Images, incorporating the painting «Ceci n’est pas une pipe» or “This is not a pipe”.

He described his paintings as “visible images which conceal nothing; they evoke mystery and, indeed, when one sees one of my pictures, one asks oneself this simple question, ‘What does that mean?’ It does not mean anything, because mystery means nothing, it is unknowable.”

In this way, just as Surrealism sought a revolution against the constraints of the rational mind, Markdown strives to separate text of structure from style to make it more simple and accessible.

Image of Egg La Clairvoyance, self-portrait by René Magritte (1936)

In art, “the artist’s medium is the body” as cited on the MoMa’s website:[] ( as depicted in this performance art:

We can see in this performance the evolution of pottery through the process of breaking down these artifacts, showing that new media is always haunted by old media leading us to the limitations of new media

Liu mentions Jacques Derrida’s Tristes Tropiques discussing the surmise of media and expressing a sentiment of disenchantment, reminding me of Derrida’s leading concept of deconstruction.

Deconstruction according to Derrida:
Philosophical concerns

  • A desire to contribute to the re-evaluation of all Western values, a re-evaluation built on the 18th-century Kantian critique of reason, and carried forward to the 19th century, in its more radical implications, by Kierkegaard and Nietzsche.
  • An assertion that texts outlive their authors, and become part of a set of cultural habits equal to, if not surpassing, the importance of authorial intent.
  • A re-valuation of certain classic western dialectics: poetry vs. philosophy, reason vs. revelation, structure vs. creativity, episteme vs. techne, etc.

In a similar manner, the progress of technology and the evolution of this new medium, i.e. Markdown and any other that involves writing can lead to skepticism and fear of a certain loss of control such as the diminution of authorship and memory.