Multimodal Discourse Analysis Systemic Functional Perspectives


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Multimodal Discourse Analysis Systemic Functional Perspectives

  1. 1. Multirnodal Discourse Analysis Systemic-Functional Perspectives
  2. 2. Open Linguistics Series Series Editor Robin Fawcett, Cardiff University The series is 'open' in two related ways. First, it is not confined to works associated with any one school of linguistics. For almost two decades the series has played a significant role in establishing and maintaining the present climate of 'openness' in linguistics, and we intend to maintain this tradition. However, we particularly welcome works which explore the nature and use of language through modelling its potential for use in social contexts, or through a cognitive model of language - or indeed a combination of the two. The series is also 'open' in the sense that it welcomes works that open out 'core' linguistics in various ways: to give a central place to the description of natural texts and the use of corpora; to encompass discourse 'above the sentence'; to relate language to other semiotic systems; to apply linguistics in fields such as education, language pathology and law; and to explore the areas that lie between linguistics and its neighbouring disciplines such as semiotics, psychology, sociology, philosophy, and cultural and literary studies. Continuum also publishes a series that offers a forum for primarily functional descriptions of languages or parts of languages — Functional Descriptions of Language. Relations between linguistics and computing are covered in the Communication in Artificial Intelligence series, two series, Advances in Applied Linguistics and Communication in Public Life, publish books in applied linguistics and the series Modern Pragmatics in Theory and Practice publishes both social and cognitive perspectives on the making of meaning in language use. We also publish a range of introductory textbooks on topics in linguistics, semiotics and deaf studies. Recent titles in this series Classroom Discourse Analysis: A Functional Perspective, Frances Christie Construing Experience through Meaning: A Language-based Approach to Cognition, M. A. K. Halliday and Christian M. I. M. Matthiessen Culturally Speaking: Managing Rapport through Talk across Cultures, Helen Spencer-Oatey (ed.) Educating Eve: The 'Language Instinct' Debate, Geoffrey Sampson Empirical Linguistics, Geoffrey Sampson Genre and Institutions: Social Processes in the Workplace and School, Frances Christie and J. R. Martin (eds) The Intonation Systems of English, Paul Tench Language Policy in Britain and France: The Processes of Policy, Dennis Ager Language Relations across Bering Strait: Reappraising the Archaeological and Linguistic Evidence, Michael Fortescue Learning through Language in Early Childhood, Clare Painter Pedagogy and the Shaping of Consciousness: Linguistic and Social Processes, Frances Christie (ed.) Register Analysis: Theory and Practice, Mohsen Ghadessy (ed.) Relations and Functions within and around Language, Peter H. Fries, Michael Cummings, David Lockwood and William Spruiell (eds) Researching Language in Schools and Communities: Functional Linguistic Perspectives, Len Unsworth (ed.) Summary Justice: Judges Address Juries, Paul Robertshaw Syntactic Analysis and Description: A Constructional Approach, David G. Lockwood Thematic Developments in English Texts, Mohsen Ghadessy (ed.) Ways of Saying: Ways of Meaning. Selected Papers of Ruqaiya Hasan. Carmen Cloran, David Butt and Geoffrey Williams (eds) Words, Meaning and Vocabulary: An Introduction to Modern English Lexicology, Howard Jackson and Etienne Zé Amvela Working with Discourse: Meaning beyond the Clause, J. R. Martin and David Rose
  3. 3. Multimodal Discourse Analysis Systemic-Functional Perspectives Edited by Kay L. O'Halloran continuum LONDON NEW YORK
  4. 4. Continuum The Tower Building 15 East 26th Street 11 York Road New York London SE1 7NX NY 10010 © Kay L. O'Halloran 2004 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage or retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publishers. British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. ISBN: 0-8264-7256-7 Library of Congress Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the Library of Congress. Typeset by RefineCatch Limited, Bungay, Suffolk Printed and bound in Great Britain by MPG Books Ltd, Bodmin, Cornwall
  5. 5. Contents Introduction 1 Kay L. O'Hallomn Part I Three-dimensional material objects in space 1 Opera Ludentes: the Sydney Opera House at work and play 11 Michael O'Toole 2 Making history in From Colony to Nation: a multimodal analysis of a museum exhibition in Singapore 28 Alfred Pang Kah Meng 3 A semiotic study of Singapore's Orchard Road and Marriott Hotel 55 Safeyaton Alias Part II Electronic media and film 4 Phase and transition, type and instance: patterns in media texts as seen through a multimodal concordancer 83 Anthony P. Baldry 5 Visual semiosis in film 109 Kay L. O'Halloran 6 Multisemiotic mediation in hypertext 131 Arthur Kok Kum Chiew Part III Print media 7 The construal of Ideational meaning in print advertisements 163 Cheong Tin Yuen
  6. 6. vi CONTENTS 8 Multimodality in a biology textbook 196 Libo Guo 9 Developing an integrative multi-semiotic model 220 Victor Lim Fei Index 247
  7. 7. This book is dedicated to my mother, Janet O'Halloran
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  9. 9. Introduction Kay L. O'Halloran Multi-modal Discourse Analysis is a collection of research papers in the field of multimodality. These papers are concerned with developing the theory and practice of the analysis of discourse and sites which make use of multiple semiotic resources; for example, language, visual images, space and archi- tecture. New social semiotic frameworks are presented for the analysis of a range of discourse genres in print media, dynamic and static electronic media and three-dimensional objects in space. The theoretical approach informing these research efforts is Michael Halliday's (1994) systemic- functional theory of language which is extended to other semiotic resources. These frameworks, many of which are inspired by Michael O'Toole's (1994) approach in The Language of Displayed Art, are also used to investigate mean- ing arising from the integrated use of semiotic resources. The research presented here represents the early stages in a shift of focus in linguistic enquiry where language use is no longer theorized as an isolated phenomenon (see, for example, Baldry, 2000; Kress, 2003; Kress and van Leeuwen, 1996, 2001; ledema, 2003; Ventola et al., forthcoming). The analysis and interpretation of language use is contextualized in conjunction with other semiotic resources which are simultaneously used for the con- struction of meaning. For example, in addition to linguistic choices and their typographical instantiation on the printed page,1 multimodal analysis takes into account the functions and meaning of the visual images, together with the meaning arising from the integrated use of the two semiotic resources. To date, the majority of research endeavours in linguistics have tended to concentrate solely on language while ignoring, or at least downplaying, the contributions of other meaning-making resources. This has resulted in rather an impoverished view of functions and meaning of discourse. Language studies are thus undergoing a major shift to account fully for meaning-making practices as evidenced by recent research in multimodality (for example, Baldry, 2000; Callaghan and McDonald, 2002; ledema, 2001; Jewitt, 2002; Martin, forthcoming; Kress, 2000, 2003; Kress et al., 2001: Kress and van Leeuwen, 1996, 2001; Lemke, 1998, 2002, 2003; O'Halloran, 1999a, 2000, 2003a, 2003b; Royce, 2002; Thibault, 2000; Unsworth, 2001; Ventola et al., forthcoming; Zammit and Callow, 1998). Multimodal Discourse Analysis contains an invited paper by Michael
  10. 10. 2 INTRODUCTION O'Toole, a founding scholar in the extension of systemic-functional theory to semiotic resources other than language. The collection also features an invited contribution from Anthony Baldry, a forerunner in the use of inform- ation technology for the development of multimodal theory and practice. The remaining seven research papers have been completed by Kay O'Halloran and her postgraduate students in the Semiotics Research Group (SRG) in the Department of English Language and Literature at the National University of Singapore. The SRG has been actively involved in research in systemic-functional approaches to multimodality over the period 1999-2003. The papers are organized into sections according to the medium of the discourse: Part I which is concerned with three-dimensional material objects in space, Part II which deals with electronic media and film and Part III which contains investigations into print media. The theoretical advances presented in this volume are illustrated through the analysis of a range of multimodal discourses and sites, some of which are Singaporean. These contributions represent a critical yet sensitive interpretation of everyday discourses in Singapore. Thus, like all discourse, they are grounded in local knowledge, but due to the universality of the semiotic model being used, they are applicable to similar texts in any culture. A brief synopsis of each paper in this collection is given below. In Michael O'Toole's opening paper in Part I, 'Opera Ludentes: the Sydney Opera House at work and play', a systemic-functional analysis of architecture (O'Toole, 1990, 1994) is used to consider in turn the Experien- tial, Interpersonal and Textual functions ofJ0rn Utzon's (1957-73) Sydney Opera House and its parts, both internally and in relation to its physical and social context. In this paper, the usual definition of 'functionalism' in archi- tecture is significantly extended. Like language, the building embodies an Experiential function: its practical purposes, the 'lexical content' of its com- ponents (theatre, stage, seats, lights, and so forth) and the relations of who does what to whom, and when and where. It also embodies a 'stance' vis-a- vis the viewer and user (its facade, height, transparency, resemblance to other buildings or objects) which also reflects the power relations between groups of users. That is, it embodies an Interpersonal function like lan- guage. The Sydney Opera House also embodies a Textual function: its parts connect with each other and combine to make a coherent 'text', and it relates meaningfully to its surrounding context of streets, quays, harbour, nearby buildings and cityscape, and by 'meaningful' here we include delib- erate dramatic contrast as well as harmonious blending in. In the analysis, certain features are discovered to be multifunctional, marking 'hot spots' of meaning in the total building complex. In terms of all three functions, the Opera House emerges as a playful building: Opera Ludentes. Utzon's build- ing started its life as a focus of architectural and political controversy and most discourses about the building are still preoccupied with the politics of its conception, competition, controversies and completion by different archi- tects. A semiotic rereading of the building can relate its structure and design
  11. 11. INTRODUCTION 3 to the 'social semiotic' of both Sydney in the 1960s and to the international community of its users today. The museum is located as the next site for semiotic study in Alfred Pang's 'Making history in From Colony to Nation: a multimodal analysis of a museum exhibition in Singapore'. Pang discusses how systemic-functional theory is productive in fashioning an interpretative framework that facilitates a multi- modal analysis of a museum exhibition. The usefulness of this framework is exemplified in the critical analyses of particular displays in From Colony to Nation, an exhibition at the Singapore History Museum (SHM) that displays Singapore's political constitutional history. From this analysis, Pang explains how the museum as a discursive site powerfully constitutes and maintains particular social structures through the primary composite medium of an exhibition. Of interest is the relationship between the museum, nation and history and how the multimodal representation of history in From Colony to Nation ideologically positions the visitor to a particular style of imagining a 'nation' (Anderson, 1991). Safeyaton Alias investigates the semiotic makeup of the city in 'A semiotic study of Singapore's Orchard Road and Marriott Hotel'. Like a written text, the city stores information and 'presents particular transformations and embeddings of a culture's knowledge of itself and of the world' (Preziosi, 1984: 50-51). In this paper, a rank-scale framework for the functions and systems in the three-dimensional multi-semiotic city is proposed. The focus in this paper, however, is the analysis of the built forms of Orchard Road and the Marriott Hotel. Safeyaton discusses how these built forms transmit mes- sages which are articulated through choices in a range of metafunctionally based systems. This paper discusses the intertextuality and the discourses that construct Singapore as a city that survives on consumerism and capitalism. In Part II on electronic media and film, Anthony Baldry's opening paper, 'Phase and transition, type and instance: patterns in media texts as seen through a multimodal concordancer', explores the use of computer tech- nology for capturing 'the slippery eel-like' (to quote Baldry) dynamics of semiosis. Baldry demonstrates that the online multimodal concordancer, the Multimodal Corpus Authoring (MCA) system, provides new possibilities for the analysis and comparison of film and videotexts. This type of concord- ancing transcends in vitro approaches by preserving the dynamic text, insofar as this is ever possible, in its original form. The relational properties of the multimodal concordancer also allow a researcher to embark on a quest for patterns and types. Taking the crucial semiotic units of phase and transition as its starting point, Baldry shows that, when examining the semiotic and structural units that make up a video, a multimodal concordancer far out- strips multimodal transcription in the quest for typical patterns. Kay O'Halloran further explores the use of computer technology for the semiotic analysis of dynamic images in 'Visual semiosis in film'. A sys- temic-functional model which incorporates the visual imagery and the soundtrack for the analysis of film is introduced. Inspired by O'Toole's (1999) representation of systemic choices in paintings in the interactive
  12. 12. 4 INTRODUCTION CD-ROM Engaging with Art., O'Halloran uses video-editing software Adobe Premiere 6.0 to discuss the analysis of the temporal unfolding of semiotic choices in the visual images for two short extracts from Roman Polanski's (1974) film Chinatown. While film narrative involves staged and directed behaviour to achieve particular effects, the analysis of film is at least a first step to understanding semiosis in everyday life. The analysis demonstrates the difficulty of capturing and interpreting the complexity of dynamic semiotic activity. Attention turns to hypertext in Arthur Kok's 'Multisemiotic mediation in hypertext'. In this paper, Kok explores how hypertext (re)presents reality and engages the user, and how instantiations of different semiotic resources are arranged and co-deployed for this purpose. This paper formulates a working definition and a theoretical model of hypertext which contains different orders of abstraction. As with many papers in this collection, the semiotic analysis is employed through extending previously developed systemic- functional frameworks (Halliday, 1994; Kress and van Leeuwen, 1996; O'Toole, 1994). Via an examination of the semiotic choices made in Singapore's Ministry of Education (MOE) homepage, this analysis seeks to understand how the objectives of an institution become translated, trans- mitted and received through the hypertext medium. In the process, an account of the highly elusive process of intersemiosis, the interaction of meanings across different semiotic instantiations, is given. In Part III on print media, in the first paper, 'The construal of ideational meaning in print advertisements', Cheong Yin Yuen proposes a generic structure potential for print advertisements which incorporates visual and verbal components. Cheong also investigates lexicogrammatical strategies for the expansion of ideational meaning which occur through the inter- action of the linguistic text and visual images. Through the analysis of five advertisements, Cheong develops a new vocabulary to discuss the strategies which account for semantic expansions of ideational meaning in these texts; namely, the Bi-directional Investment of Meaning, Contextual Propensity, Interpretative Space, Semantic Effervescence and Visual Metaphor. Moving to the field of education, Guo Libo investigates the multi-semiotic nature of introductory biology textbooks in 'Multimodality in a biology textbook'. These books invariably contain words and visual images: for example, diagrams, photographs, and mathematical and statistical graphs. Drawing upon the work of sociological studies of biology texts and following O'Toole (1994), Lemke (1998) and O'Halloran (1999b), this paper proposes social semiotic frameworks for the analysis of schematic drawings and math- ematical or statistical graphs in biology. The frameworks are used to analyse how the various semiotic resources interact with each other to make meaning in selected pages from the biology textbook Essential Cell Biology (Alberts et al., 1998). The article concludes by reiterating Johns's (1998: 194) claim that in teaching English for Academic Purposes to science and engineering stu- dents, due attention must be given to the visual as well as the linguistic meaning in what is termed Visual/Textual interactivity' (ibid.: 186).
  13. 13. INTRODUCTION 5 Lastly, in order to further theorize the meaning made in texts containing language and visual images, Victor Lim proposes a meta-model in 'Develop- ing an integrative multi-semiotic model'. This model allows for an integra- tive approach to the interpretation of texts where the simultaneous co-deployment of choices from various systems contextualize each other at each instance of the meaning-making process. It takes into account the independent meanings made by each semiotic resource and, further to this, theorizes a space of interaction and integration where inter-semiotic pro- cesses for the expansion of meaning (for example, 'homospatiality' and 'semiotic metaphor') take place. The model also accounts for systems of Typography and Graphics that operate on the Expression plane. Building on the pioneering work done in this field (for example, Baldry, 2000; Baldry and Thibault, forthcoming; Lemke, 1998; O'Halloran, 1999a; Thibault, 2000), as with each paper in this collection, the model is conceived in the tradition of the systemic-functional theory. Michael Halliday has always been ready to extend and enrich his lin- guistic theory when particular types of text demanded it. The contributors to this volume may be seen to be attempting to extend productively these categories for multimodal analysis. Note Regrettably it has not been possible to reproduce coloured plates in this publication. However, as will become evident in what follows, the contribu- tors in this volume recognize that colour is a significant resource for mean- ing (see also Kress and van Leeuwen, 2002). While the papers have been somewhat comprised by the black and white reproductions, every possible effort has been made to ensure that the analysis refers to the original colour of the texts. References Alberts, B., Bray, D., Johnson, A., Lewis, J., Raff, M., Roberts, K. and Walter, P. (1998) Essential Cell Biology: An Introduction to the Molecular Biology of the Cell. New York: Garland. Anderson, B. (1991) Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of National- ism (revised edn). London: Verso. Baldry, A. P. (ed.) (2000) Multimodality and Multimediality in the Distance Learning Age. Gampobasso, Italy: Palladino Editore. Baldry, A. P. and Thibault, P. (forthcoming) Multimodal Transcription and Text. London: Equinox. Gallaghan, J. and McDonald, E. (2002) Expression, content and meaning in lan- guage and music: an integrated semiotic analysis. In P. McKevitt, S. O'Nuallain and C. Mulvihill (eds), Language, Vision and Music. Selected papers from the 8th Inter- national Workshop on the Cognitive Science of Natural Language Processing, Galway, Ireland, 1999. Advances in Consciousness Research, Volume 35. Amsterdam: Benjamins, 205-220.
  14. 14. 6 INTRODUCTION Halliday, M. A. K. (1994) An Introduction to Functional Grammar (2nd edn). London: Edward Arnold. ledema, R. (2001) Analysing film and television: a social semiotic account of hos- pital: an unhealthy business. In T. van. Leeuwen and C. Jewitt (eds), Handbook of Visual Analysis. London: Sage, 183—204. ledema, R. (2003) Multimodality, resemioticization: extending the analysis of dis- course as a multi-semiotic practice. Visual Communication 2(1): 29—57. Jewitt, C. (2002) The move from page to screen: the multimodal reshaping of school English. Visual Communication 1(2): 171—195. Johns, A. (1998) The visual and the verbal: a case study in macroeconomics. English for Specific Purposes 17(2): 183-197. Kress, G. (2000) Multimodality. In B. Cope and M. Kalantzis (eds), Multiliteracies: Literacy Learning and the Design of Social Futures. London: Routledge, 182—202. Kress, G. (2003) Literacy in the New Media Age. London: Routledge. Kress, G, Jewitt, G., Ogborn, J. and Tsatsarelis, C. (2001) Multimodal Teaching and Learning: The Rhetorics of the Science Classroom. London: Continuum. Kress, G. and van Leeuwen, T. (1996) Reading Images: The Grammar of Visual Design. London: Routledge. Kress, G. and van Leeuwen, T. (2001) Multimodal Discourse: The Modes and Media of Contemporary Communication. London: Arnold. Kress, G. and van Leeuwen, T. (2002) Colour as a semiotic mode: notes for a grammar of colour. Visual Communication 1(3): 343-368. Lemke, J. L. (1998) Multiplying meaning: visual and verbal semiotics in scientific text. InJ. R. Martin and R. Veel (eds), Reading Science: Critical and Functional Perspec- tives on Discourses of Science. London: Routledge, 87—113. Lemke, J. L. (2002) Travels in hypermodality. Visual Communication 1(3): 299—325. Lemke, J. L. (2003) Mathematics in the middle: measure, picture, gesture, sign and word. In M. Anderson, A. Saenz-Ludlow, S. Zellweger and V Cifarelli (eds), Educational Perspectives on Mathematics as Semiosis: From Thinking to Interpreting to Know- ing. Ottawa: Legas Publishing, 215-234. Martin, J. R. (forthcoming) Sense and sensibility: texturing evaluation. InJ. Foley (ed.), Mew Perspectives on Education and Discourse. London: Continuum. O'Halloran, K. L. (1999a) Interdependence, interaction and metaphor in multi- semiotic texts. Social Semiotics 9(3): 317—354. O'Halloran, K. L. (1999b) Towards a systemic-functional analysis of multi-semiotic mathematics texts. Semiotica (124-1/2): 1-29. O'Halloran, K. L. (2000) Classroom discourse in mathematics: a multi-semiotic analysis. Linguistics and Education 10(3): 359—388. O'Halloran, K. L. (2003a) Educational implications of mathematics as a multi- semiotic discourse. In M. Anderson, A. Saenz-Ludlow, S. Zellweger, and V V Cifarelli (eds), Educational Perspectives on Mathematics as Semiosis: From Thinking to Interpreting to Knowing. Ottawa: Legas Publishing, 185-214 O'Halloran, K. L. (2003b) Intersemiosis in mathematics and science: grammatical metaphor and semiotic metaphor. In A.-M. Simon-Vandenbergen, M. Taverni- ers, and L. Ravelli (eds), Grammatical Metaphor: Views from Systemic Functional Lin- guistics. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 337—365. O'Toole, M. (1990) A systemic-functional semiotics of art. Semiotica (82—3/4): 185-209. O'Toole, M. (1994) The Language of Displayed Art. London: Leicester University Press. O'Toole, M. (1999) Engaging with Art [CD-ROM]. Perth: Murdoch University.
  15. 15. INTRODUCTION 7 Preziosi, D. (1984) Relations between environmental and linguistic structure. In R. P. Fawcett, M. A. K. Halliday, S. M. Lamb and A. Makkai (eds), The Semiotics of Culture and Language Volume 2. Language and Other Semiotic Systems of Culture. Dover, NH: Frances Pinter, 47-67. Royce, T. (2002) Multimodality in the TESOL classroom: exploring visual—verbal synergy. TESOL Quarterly 36(2): 191-205. Thibault, P. J. (2000) The multimodal transcription of a television advertisement: theory and practice. In A. P. Baldry (ed.), Multimodality and Multimediality in the Distance Learning Age. Gampobasso, Italy: Palladino Editore, 311—385. Unsworth, L. (2001) Teaching Multiliteracies across the Curriculum: Changing Contexts of Text and Image in Classroom Practice. Buckingham, UK: Open University Press. Ventola, E., Charles, C. and Kaltenbacher, M. (eds) (forthcoming) Perspectives on Multimodality. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Zammit, K. and Callow, J. (1998) Ideology and technology: visual and textual analysis of two popular CD-ROM programs. Linguistics and Education 10(1): 89-105. Acknowledgements The research presented here is only made possible through the foundational work of Michael Halliday and Michael O'Toole. I am also indebted to Jay Lemke for originally pointing me in this direction many years ago, and for his continued support since that time. I also thank Joe Foley, Eija Ventola, Frances Christie and Anthony Baldry for their friendship, advice and active support over the years. My special thanks also to Michael O'Toole for his invaluable reading of the first draft of the manuscript. His comments, corrections and suggestions have contributed to the final form of this volume, although of course any errors of interpretation are mine. I am also most grateful to Guo Libo for his careful proof-reading and corrections to the manuscript. My sincere thanks to my talented group of postgraduate research stu- dents for their enthusiasm, dedication and commitment to push the bound- aries of multimodal analysis. This volume would not be possible without their contributions. And special thanks to my past and present colleagues in the Department of English Language and Literature at the National Uni- versity of Singapore (NUS), especially Linda Thompson, Chris Stroud, Ed McDonald and Desmond Allison for their continued friendship and support. I would also like to thank Anne Pakir and the Faculty Research Commit- tee (FRC) in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at NUS for providing the research grant (R-103-000-014-107/112) in 2000 to establish the Labora- tory for Research in Semiotics (LRS) in the Department of English Language and Literature. The research grant has directly supported the research presented in this publication.
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  17. 17. Parti Three-dimensional material objects in space
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  19. 19. 1 Opera Ludentes: the Sydney Opera House at work and play Michael O'Toole Murdoch University, Western Australia Here the trick was to get people up. When you go up the steps you see no buildings. You see the sky and you get separated from being between houses. I like procession very much: sky — foyer — windows — sea. It takes you to another world. That's what you want for an audience: to separate themselves from their daily life. (J0rnUtzon, 1998)1 Clearly, for the architect of Sydney Opera House (Plate 1.1) 'Interpersonal' meanings are very important: the building's height and orientation to its visitors; the play of vistas as one approaches the entrance; the stress on architecture as theatre; constructing an audience; a working building at play. In a systemic-functional semiotic model of architecture2 (O'Toole, 1994; Table 1.1) these kinds of meaning are analogous to the Interpersonal semantic functions in language: Mood constructing the roles to be played in a verbal interaction; Modality constructing a hinge between the real and the hypothetical; Attitudinal Modifiers and Intensifiers expressing the speaker's position and influencing the response of the hearer. If you look out here [at Utzon's home in Helebek, Denmark], you see a field with flowers and a small bush and small trees and big trees. They all consist of small elements. And if you take them up and put them on the table it's a number of elements. Together they make this. In architecture you have a floor, your walls, you have windows, doors, and you have a lot of materials. And you select them. You must have in mind that they make a whole or an expression of some kind. (J0rnUtzon, 1998)3 Here Utzon's focus is on 'Textual' meanings: the way distinct architectural components are combined to make a coherent whole, that is to say, an important dimension of the meaning ('an expression of some kind') is in the composition.4 As in language, the Collocational potential of architectural elements - their Conjunction in rooms and floors and buildings, their Reference to each other and to their environment - is what makes them into coherent and usable 'texts'.
  20. 20. Table 1.1 Functions and systems in architecture (reproduced from O'Toole 1994: 86) Units/ Experiential Interpersonal Texture Functions Building Practical function: Public/Private; Size Orientation to neighbours Relation to city Industrial/Commercial/Agricultural/ Verticality Orientation to road Relation to road Governmental/Educational/Medical/ Chthonicity Orientation to entrant Relation to adjacent buildings Cultural/Religious/Residential; Domestic/ Fagade Intertextuality Proportions Utility Gladding reference Rhythms: contrasting shapes, Colour mimicry angles Orientation to light Modernity contrast Textures: rough/smooth Orientation to wind Exoticism Roof/ wall relation Orientation to earth Reflectivity Orientation to service (water/sewage/ Opacity power) Floor Sub-functions: Access: Height Sites of power Relation to other floors Working Spaciousness Separation of groups Relation to outer world Selling Accessibility Relation to connectors; stairs/lift Administration Openness of vista escalator (external cohesion) Storing View Relation of landing/corridor/ Waking Hard/ soft texture foyer/room (internal cohesion) Sleeping Colour Degree of partition Parking Permanence of partition
  21. 21. Units/ Experiential Interpersonal Texture Functions Room Specific functions: Comfort Lighting Scale Access Study Foyer Modernity Sound Lighting Entry Toilet Restaurant Opulence Welcome Sound Living room Laundry Kitchen Style: rustic, pioneer, colonial, suburban Relation to outside Family room Gamesroom Bar 'Dallas', working class, tenement, Relation to other rooms Kitchen Retreat Bedroom slum Connectors: doors/windows/ Bathroom Ensuite Foregrounding of function hatches/intercom Bedroom Servery Focus (e.g. hearth, dais, altar, desk) Element Light: window, lamp, curtains, blinds Relevance Texture Air: window, fan, conditioner Functionality: convention/surprise Positioning: to light/heat/other Heating: central, fire, stove "dining Texture: rough/smooth elements Sound: carpet, rugs, coffee Newness Finish partitions acoustic, occasional Decorativeness treatment 'Stance' function desk Stylistic coherence Seating <{ table ' computer Projection (e.g. TV) I comfort drawing
  22. 22. Plate 1.1 The Sydney Opera House as procession
  23. 23. THREE-DIMENSIONAL MATERIAL OBJECTS IN SPACE 15 It's a curious fact that in all the drama of constructing the building, not much detailed thought had gone into its specific uses. The competition entrants had been asked to provide large and small halls, the larger to accommodate orchestral concerts and opera as its chief forms of entertainment. At this point, seven years after construction began, the Australian Broadcasting Commission decided that a multi-purpose venue wouldn't be good enough as the permanent home of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. It was a difficult situation. To argue stubbornly in favour of the original multi- purpose concept for the major auditorium would mean accepting compromises on both sides in terms of stage requirements and acoustics: orchestral music versus opera. There were also practical considerations involved, such as a reduc- tion in the seating capacity for concerts, and the logistics of sharing the hall. Should it be devoted to performances of opera and ballet alone? (Sykes, 1993: 45) A great deal of the political controversy surrounding the design and con- struction of the Opera House focused on the 'Experiential' use-functions of the building and the competing claims of its corporate users. The brief for any commissioned architect or entrant to an architectural competition necessarily starts from the uses proposed for the building. Like a clause in language, a building incorporates Types of Process and their Participants; its specific functions are Modified in terms of material, size, colour and texture; and its component elements are organized taxo- nomically like lexical items in the vocabulary of our language. We clearly need to take account of the Experiential function of archi- tecture. Otherwise, our roof will leak, our rooms will be full of draughts, our cupboards and desk will face the wall, and we will find ourselves cooking or worshipping or taking baths in the bedroom. But the obsession with Tunc- tionalism' in architecture by both its modernist proponents and its Post- modernist critics has taken it for granted either that the Experiential function is the only function and that the design and evaluation of a building stands or falls by this criterion alone, or that the form of the building primarily expresses its practical use, which confuses functions, or modes of meaning, which should be kept distinct. A systemic-functional approach corrects such blinkered approaches by proposing that there are three functions creating meaning in all buildings: an Experiential, an Interpersonal and a Textual function, and that these are all equally valid and equally necessary for a building to be meaningful and socially usable. J0rn Utzon was probably naive in the early phase of designing and con- structing the Opera House in that his revolutionary designs foregrounded the public image (Interpersonal) and sculptural coherence (Textual function) of the building, leaving many features of its use (Experiential) insufficiently resolved. Given the political partisanship, the conflicting client requirements and the media hype surrounding his design from the outset, this bias is understandable, but it meant that his successors had to focus in the first instance on the Experiential function:
  24. 24. 16 MULTIMODAL DISCOURSE ANALYSIS When Utzon resigned in 1966, the construction of the roof and its tile cladding was well under way. But plans for Stage III were scarcely defined, and they involved the elements which would turn the building from a magnificent sculp- ture to a working centre for the performing arts: the walls that would enclose the roof area, the performing venues within it, the stage equipment and the furnish- ing of foyer, backstage and administrative areas throughout. The newly appointed triumvirate of architects (Peter Hall, Lionel Todd and David Littlemore) declared their intention to complete the building as closely as possible to Utzon's intentions. But in the drawings that Utzon left behind, there were no precise dimensions worked out for what would be more than a thousand rooms within the structure. [. . .] The key to finalising the internal designs was to establish what their users wanted. Incredibly, in the Alice in Wonderland development of the construction, there had been no formal compilation of user organisations' expectations in terms of performance characteristics and capacities, dressing room and rehearsal area backup, box office, administration, air conditioning and catering requirements. (Sykes, 1993: 61-62) As our chart of functions and systems in architecture (Table 1.1) shows, a large number of Experiential functions are involved in a building complex like the Sydney Opera House. Practical orientations to light (the sun, reflec- tions off the harbour), to wind (prevailing winds, strength of the highest possible wind gusts), to the earth (the building up of Bennelong Point to form the massive podium, its projection out into the harbour), and the provision of services such as water, sewage, power, scenery and food deliv- ery, car-parking, waste disposal, etc. had already been accounted for either by Utzon and his team of architects or by the consultant engineers, Ove Arup and Partners. But each functioning part requires separate specifica- tions: the concert hall with its open plan and relatively fixed fittings as opposed to the opera theatre with its proscenium arch and constantly chan- ging scenery, its stage tower, backstage, stage and auditorium; the drama theatre (originally designed as a smaller experimental theatre) as opposed to the playhouse (originally designed as a 'music room' for solo recitals and chamber music) or the Broadwalk Studio (originally conceived purely as a recording hall); the Bennelong Restaurant, serving high-quality inter- national cuisine for leisurely eating under its own miniature shell roof, as opposed to the more informal forecourt restaurant, the Cafe Mozart, the performers' cafeteria, or the ad hoc catering arrangements in the foyers. As I discovered in analyzing a church and even a suburban display home in The Language of Displayed Art (O'Toole, 1994), the rank of Floor on the chart may not always be valid as such. And yet even in the complex struc- tures of the Opera House, particular spaces below the rank of Building but above the rank of Room, as likely to be separated horizontally as vertically, still need to be accounted for experientially. To the list of sub-functions listed at floor rank on the chart we could add Rehearsing, Recording, Cooking,
  25. 25. THREE-DIMENSIONAL MATERIAL OBJECTS IN SPACE 17 Eating, Scenery Construction, Maintenance, Security, and so on. And even the multifunctional (in the old sense) outdoor areas of the forecourt, broad- walk, arcade and steps involve specific but varying activities (Process- Participant relations). The point is that a systemic-functional semiotics takes a rank-scale as one of its starting-points, differentiating the options available at lower ranks in relation to those available at higher ranks. In the Experiential function this is partly a matter of common sense (i.e. the shape of a drinks bar or a box office at Room rank requires different decisions from either the types of Element (desk, chairs, equipment) with which they will be furnished or the shape, illumination, ventilation and accessibility or enclosability of the larger foyer (Floor) spaces in which they are to be found). It is also a matter of different design specialists, with whole firms and even industries being responsible for particular Experiential sub-functions (cooking, drinks- serving, ticketing, public relations, etc.). The heuristic value of the rank-scale becomes more obvious when we relate these Experiential distinctions to Interpersonal and Textual distinc- tions at the same ranks. To illustrate how architectural meanings are made through all three functions I want to start with one of the smallest, most numerous and most visible elements of the whole structure, the 1,056,000 roof tiles. Experientially, the roof covering had to be weatherproof to all climatic conditions and had to be self-cleaning, but curved roofs can be sprayed or sheeted in copper or bronze. As the architect, Harry Seidler relates: I asked him in his office, 'Why do you want to cover a building like that with tiles? A curved surface, it could be sprayed.' And he looked surprised and said, 'But tiles are the best.' And he'd looked all over the world at them, and he'd seen them in the Middle East and elsewhere, mosques covered in gleaming tiles. And he'd been to Japan and China, and he was very concerned with the quality that made them up: what material they used, where they got the clay from and what mixes they used in the clay, till it eventually satisfied him that it gave a slightly rough surface. And this was the natural colour, the white, and over that surface was a very clear glaze, a very shiny glaze.5 The material quality and the rough surface, the texture of the built surface are primarily Interpersonal considerations. Like the shine and the gleam they are part of the impact the Opera House shells have on spectators. And the intertextual references to mosques and Oriental architecture, visual simi- larities which may jog our cultural memory, are Interpersonal issues. The impact on the spectator is crucial to Utzon. For him his Opera House is almost more than a sculpture; it has a human personality: It tells a story, it's not a calm building, it's awake all the time. You cannot make a sculpture better than something that's white or off-white. If you look at bronze sculptures in nature, they're difficult to read. If you had put a copper roof on this house, you wouldn't have benefitted from the light. You would have seen a green
  26. 26. 18 MULTIMODAL DISCOURSE ANALYSIS marvellous colour. So this was my first and only idea for the roof. And Saarinen said to me, 'Keep it white. Sydney harbour is dark.' And at that time the buildings were dark. So it's the right answer.6 The older Finnish architect is as alert as his Danish colleague to the effect on the spectator of the chiaroscuro of a white building against a dark ground and the quality of light in a city on the water like Sydney, Helsinki or Copenhagen. Of course, the Interpersonal function at the rank of Element is not con- fined to the roof tiles. The concrete ribs of the shells have a primary Experiential function of binding and supporting the roof, but as soon as one steps inside, one becomes aware of the contrast between the raw, matt and unpatterned grey concrete of the ribs and the warm brown satin grain of internal balustrades and doors. In terms of its textures, the building (apart from the tiled surfaces) seems to start as rough, raw, grey and abrasive in its outer layers and become progressively more smooth, polished, colourful and comforting as we move to the core of the personal artistic experience in our seat in any of the auditorial it speaks to us Interpersonally through its shine, colours, textures, the very warmth or coldness of the materials used. This play of material qualities has even more impact on the spectator at those points outside the building where the shells meet the metal struts and sheets of glass of the windows in an exciting geometry of tiles, raw concrete, metal and glass (Plate 1.2). As we shall see, this involves an important interplay of the Interpersonal and Textual functions. Interpersonal relevance is obviously a key criterion inside a theatrical building. Audience seats and lighting and sound booths face performers' spaces; conductor's rostra face orchestras; prompt boxes face actors; bar- tenders face customers across bars, counters and tables (as Ervin Goflftnan showed in the 1950s7 - and Fawlty Towers hyperbolized in the 1960s - res- taurants and hotels are highly dramatistic spaces). The public relations mechanisms of display boards, information desks, ticket offices, media interview spaces and Opera House guide routes all have their structure as mini-theatres. And where 'projection' in the home may be confined to one or two TV sets, in theatres it covers the gamut of possibilities from staging, rostra, lighting, sound projection, security video and telephones (fixed and mobile) and even the projection of performances to overflow audiences on closed-circuit television. In all these aspects of a theatre or concert hall you might say that the Interpersonal is Experiential - but we will argue that there is still real heuristic value in keeping them separate. Less obviously 'theatrical' choices at Room rank are involved in the Inter- personal systems of Comfort, Modernity, Opulence and Style. Patrons of concerts and operas are enveloped in a cocoon of almost perfect acoustics and seated on luxuriously upholstered seats (Plate 1.3). These seats in moulded birch ply and contrasting scarlet upholstery carry a message of Scandinavian 'functionalism' of the 1960s and 1970s: like so much of the architecture here, they put their working functions on display. The steel
  27. 27. THREE-DIMENSIONAL MATERIAL OBJECTS IN SPACE 19 Plate 1.2 Texture and geometry cable tensioning of the concrete columns, the moulded curves of internal beams and columns, the glass curtain walls, even the acoustic baffles and plexiglass 'doughnuts' which hang in a ring from the roof of the Concert Hall 'show the works' - though less stridently than Richard Rogers's Pompi- dou Centre in Paris and its imitators. The stress here comes from a humanist 'craft' tradition of high-quality but 'natural' materials (wool, varnished ply, grained parquet, shuttered concrete) with a modest unassertive finish. The Interpersonal meaning of many types of building is carried by the placing and styling of 'sites of power', that is, a building expresses the political relations between its various users. A building primarily dedicated to classical musical performance incorporates the power of the conductor's rostrum over the orchestra and the power of both over the audience. Hid- den control booths and 'Private' administration rooms mystify this power further. The stage and orchestra in the Opera House and other theatrical spaces carry the same power relations. We have pinpointed many of the systems realizing the Interpersonal func- tion at the ranks of Floor, Room and Element, but with the Sydney Opera House this function begins and ends at the rank of the whole building complex. Our very opening quotation of Utzon's own words shows the architect's concern with imposing Size and Verticality and Orientation to the
  28. 28. Plate 1.3 The Concert Hall
  29. 29. THREE-DIMENSIONAL MATERIAL OBJECTS IN SPACE 21 entrant (systems in the top central box of the Chart): the viewer is induced to look up, beyond the steps, beyond the shells to the sky and to imagine themselves into another world of the imagination, even before the official performance starts. Chthonicity is a particularly interesting system in this case, because the Opera House deliberately plays with conflicting options: on the one hand, there seem to be no solid walls embedded in the base. The shells rear up skywards (anti-chthonically, away from the earth), to such a degree that their corners hardly seem to touch their footings, seeming to balance on pinpoints. The smooth spherical curves induce a touch of ver- tigo and it is no wonder that so many of the photographs of the Opera House, whether by official agencies or casual tourists, accentuate the upward thrust of the shells. On the other hand, the podium is highly chthonic: it has turned Bennelong Point into a rock-like headland and, as we know, incorporates many of the key functions of the working building. The light, dynamic, mobile and poetic structures above are embedded in the solid and prosaic podium. A building's orientation to its neighbours and the road by which it is approached are important aspects of its Interpersonal function. Utzon and Saarinen were keen for the white curves of the sails to stand out against the predominantly dark water of the harbour and the high-rise buildings of Sydney's rigidly rectangular central business district at that time. (Since 1973 more of the neighbouring buildings have been constructed in lighter concrete, marble or glass - perhaps in deference to Utzon's building as well as in harmony with changing architectural fashions.) The multiple curves, however, offer visual echoes of Sydney Harbour Bridge (Plate 1.4), Circular Quay and the bays and headlands of the harbour. Of course, good archi- tectural as well as human relations can be spoiled when bad neighbours move in. The Opera House's visual relationship with Circular Quay has been obstructed and, more importantly, the easy natural pedestrian route from the ferry terminals to the entrance steps has been interrupted by the rectangular complex of shops and apartments erected in 1997-8, unpopularly known as 'the East Circular Quay toaster'. The final heading in the Interpersonal box at the rank of Building on the chart is 'Intertextuality'. This was a term coined by Mikhail Bakhtin, the Russian literary theorist and philosopher, to account for the deliberate refer- ences, allusions or echoes that a writer makes to other widely known texts. As with language texts, this would seem to carry primarily an Interpersonal function in architecture: the writer/architect is saying to the viewer 'Nudge- nudge . . . look at my clever reference here to Stonehenge, or Palladian villas, or St Peter's in Rome, or the Pompidou Centre in Paris . . . It is up to you to enrich the meaning further here by your knowledge of that building, its uses, its tradition, its local cultural significance, etc'. And to some extent we as viewers interpret the allusion according to our range of references and our cultural preoccupations at the time. Virtually everyone seeing the Opera House sees the visual metaphor of sails; many see sharks' jaws or clam shells; Barry Humphries saw a drowning nun. Utzon claims that the curves
  30. 30. Plate 1.4 Visual echoes
  31. 31. THREE-DIMENSIONAL MATERIAL OBJECTS IN SPACE 23 of the sails were inspired by the segments of an orange; the relation between the outer shell and the inner roof of the auditoria - by the snug fit between shell and kernel in a walnut; the structural relations between the construc- tion units and the whole building — variously by the leaves on a palm tree or by Meccano toy construction sets. But in terms of other built texts, we have Utzon's word for it that he had in mind a relationship between water and built forms at Kronborg Castle, Helsingor; the soaring vaults of Gothic cathedrals; and the shining segmentation of tiles on a mosque. The tiles bring us at last to the Textual function (which does not have to be the last function examined: the three functions are all equally meaningful and may be considered in any order). At the lowest rank of Element the finish of the tiles and the chevron patterning create the surface texture of the Opera House shells. This is texture as such - Textual meaning - as opposed to their practical (Experiential) function of keeping out the rain and their decorative or dramatic (Interpersonal) functions. At the rank of Room, each auditorium, or foyer, or office, or restaurant has its own scale and proportions, it is lit or in shadow, and has its own acoustic properties in contrast to other spaces around it. Its relation to outside carries Textual meaning, so that our response to the isolated and insulated worlds of the concert hall, opera theatre, drama theatre or cinema is quite different from how we feel in the foyers, where our gaze is delib- erately projected out to the harbour and city views - where we are no longer fully enclosed in the built text. At this rank we experience a Textual focus as well as the power relation (Interpersonal) between the rostrum and the orchestra and the audience. This is facilitated by aisles and stairways within the auditoria, and all such 'connectors' as corridors, stairs, lifts, escalators, hatches and interconnecting windows throughout the building are primarily Textual in function: they work like the cohesive devices of conjunction in language. Like cohesive devices in language, these connectors work across several ranks, since they also work to relate floors and the various auditoria and other internal spaces to each other. Doors and windows, of course, relate the internal spaces to exterior parts of the built text: walkways, entrance steps and terraces, and thence to the Broadwalk and approach road. The most striking Textual systems of the Opera House at the rank of Building are listed in the top right-hand box of the Chart. We will consider them from the bottom up - as if we were moving from near the building to vantage points further away. Opacity/Reflectivity/Transparency is a system of options that tends to have meaning when we are near a building. The shells of the Opera House are opaque, but, being shiny and white or off- white, reflect the light, whereas the podium is opaque and comparatively matt, giving a denser, less light-responsive texture. The windows, of demi- topaz coloured laminated glass, are highly transparent for the viewer from inside and for those outside when the interior is lit - after dark, when most of the building's theatrical functions are at play. Unlike most glass facing water and sky, they do not reflect much of their environment, except from
  32. 32. 24 MULTIMODAL DISCOURSE ANALYSIS an aerial vantage-point; the three distinct surface planes of the northern foyer windows draw our gaze in rather than reflecting us and the world we stand in. These windows also make a major contribution to other kinds of Textual meaning such as the Roof-Wall relation, Rhythms and Proportions. As Jill Sykes explains, after Utzon's resignation it took his replacement architects nearly four years: to solve the design problems, at first working through trial proposals and then tackling tricky situations as they arose under construction [. . .] Linking the curves of the sails to the rectangular lines of the podium required a concept that combined the aesthetic with the pragmatic. Without a mathematical relationship between the shape of the shell and that of the podium to use as a starting point for a geometrical solution to devising the structure of the two largest glass walls overlooking the Harbour, a new design element had to be introduced. The result was a combination of three surface planes: vertical at the top, coming down to a half-circle leaning outwards from the vertical, then pulling back in a cone shape [Plate 1.5]. This verandah-style approach provided the practical advantage of extending the area within the building well beyond the feet of the shells, as well as offering non- reflective views over the Harbour through the inward-slanting glass that ended at floor level. (Sykes, 1993: 62-63) Sykes is here describing the resolution of Experiential ('pragmatic') and Interpersonal ('aesthetic') problems through the Textual functions ('geom- etry') of shell-glass wall-podium relations and the contrasting shapes, angles and proportions created by the windows. Even she has difficulty in articulat- ing the sheer visual excitement of this brilliant and unique interplay of the parallel lines of the vertical mullions, gradually diverging in the other two planes, with the stepped window spacers and the curve of the intersections of the planes and the curve of the front of the canopy creating an intricate harmony with the curve of the shells above: only a musical metaphor can do justice to the Textual meaning of these mathematical relationships. We have discussed the Opera House's relation to adjacent buildings and to the road already in terms of their Interpersonal tensions and mimicry, but a full account must also recognize the Textual relations created by their shared geometry (partly discernible in Plate 1.5). The strong vertical fluting of some of the tower blocks, the proportions of the relations between glass curtain and solid plane walls and the curves of some towers or roof features all give the Opera House a distinctive role in the urban texture of Sydney. Its relation to the city as a whole is highly dynamic. Because of its prom- inent and open, uncluttered site, it is visible from many vantage points, both near and distant, low and high. From the foot of the podium steps or a passing ferry it rears up colossally, as Utzon intended, but from the ferry
  33. 33. THREE-DIMENSIONAL MATERIAL OBJECTS IN SPACE 25 Plate 1.5 Intersecting geometries
  34. 34. 26 MULTIMODAL DISCOURSE ANALYSIS terminals or the far side of Circular Quay it has diminished to an imposing sculpture against the skyline, or another sailboat cutting through the waves, while from the Harbour Bridge or the roads descending to the Harbour through North Sydney it has become a tantalizing jewel on a dark velvet cloth. We have allowed ourselves a lyrical passage here out of deference to the many encomiums that have been written and spoken and filmed for this 'Eighth Wonder of the Modern World'. So much has been written, indeed, that we must ask whether anything remains to be said about the Sydney Opera House. Can a systemic-functional analysis (with or without the lyri- cism) add anything to the mass of books, magazine, journal and newspaper articles, architectural, historical or political speeches, interviews or discus- sions devoted to it? Apart from attempting to extend the limits of systemic-functional semi- otic theory by applying it to a complex three-dimensional work of art (which is one of the aims of this book), I believe that a functional approach allows one to see certain features in a new light. In the first place, it counters the simplistic tendency to interpret 'functionalism' as concerned only or primar- ily with the utilitarian, Experiential, functions of a building. While recogniz- ing that the practical functions may have a priority in all kinds of text about buildings, from architects' briefs to security manuals or tourist brochures, it asserts - and tries to prove - that the Interpersonal and Textual functions are just as important in the elucidation of what a building 'means', whether to the individual viewer, the citizens of Sydney, contemporary society or pos- terity. It does this not by generalizing, but in detail, teasing out the systems of choice which are available to the architects, engineers and builders at different ranks of unit - Building Complex - Building - Floor - Room - Element in each of the three functions. This then enables us to pinpoint those features of the building where the meaning is 'hottest', where specific functional meanings overlap, interplay or conflict to produce more complex, sometimes contradictory interpretations. The process may well generate new insights we can share with others in an agreed common language. The chart of systems and functions becomes a kind of hypertext - a non- sequential tool for exploring the hypertext of the building itself: the user can start with any system in any box of the chart, analyse that part of the building and interpret it in terms either of higher or lower ranks in the same function or in terms of related systems in other functions. Like any good map, it will still help us know where we are - theoretically as well as practic- ally - at any stage of our exploration. Similarly, as I have tried to show, we may stand on the Opera House podium looking at the tiles on the shells rearing above and around us. An appreciation of their colour and shine may lead us to the imposing grandeur of each shell or the whole building com- plex against the harbour and sky (higher ranks in the Interpersonal func- tion), or the geometrical textures of the tiles and chevrons may draw our attention to the complex interplay of materials and geometry in the win- dows which I discussed under the Textual function.
  35. 35. THREE-DIMENSIONAL MATERIAL OBJECTS IN SPACE 27 A further theoretically principled step may then be possible if the func- tional meanings in the 'text' of the building itself are projected onto the manifestations of the 'social semiotic', that aggregation of opinions, assumptions and prejudices about what should be built and how it should look that prevails in a given culture (which might be the political right or the artistic avant-garde of Sydney in the 1960s, or world architectural opinion in the 1990s, or mass tourist culture in 2000, Sydney's Olympic Year). On a more prosaic and technical level, the specification of distinct ranks of unit in the systemic-functional model allows one to discriminate the kinds of choices the architect has made and the kinds of construal we ourselves make as viewers, visitors and users of the building. And the specifi- cation of the systems which make up the 'grammar of architecture' helps us to understand the nature of the choices the architect has made in relation to the practical, aesthetic, social, political and financial constraints which are laid on him — and his justification in calling it quits when those constraints become unmanageable. Notes 1 J0rn Utzon in an interview for the film The Edge of the Possible: J0rn Utzpn and the Sydney Opera House, director: Daniel Dellora, ABC Television, 20.10.98. 2 Michael O'Toole, The Language of Displayed Art (1994), Chap. 3 'A Semiotics of Architecture', pp. 85-144. 3 J0rn Utzon in an interview for the film The Edge of the Possible. 4 My versions of Halliday's model for the systemic-functional analysis of painting and sculpture (O'Toole, 1994) use the term 'Compositional function' for this kind of meaning in those arts which are primarily for display. In the case of archi- tecture, which, like language, is of practical use as well as display, it seems appropriate to retain Halliday's notion of the 'Textual function'. 5 Harry Seidler in an interview for the film The Edge of the Possible. 6 J0rn Utzon in an interview for the film The Edge of the Possible. 1 Ervin Goffman, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life (1965). References Dellora, D. (1998) The Edge of the Possible: J0rn Utzon and the Sydney Opera House. ABC Television, 20.10.98. GofTman, E. (1965) The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. London: Penguin Books. O'Toole, M. (1994) The Language of Displayed Art. London: Leicester University Press. Sykes, J. (1993) Sydney Opera House from the Outside In. Sydney: Playbill Proprietary Ltd/Sydney Opera House Trust.
  36. 36. 2 Making history in From Colony to Nation: a multimodal analysis of a museum exhibition in Singapore Alfred Pang Kah Meng National University of Singapore Introduction This paper explores how systemic-functional (SF) theory may be extended to a social semiotic analysis of the museum exhibition as a multimodal site. The museum exhibition is obviously multimodal in that different semiotic resources, such as photographs, three-dimensional physical objects, space and language, are co-deployed in complex ways to construct meaning. I sketch here a preliminary SF framework for the multimodal analysis of a museum exhibition and exemplify its usefulness in articulating the critical construction of historical meaning by particular displays in From Colony to Nation, an exhibition at the Singapore History Museum (SHM) that repre- sents the national history of Singapore. By critical, I mean understanding how the communicative complexity of the exhibition connects with the discursive institution of the museum as 'a dynamic power-play of compet- ing knowledges, intentions and interests' (Macdonald, 1998: 3). In particu- lar, I reflect on how the making of Singapore's national history in From Colony to Nation serves to (re)produce particular dominant imaginings of Singapore as a 'nation'. The general point here is that making history is never value-free; it is, rather, imbued with power-knowledge relations1 invested in the site of historical production. From systemic-functional linguistics (SFL) to systemic-functional semiotics The project to extend SF theory into the analysis of multimodal terrains such as the museum exhibition entails, in the first place, an understanding of the theory. SF theory, as Halliday (1970, 1973, 1978, 1994) originally formulates it, has principally centred on language as the object of analysis. Hence, the emergence of SFL as a method of linguistic analysis informed by the theoretical conception of language as a social semiotic; that is, language as meaning potential that evolves with the functions it has to serve in social living (HaUiday, 1973; HaUiday and Martin, 1993). As HaUiday (1973: 34) asserts, 'Language is as it is because of what it has to do'. From the
  37. 37. THREE-DIMENSIONAL MATERIAL OBJECTS IN SPACE 29 standpoint of SFL, then, language constitutes the social practice of meaning-making. Recently, there has been much interest among some practitioners of SF theory in the analysis of specific non-linguistic semiotic modes of meaning (e.g. visual images in Kress and van Leeuwen, 1996; displayed art in O'Toole, 1994; movement in Martinec, 1998), as well as in the co- articulation of meaning between them and language (e.g. Lemke, 1998; O'Halloran, 1999; RaveUi, 2000; Thibault, 2000). Such an interest makes explicit the fact that conceiving language as meaning potential necessarily entails a broadening of perspective that recognizes its co-deployment (and hence co-evolution) with other non-linguistic semiotic resources in meaning- making. As Thibault (1997: 342, emphasis original) argues, '[t]he linguistic semiotic is strongly coupled with the various other semiotic modalities in social semiosis'. It follows, then, that language is as it is not only because of what it has to do, but also what it does with and to other semiotic resources. Implicit in the choice of SF theory to facilitate an understanding of what multimodal texts mean is the assumption that the theory has reached a point of development where the descriptive tools elaborated for analyzing lan- guage can be useful in articulating the dynamic processes of meaning- making within and across various semiotic resources (Baldry, 2000). How valid is this assumption? That is, what are the spaces within SF theory that render viable (or not) its extrapolation from linguistic to general semiotic theory able to cope with the analysis of multimodal texts? Unfortunately, there is no space here to explore in-depth these questions.2 For the purpose of this paper, however, it suffices to recognize that the viability of extrapo- lating SF theory into the field of multimodal analysis may be claimed on the grounds that the principles that underpin its description of language are conceptualized at a level of abstraction relevant to social meaning-making in general (Kress et al., 1997) These principles are: 1. The generality of Halliday's three metafunctions of language (Ideational, Interpersonal and Textual) as abstract semiotic functions (see Kress and van Leeuwen, 1996; Lemke, 1998; O'Toole, 1994). 2. The exotropic lens of SF theory, which conceives of the non-accidental relation between language and social context, potentially affords the foundation for modelling contextual semiotics. The crucial implication here is that 'there are no contextless signs' (Harris, 2000: 81). That is, the language system which powers various instances of text comes into mean- ingful existence only in their situation within social context. More than just the socio-cultural environment, the exotropic lens of SF theory, in the light of multimodality, entails a refining focus on co-contextualizing rela- tions between language and other semiotic modalities. Notwithstanding the two principles above, it is crucial to recognize what Lemke (1998: 110) has termed as the principle of incommensurability between sign systems. That is, every semiotic system embodies its own unique complexity
  38. 38. 30 MULTIMODAL DISCOURSE ANALYSIS and the co-articulation between two or more semiotic systems in multimodal texts is multiplicative of the relative specificity of each semiotic (Lemke, 1998). Hence, the descriptive tools elaborated for language in SFL cannot be directly imported and applied to the analysis of other non-linguistic modalities. It may be necessary to formulate SF descriptions of specific non-linguistic semiotic resources (e.g. O'Toole, 1994). However, this defines only partially the prob- lematic of multimodality. The development of such specific descriptive tools should hopefully culminate in some means of (un)packing the processes of intersemiosis, which Ravelli (2000: 508) defines as 'a co-ordination of semiosis across different sign systems'. In sum, we need to cultivate an integrational semiolog/1 to better understand how multimodal texts work. Towards the analysis of From Colony to Nation In this section, I sketch a preliminary SF framework for the interpretative analysis of the museum exhibition as a multimodal text. It is important to recognize that the conceptualization of any framework to understand any social phenomenon is inherently a reductive abstraction from the dynamic worlds that we inhabit. As such, it is not my intention here to insist on a strict conformal fit between the proposed framework and the myriad exhibition styles that one encounters in social living. Rather, I aim to explore those dimensions that can be useful in articulating and negotiating one's (dis)- agreement with others about how an exhibition means. I also develop the framework as far as it allows me to adequately unpack the ideological nature of particular displays in the exhibition, From Colony to Nation. A semiological approach towards museum communication is not new. Delibasic (cited in Maroevic, 1997: 29), for example, has conceived of the museum as 'filled with signs or systems of signs, which are at the disposal of those who know how to interpret them'. It is important to recognize, though, that museum communication is more than the exhibition. As Hooper-Greenhill (1999) observes, catalogues, books and souvenirs in museum shops, for example, also form a strategy through which museums communicate with the public. Nonetheless, the exhibition warrants primary attention in museum communication as it is still 'a typical museum medium for expressing the museum message' (Maroevic 1997: 30). Broadly speaking, at least two perspectives may be discerned from the development of various semiological approaches undertaken in museum studies. The first tends to centre narrowly on the collection of material objects as the means par excellence of communication in a museum (e.g. Pearce, 1991, 1994). Noteworthy in such analyses is the conclusion that the artefactual significance of objects lies in the socio-cultural relations of their production, circulation and use. However, it is crucial to recognize that the values of artefactual objects are as much mediated by the institutional environment of their display in a museum. This leads us to the second perspective, which emphasizes the (re)appropriation and (re)interpretation of artefactual objects in relation to the composite design of an exhibition as a
  39. 39. THREE-DIMENSIONAL MATERIAL OBJECTS IN SPACE 31 whole (e.g. Hooper-Greenhill, 1999; Kavanagh, 2000; Vergo, 1989). As Smith (1989: 19) puts it: artifacts do not exist in a space of their own, transmitting meaning to the specta- tor, but on the contrary, are susceptible to a multiform construction of meaning which is dependent on the design, the context of other objects, the visual and historical representation, the whole environment. Such a perspective may be increasingly relevant now, given the prevailing trend to democratize museums through the creation of audience-oriented exhibitions, where 'a shift in focus from individual objects to a "whole gal- lery experience"' (Martin, 1997: 36) is encouraged. Herein lies the pressing motivation to conceive of the exhibition as a multimodal social semiotic, where objects are rarely left to 'speak for themselves' (Vergo, 1989: 49), but mean in collaboration with other semiotic modalities such as space, visual images and language. Multimodality in an exhibition implies the multi-tiered complexity of museum messages. While this has been generally acknowledged in various studies on the museum exhibition (e.g. Belcher, 1991; Hall, 1987; Hooper- Greenhill, 1999), what remains insufficiently elucidated is the 'what' of these tiers that underlie the exhibitionary construction of meaning. In this regard, Halliday's (1994) three metafunctions for language - Ideational, Interpersonal and Textual - provide a useful dimension to organize this multi-tiered meaning potential of exhibitions '[as] pieces of functional design with the purpose of doing a specific task' (Belcher, 1991: 41). Indeed, this tripartite organization of meaning seems latent in Bennett's (1995: 67, emphasis mine) conception of the exhibitionary complex., which is an 'ability to organize and coordinate an order of things and to produce a. place for the people in relation to that order1. The museum exhibition performs an Ideational function in representing a cultural practice that construes social 'realities'. It realizes an Interpersonal function by powerfully addressing and shaping the inter- ests of visitors in particular ways. The Textual function orders the intercon- nected flow of both ideational and Interpersonal meanings to compose an exhibition as a coherent and cohesive whole. The metafunctional organization of the meaning potential of a museum exhibition has been broadly conceived in Ravelli (1997, 2000). According to her, the exhibition is a site for intersemiosis, which is 'a co-ordination of semiosis across different sign systems' (Ravelli, 2000: 508). Rather than the specific analyses of individual semiotic codes per se, Ravelli (2000) emphasizes the productivity of a macro-level analysis in unpacking the interaction between them in an integrated way. The framework formulated here aims to abstract such macro features of meaning that emerge from the dynamic interplay of various semiotic modalities deployed in an exhibition. However, it does not (and perhaps should not) preclude the relevance of micro-level analyses of individual semiotic systems whenever possible. To recall an earlier discussion, the nature and extent of their interaction
  40. 40. 32 MULTIMODAL DISCOURSE ANALYSIS depends on the relative specificities of each semiotic resource co-deployed. As such, the interpretative framework I suggest is open to apply eclectically particular SF descriptions conceptualized for specific semiotic codes (for example, language in Halliday, 1994; visual images in Kress and van Leeuwen, 1996; displayed art - including sculptural and architectural texts - in O'Toole, 1994). The point of integrating such descriptions is directed to discern that level of deep detailed analyses required for each sign system so as to explicate its interconnection with other semiotic modalities. It is thus my view that analytical approaches to unpacking multimodal texts in gen- eral need to maintain a balance between micro- and macro-level perspec- tives of the range of semiotic resources coordinated. In practice, of course, this balance is also subject to the purposes of the research analyst. Apart from the metafunctions, the logic of a rank-scale in SFL also provides another dimension to conceptualize the multi-tiered complexity in an exhibition. In the case of a museum exhibition, it is possible, by analogy, to postulate a rank scale based on a hierarchical layering of spatial constitu- ents: Museum, Gallery, Area and Surface/Item. These rank units, which I term as Sites, are conceived as different environments wherein an exhibition can be viewed. Each environment presents a set of dimensions that orients the analytical 'eye' to interpret the (multi)semiotic space of an exhibition from a particular angle. Thus, as conceived in Table 2.1, the three metafunctions and the order of sites may serve as two axes of a matrix of systemic components that charac- terize the meaning potential of a museum exhibition. There is, however, no space here to explain in detail each systemic component in the matrix. It is hoped that the analysis in the section which follows will sufficiently illumin- ate some of the components in the matrix. At this juncture, it is worth stressing that the various components in the proposed functional semiotic model are, in reality, more fluid than their discrete placing in the matrix suggests; that is, 'certain features [can] either operate in more than one function or have consequences for other features from other systems, func- tions or ranks of unit' (O'Toole, 1999: 6). I also explore how the co-patterning of these options from various semi- otic modalities may be organized by the co-evaluation of some phenomena along some foregrounded parameter. In this respect, I consider the possibil- ity of extending Appraisal Theory (Martin, 2000a) into the domain of multi- modal discourse analysis. The point here is that evaluation can serve as an integrative principle organizing intersemiosis. The basis for this may be located deeply in the question whether one can mean anything outside evaluation. That is, when are humans not evaluating if the view is that the 'worlds' which selves inhabit are always created in dynamic relation with., for and to others? According to Hernadi (1995: 116): emotive awareness initiates the dialectical process through which the self and its world 'make' each other so that the former may begin to 'mean' and 'do' — both cognize and act upon the latter.
  41. 41. THREE-DIMENSIONAL MATERIAL OBJECTS IN SPACE 33 He further suggests that 'if our evolution has enabled us to evaluate in greater depth, our evaluations enable us to evolve at a far more unsettling speed than members of other species' (Hernadi, 1995: 135). That the act of evaluating is behaviour potential (Ravelli, 2000) that possibly co-extends with making-meaning through some material-semiotic technology in the exosomatic evolution of the human species lends natural credence to evaluation as an integrative principle of intersemiosis. To put it another way, it is difficult, if not impossible, to mean something without also evalu- ating it. The co-evolution of language with other semiotic modalities is probably marked with co-evaluation between them, which in turn inter- twines with the larger co-evolution of nature and cultures in the ecology of being human. From this perspective, evaluation is multi-layered and takes place at many levels in making-meaning. These various levels could well afford different scales by which multiple semiotic modes are combined. It is critical to recognize that access to and selection of possible configur- ations of these components towards evaluation in an exhibition are as much regulated by the communities of values and beliefs invested in the ideological space of the museum (Hodge and D'Souza, 1999; Karp, 1992). As Hooper- Greenhill (1992: 214) cautions: The total experience (in living history or interactive exhibits), the total immersion (in gallery workshops and events), can have the function, in the apparently dem- ocratized environment of the museum marketplace, of soothing, of silencing, of quieting questions, of closing minds. In other words, the current popular paradigm that pushes for the democra- tization of the museum does not equal the dissolution of power. Instead, it indexes the powerful capacity of the museum in strategically negotiating its institutional authority to position the subjectivities of its audience in particu- lar ways. This ideological motivation of meanings construed and constru- able in an exhibition is taken seriously in an SF framework that emphasizes a dialectical relationship between social context and semiotic system(s). Touring From Colony to Nation — 'Communist United Front' From Colony to Nation is a permanent exhibition at the Singapore History Museum (SHM) and displays the national political history of Singapore. This exhibition, which opened on 19 July 1997, was motivated by the formu- lation of National Education (NE) by the ruling People's Action Party (PAP). The idea of NE was initiated by Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong at the Teachers' Day Rally on 8 September 1996 in response to a survey, which found students ignorant of Singapore's past, particularly '[t]he country's struggle against communism, and how it went about getting self-rule and independence' (The Straits Times., 16 September 1996).4 According to Goh (cited in Wee, Business Times, 31 May 1998):
  42. 42. Table 2.1 Systemic functional framework for a museum exhibition Site/ Ideational Interpersonal Textual Function Museum Museum type Disciplinary Field Target Audience Public/Private Architectural Appeal External environment Relation to city/Relation to Internal environment adjacent buildings Relation to Practical Facilities Gallery Narrative Design Interplay of Genres Ideal Visitor Internal Cohesion Interplay of Areas Circulation Path Traffic Flow/Flow Sequence of Areas Focal points Rate Setting (Mood) Lighting, Colour, Rhythm Lighting, Colour, Scale Size, Volume, Kinds of Exhibits, Display of Object Props Density, Degree of Partition Information Composition External Cohesion (e.g. relative prominence in museum, relation to connectors — corridors, stairways) Area Sub-narrative Theme Circulation Path Traffic Flow/ Rhythm Sequence of Surfaces Interplay of Surfaces (i.e. displays on Setting Flow Rate Relative Prominence of Area walls, floors and ceilings) Lighting, Colour, Size, Volume, Kinds of Object Props
  43. 43. Site/ Ideational Interpersonal Textual Function Surface/ Topics (Sub-topics) Interactivity Gaze and other sensory Display Style Classification Item modes of attention Arrangement Relationship Map Intra-relationship of elements in an item Interpretive Path Interplay of modal and Visual Salience Balance: Inter-relationship of elements across items Directional Path compositional elements Flank/ Spiral Focus (CVI) (e.g. Colour, Light, Alignment Shape, Size, Lines) Image-Word-Object: Extra- Vocalization Semiotic Metaphor Obj ectification Perspective Information Composition Metonymy Viewing height Relative Prominence of Surface/ Item Visual semiotic O'Toole (1994)/Kress and van Leeuwen (1996) Linguistic semiotic: Halliday (1994)
  44. 44. 36 MULTIMODAL DISCOURSE ANALYSIS National Education . . . is an exercise to develop instincts that become part of the psyche of every child. It must engender a shared sense of nationhood, an under- standing of how our past is relevant to our present and future. It must appeal to both heart and mind. Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong reiterated this position at the formal launch of NE on 19 May 1997, saying that it is 'a concerted effort to imbue the right values and instincts in the psyche of our young' through teaching 'the Singapore Story - how Singapore succeeded against all odds to become a nation'. Thus, From Colony to Nation, which is also referred to as 'The story of Singapore' in the exhibition guide (see Plate 2.1),5 has a strong pedagogic purpose that is tightly circumscribed by the ideals of NE, namely to underscore the constraints and vulnerabilities of Singapore. I discuss now how the intent of NE motivates a selective remembering of Singapore's recent political past, with particular focus on an Area - the 'Communist United Front' — that displays the Communist movement in Singapore after the Japanese Occupation. It is worthwhile first to contextualize this Area concerning the Communist movement in terms of the Narrative Design at the rank of Gallery. Typically referred to as the 'storyline' among exhibition makers, the Narrative Design is abstracted as that overall thematic content of an exhibition that binds the particular selection and arrangement of multiple semiotic systems. As Vergo (1989: 46) puts it: in the case of most exhibitions at least, objects are brought together not simply for the sake of their physical manifestation or juxtaposition, but because they are part of a story one is trying to tell . . . Through being incorporated into an exhibition, they [objects] become not merely works of art or tokens of a certain culture or society, but elements of a narrative, forming part of a thread of discourse which is itself one element in a more complex web of meanings. The Narrative Design is, then, an 'interpretative strategy' (Dean, 1994: 103), within which the subject matter of an exhibition is formulated at several levels of complexity. An aspect of this complexity lies in the Interplay of Genres, which is worked through the social experience of a museum visit. An instance of this would be the experience of picking up and glancing through an exhibition/gallery guide before viewing the actual three- dimensional display. In From Colony to Nation, where no main introductory panel is installed, the exhibition guide plays a marked role in providing visitors with an overview of the content of the display. More significantly, the exhibition guide, in orientating the visitor to '[t]ake a walk through history and understand why Singapore must prize her independence above all else', inflects the historical recount displayed as an exemplum. An exemplum, according to Martin (2000b: 8), 'relate [s] a sequence of events in order to make a moral point'. The moral point here is the obligation for Singaporeans to value positively and not take for granted the country's independence.
  45. 45. Plate 2.1 Exhibition guide to From Colony to Nation (layout plan)
  46. 46. 38 MULTIMODAL DISCOURSE ANALYSIS This interplay between the guide and three-dimensional display may be conceived as a generic chain (Fairclough, 2001)6 across media, which co- evaluates Singapore as a vulnerable body politic. The vulnerability of Singapore, therefore, forms an even more abstract theme that organizes the interconnectivity between various semiotic resources in the exhibition. This state of vulnerability is perceived within the Narrative Design through the erection of points that risk the status quo established by the PAP govern- ment. Communism is one such risky point. Now, I move into the Area 'Communist United Front' (see Plate 2.2) and discuss how the co-deployment of various semiotic resources (primarily written language, visual images and space) serves mainly to discredit the Malayan Communist Party (MCP). From the outset, the undesirability of the Communists is already indicated by the thematic classification of this Area under 'Colony in Chaos' (see Table 2.2, p. 40). In the exhibition on the left wall, this classification is indexed by the use of a red board on which the linguistic text panel is mounted. Linguistic text panel Written language is used in the main text panel and in museum labels. Table 2.3 (see pp. 42-43) contains a linguistic analysis of the main text panel in terms of its schematic organization and the sub-system of Attitude in Appraisal Theory (Martin 2000a). Attitudinal evaluations of the MCP and pro-Communists are mostly negative Judgements on propriety. For example, Material Processes like 'infiltrating' (clause 7), 'exploit/ed' (clauses 8 and 11) and 'incited' (clause 21) dramatically construct a negative Judgement of (pro)-Communists as reactionary, unlawful, manipulative and perhaps even irrational. Note- worthy too is the accumulation of negative Judgement from clauses 3—10, which function to elaborate the Thesis. It is interesting to observe how the series of non-finite in clauses 6—10 appears to 'quicken' this accumulation by allowing a jam-pack of New information, which refers back to 'It' (clause 5) as thematized Actor. This 'It', in turn, anaphorically refers to the MCP. A cluster of attitudinal evaluations is thus rhetorically woven to intensify the negative evaluative force on Communism. Noteworthy in the analysis presented above is also the embedding of two historical recounts - the May 13th Incident in 1954 and the Hock Lee Bus Riots in 1955 — as examples of Communist-instigated violence. This embedding has the effect of re-interpreting the historical recounts to the point of the Thesis (clause 2), which generalizes via an intensive identifying relational process the use of violence as the primary strategy by which the MCP aimed to achieve power. Indeed, the negative propriety of the Com- munists is predicated on this use of violence. The point of this linguistic text is not to recover the specifics of the actual perpetrators and victims in these acts of violence. Rather, within the genre of an exemplum, the social pro- cess here is to moralize violence as socially undesirable in order to discredit
  47. 47. Plate 2.2 Display area of 'Communist United Front'
  48. 48. 40 MULTIMODAL DISCOURSE ANALYSIS Table 2.2 Classificatory scheme of From Colony to Nation 1945-50s 1960s 1965 present Colony in Chaos Tides of Nation-Building Transition World War II & Mighty Malaysia On Our Own Southeast Asia Proposal We Had to Accept Reality Divided Population Historic PAP split Political Unrest The Maria Hertogh Battle for Merger Who will Protect Us? Riots Referendum The Struggle to Live A Time of Hardship Confrontation Foreign Relations A Political Goal: Union Political Rivalry Defending Ourselves with Malaya Economic Problems Economic Growth Communist United Racial Tension Caring for our People (up to Front Racial Riots 1970s) 1955 General Elections Singapore is Out! Passing the Baton (1984/1990) Self-Government Our Presidents (1965-present) Communism and Communalism Elaboration of 'national' interests in terms of what is needed for Singapore to survive (Economic Pragmatism) Communitarian values Division —> Unity in Diversity the Communists. Any act of violence which might have been committed by the police then is from the start tolerated and legitimized as control. Moving into space The spatialization of information is a central feature in the three- dimensional text of an exhibition. As Bennett (1995: 6) remarks, 'an exhibi- tionary space . . . is a place for "organized walking" in which an intended message is communicated in the form of a (more or less) directed itinerary'. The framework here conceives this 'organized' walking as the system of Circulation Path under the Interpersonal function. There are two aspects to Circulation Path: Traffic Flow which concerns the routing through a series of spaces within an exhibition, and Flow Rate which relates to how a visitor is paced along the circulation route throughout a gallery and within an area of an exhibition. The system of Circulation Path is visually represented in Figure 2.1. Apart from the application of Circulation Path, I also examine in this section the operation of semiotic metaphor in the spatial re- representation of the meanings constructed in the linguistic text panel.
  49. 49. THREE-DIMENSIONAL MATERIAL OBJECTS IN SPACE 41 Figure 2.1 System of Circulation Path (adapted from Royal Ontario Museum 1999) FoUowing O'Halloran (1996, 1999, 2003a, 2003b), semiotic metaphor relates to the semantic shift that takes place inter-semiotically, during which the function of an element may be receded and new functional elements may be introduced in the movement from one semiotic resource to another. In her investigation on secondary school history, Coffin (1997: 202) notes the linguistic construal of external and internal time in organizing the past. The linguistic text panel sets up a chronological template in which external time unfolds categorically through marked Circumstances (in bold): (03) In 1948, it failed in an armed uprising during the emergency (19) On 13 May 1954, students and police clashed (20) In May 1955, the pro-communists incited students to join the Hock Lee Bus workers in a strike. Internal time is deployed to build up an explanation about the past and this is linguistically construed in the text panel via logical links of Cause. Now, the spatial semiotic also affords the capacity to realize external and internal time, but perhaps in ways less differentiated than language. The three-dimensional spatialization of external time can be seen to involve parallel semiotic metaphor. The events dynamically recounted along a chronological timeline of marked Circumstances in the linguistic text are physically bounded in a more or less rectangular enclosure with exhibits displayed along the two longer walls (see Plate 2.2). The left wall consists of