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  1. 1. MULTIMODALITY Key themes from week 7
  2. 2. Visuals - Canny-Francis <ul><li>Visuals have the ability to carry meaning that would be laborious to explain verbally. </li></ul><ul><li>Visuals engage the senses, not just the brain </li></ul><ul><li>The result is multimodal texts that convey multiple meanings </li></ul>
  3. 3. Discourse <ul><li>Discourse is (according to Foucault) - a set of statements that articulate a particular way of thinking, feeling and being in the world. </li></ul><ul><li>Traditionally used with the verbal, it can also be used with the visual “to discuss the kinds of meaning a text can make available to viewers”. </li></ul><ul><li>Discourse can be used to describe meaning-making across a range of modalities and so is particularly useful in the study of multi-modal texts. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Giger’s Alien <ul><li>Just a normal, scary-looking alien… </li></ul><ul><li>Until you apply a Gothic/Gender Hierarchy/Freudian reading to it. </li></ul><ul><li>The alien can be considered a multimodal text for the multiple ways in which it can be interpreted. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Gothic reading <ul><li>“… a contemporary spin on Gothic’s fundamental preoccupations with the nature of boundaries…” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Gothic has traditionally mounted this challenge through nightmare scenarios and images that confront comforting ‘normalising’ assumptions - about gender, sexuality, etc.” </li></ul><ul><li>The alien is androgynous. </li></ul><ul><li>It is “a monstrous projection of Western fears about sexuality - as penetrating and/or devouring”. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Gender Hierarchy Reading <ul><li>Consider the gender hierarchy - the feminine is supposedly weak and permeable, the masculine is penetrative and impermeable. </li></ul><ul><li>This is hierarchy is broken down by the alien as it “indiscriminately penetrates both masculine and feminine subjects - in the process demonstrating that both feminine and masculine bodies are permeable.” </li></ul><ul><li>Kane being penetrated by the face-hugger is “payback” for all those horror films in which sexually vulnerable women were terrorised by rampaging male monsters (Dan O'Bannon - Alien ’s scriptwriter). </li></ul>
  7. 7. Intentional or not? <ul><li>These meanings appear to be intentional by Giger. </li></ul><ul><li>But, if a specific meaning is not intended by the author, is it still applicable? </li></ul><ul><li>Canny-Francis offers one example where it is - in the case of The Two Towers . </li></ul>
  8. 8. The Two Towers <ul><li>Some viewers were disturbed by the fact the the second LOTR film was subtitled The Two Towers because, for them, the name recalled the September 11 terrorist attacks. </li></ul><ul><li>“ In this case, extra-diagetic or contextual factors have added substantially to the text’s potential meaning.” </li></ul><ul><li>But is unintended meaning always applicable? </li></ul>
  9. 9. Does this apply? <ul><li>Salience - a website for USYD Online Journalism students. </li></ul><ul><li>Hypothetically - a theorist claims that the sunlight spreading out behind the clouds on this banner is representative of a new day/new era in education. </li></ul><ul><li>The author of the image explains that the tower and the building were the focus and the arrangement of the cloud and sunlight simply made for a good looking photo (aesthetic appeal). </li></ul><ul><li>Is the theorists claim applicable? </li></ul>
  10. 10. A visceral response <ul><li>Visuals can strategically position viewers to interpret the text in line with a particular discourse. </li></ul><ul><li>… of sympathy or loathing, calm or disquiet, fear or desire.” </li></ul><ul><li>Consider the election ad campaigns. How do they manipulate your response? </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  11. 11. The internet as multimodal <ul><li>The internet is highly multimodal. </li></ul><ul><li>It shares many of the modes of other media: </li></ul><ul><li>It offers text, like a magazine or newspaper. </li></ul><ul><li>It offers static images, like a photograph. </li></ul><ul><li>It offers video, like a television. </li></ul><ul><li>However, it is unique in that it is “interactive in a way that none of those other media are, offering the user the possibility of self-directed activity. </li></ul>
  12. 12. The mp3 as multimodal <ul><li>An mp3 is a compressed audio file designed to be used on computers and portable mp3 players. </li></ul><ul><li>However, Sterne argues that the mp3 should be also viewed as a cultural object. </li></ul><ul><li>Even though they are not physical objects, the fact that they can be ‘owned’ and ‘collected’ suggests that they can be considered cultural objects. </li></ul><ul><li>By offering this different interpretation of what an mp3 ‘is’, Sterne is highlighting its multimodality. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Sound as multimodal <ul><li>“ Sound is a product of perception, not a thing‘out there’ - the only thing out there is vibration, which the body organizes and stratifies into what we call sound.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ The body shapes vibrations before they enter the ear and become sound”. </li></ul><ul><li>As such, each body interprets these vibrations differently. The differences might be minimal, but that does not mean they don’t exist. </li></ul><ul><li>If sound is a result of individual perception (not unlike The Two Towers example) we must consider it to be multimodal also. </li></ul>
  14. 14. To conclude… <ul><li>Visuals are multimodal as they can be interpreted or used in a number of ways. </li></ul><ul><li>The same can be said for technology such as the internet and mp3s. </li></ul><ul><li>The discourse can be shaped intentionally by the author, or unintentionally by the reader. </li></ul><ul><li>Context plays a key role in the shaping of discourse, just as your body plays a key role in shaping sounds. </li></ul><ul><li>In what ways can we benefit from understanding the multimodality of visual images and technologies? </li></ul>