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Multimodality & Visual Rhetoric. Kati Fargo Visual Rhetoric. Taken From: Multimodal texts. According to Kress and van Leeuwen (2001): “modes produce meaning in themselves and through their intersection or interaction with each other” -- From Chuang (2006)

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Multimodality &Visual Rhetoric

Kati Fargo

Visual Rhetoric

Taken From:

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Multimodal texts

  • According to Kress and van Leeuwen (2001): “modes produce meaning in themselves and through their intersection or interaction with each other” --From Chuang (2006)

  • Kress (2004) describes the materiality of different modes as important in considering what can and cannot be represented in each mode. For instance, multimodality has the opportunity to activate the spatial world of images and the temporal world of writing.

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Examples of Multimodality

  • Subtitling/films

  • Video/computer games

  • Websites/webtext

  • “Imagetexts”

  • Graphic novels/comics

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  • Silent films/subtitled films call attention to the multimodal status of film (sound, image, movement w/ the addition of written text)

  • Chaung (2006): Subtitles and multimodality

  • Bump Halbritter (2006): creating an argument through soundtracking

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imagetexts” in “A Disordered Lifestyle”Jenson (2005)

  • “imagetext” = combination of images and text to produce the “complex intersection of discourse and representation” (p. 4).

  • Pro-Ana websites use imagetexts to reappropriate religious images/associations and mainstream images of beauty for Pro-Ana discourse

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Pro-Ana Imagetexts

Hip Bones are Beautiful


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“Ways of Skiing”Cuseo (2006)

  • “More than conventional narrative or text, it is these images of skiing that both reflect and constitute skiing culture” (p. 60).

  • Photothread refers to multimodality in framing: “From this photothread we can conclude that the textual description is nearly as important as the image itself, attesting to the significance of verbal framing in the reception of certain pictures” (p. 70).

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These were named after their moves, but Cuseo (2006) argues that the titling and comments provide the lens through which to view these shots. (Ex. ___ by a girl)

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Graphic Novels, Comics, Sequential Art & Multimodality

  • Types of Graphic novels:

    • Subversive Traditional

    • Anxious Naturalism

    • Twisted Realism

  • Graphic Novels and Memory

    • Maus

    • Perspepolis

    • Graphic Adaptation of the

      9/11 Commission Report

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Twisted Realism & MemoryDoyle (2008)

  • Authors working in twisted realism aren’t encumbered by reality—they show the world as they see it or as they would like to see it

  • Tension enters into how these worlds of reality and perspective push uncomfortably against each other

Taken from: Marianne Hirsch on Maus:

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Multimodality and the Graphic Adaptation of the 9/11 Report

  • Purpose: Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon sought to make the 9/11 Commission Report more accessible

  • Reception: the Commission was initially pleased, but people were later outraged by the mode of expression

  • Cormier (2007) is troubled by the introduction of multiple meanings in the visual representation in a text attempting to act as a definitive document

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Taken from:

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Chuang, Y.-T. (2006). Studying Subtitle Translation from a Multi-Modal Approach. Babel, 52(4), 372-383.

Cormier, K. (2007). Graphic Adaptation: The 9/11 Report as Graphic Novel. Conference Papers -- National Communication Association.

Cuseo, Mike. (Spring 2006). Ways of Skiing: Digital Photography, the Internet, and Cultural Narratives. Journal of the Northwest Communication Association. 35:60-78.

Doyle, A. (2008). Mice in Masks and Aging Superheroes: Using Graphic Novels in the Media Classroom. Screen Education(51), 68-74.

Jensen, Robin E. (2005). The Eating Disordered Lifestyle: Imagetexts and the Performance of Similitude. Argumentation & Advocacy. 42:1-18.

Kress, G. (2004). Reading Images: Multimodality, representation, and new media. Information Design Journal and Document Design. 12(2) 110-119.