- Oct 2017
The primary source reading, the first chapter to a book, discusses multimodality in multiple forms of communication and media.
This reading was very easy to read and had information that was mostly already known by the average teenager, so this took a lot to delve into and find where to elaborate on. The reading, however, was easy to connect to the supplemental readings and showed its significance because of this relativity. With that said, I decided to include a text that correlates with the points made in this chapter. I'm using "Talking to the Future -- Hey, There's Nuclear Waste Buried Here!," by James Conca.
In this article, Conco considers the future and the different forms of media that could be used to warn others of radioactive material. He thought about the material, like we do in our primary source descriptions, and the longevity necessary to make it worthwhile. Because of the uncertainty in how the human race will be in terms of language and concern for other humanity, Conco has a hard time deciding on what languages to use and which symbols to include, or if the warning sign is ultimately necessary. What Conco did focus on, though, was the conscious decisions that had to be made for this sign, because it needed to be believable and understandable.
I also recognized the connection between Dr. Wharton's class discussions and rubric instructions with her projects in that multimodality is a great aid.
Multimodality gives writers additional tools for design-ing effective texts. This is particularly true when writers arc trying to create a single text that will appeal to the interests of a large and diverse group of readers. By understanding who their readers arc, what they need to know, and how they will use the information, authors can create texts that satisfy a specific rhetorical situation
This is an ongoing theme for this chapter on multimodality. The communication necessary for the message to be conveyed will vary depending on the intended readers and what they need to know, for Conco's case, the fact that there is a lot of radioactive material buried 50 feet under the earth's surface, and how they can possibly receive this information needs to be considered.
In Conco's situation, the material must have multiple forms of language and be certain to last through destruction and possibly millennia.
No matter whether a text is created on a computer, on paper, or in some other technology, writer/designers can still use the multiple combinations of words, photos, color, layout, and more to communicate their information.
Options are never limited even when the text is physical. We can consider a number of options and opportunities to switch the form of that communication.
- A live speech or performance can be recorded and altered
- A digitally typed paper can be printed out as a physical copy, like how a digital image can be printed out
- A written paper, artwork, handmade posters, and even pictures of the real world can be taken and uploaded to the digital form
When considering aspects of a speech or performance, we can think about the options involved in:
- the background/backdrop
- the tone of the speaker
- the pace of the speaker
- the clothing of the speaker
- the gestures of the speaker (gestural mode)
When considering a paper, either handmade or digital, can have a multitude of options like those listed:
- choice of words
- style of fonts
- size of each aspect
This continuing theme of conscious decisions and options that are available in multimodal communication is shown in this excerpt and in the rest of the reading.
This mode helps us to understand why physical spaces such as grocery stores or classrooms arc arranged in particular ways to encourage certain kinds of behavior (such as all chairs in a classroom facing toward the center of the room to encourage discussion and collaboration). The spatial mode includes: • ,mangement • organization • proximity between people or obiects
It's interesting to read that the spatial mode used in informational brochures, posters, and websites follow the same strategic techniques for classrooms and grocery stores. James Conca, in his article , talks about the techniques that should be considered for messages in the long term. He considers the organizational structure that would have to be taken into account and how multiple languages and symbols would have to be placed on this type of communication.
These different strengths and weaknesses of media (video, writing, pictures, etc.) and modes arc called affi1rda11ces. The visual mode affords us the opportunity to communicate emotion in an immedi-ate way, while the linguistic mode a(fimfs us the time we need to communicate a set of detailed steps. Writer/designers think through the affordanccs of the modes and media available before choos-ing the right text for the right situation. Keep in mind that modal affordances largely depend on how the mode is used and in what context. In other words, the strengths and weaknesses of each mode arc dependent on, and influenced by, the ways in which the modes arc combined, in what media, and to what ends
Here again the authors make the point, and give definition to, the strengths of certain modes with respect to their intended goals.
The authors mention that the visual mode allows us to convey emotion, which connects to the previous page about a picture expressing a thousand words. Visual images give non-verbal expression the chance to be exposed and felt, along with videos, because many times we do not have the words to describe a situation like we have the empathy to feel it.
It is important to note that these modes are all of equal importance until you come across the full situation and consider all aspects: the purpose, the media, the combined modes, etc.
Different media use different combinations of modes and arc good at doing different things. We've all heard the expression "a picture is worth a thousand words."
This seems like an obvious thing to say, that different media uses different combinations of modes, but it is sometimes necessary to say something like that to tie in all this information together.
We know that it's best if we don't use printed essays with no pictures to appeal to children, or controversial posters to media-driven liberal teenagers. Pictures tend to be visually appealing and grab the attention of others faster than written words. Pictures also tend to describe the things that we can't so easily put into word. Humans tend to lose their imagination as they age, and they become more reliant on visual aids.
The authors again mention that there are certain modes for projected purposes. Everything is done with a conscious effort of the intended goal. What works for one thing, however, will not necessarily work for the next.
And although we've ~ listed it first-and though it's the mode you probably have the most practice with-the linguistic mode is not always the most impor-~ tant mode of communication. (Whether it is or not depends on ~ what other modes are at play in a text, what kind of text it is, and ~ many other factors.)
Here again we see a point that we can't depend on what is said alone to be considered 'successful' with our communication. Linguistics aren't necessarily the best for every situation, such as training for a sport, how to put something together.
In consideration with learning styles, we know that auditory learners are less prominent, but most college classes are built on lecture. Majority of students are visual learners, which is where powerpoints aid the students, but many professors use the powerpoint to either have vague bulleted points or philosophical questions. The linguistics of the lecture will help a few that are more auditory learners, but those that are visual learners and only have limited information from the powerpoint may not benefit as much from the linguistic mode. A chart that breaks down the different learning styles is below. If the authors of this textbook recognize that communication modes are situational and are largely based on audience, why don't teachers have activities that will benefit each style of learning?
The aural mode focuses on sound. Whether we are talking about a speech, a video demonstration, sound effects on a Web site, or the audio elements of a radio program, the aural mode provides multiple ways of communicating and understanding a message, including: • music • sound effects • ambient noise/sounds • silence • tone of voice in spoken language • volume of sound • emphasis and accent
Aural mode is much like auditory learning. We tend to only subconsciously recognize the background noise and small, seemingly insignificant sounds in movies, tv shows, or even video games, but these sounds, as everything else in other modes, are done with conscious effort and specific intention.
All kinds of texts arc multi modal: ncw~-papcr-., science reports, advertisements, billboards, scrapbooks, music videos-the list is endless.
It's important to note that texts aren't limited to the paper that we read. Everything around us, especially in this digital age, are forms of text and are multimodal. The research papers we learn from tend to include graphs and charts along with their written text, billboards have straightforward information or a catchphrase and an address or phone number, advertisements tend to have catchy jingles and happy people to convey a convincing feeling of happiness for the product, etc. We are surrounded by texts and will always be so long as we can preserve it, much like the illuminated manuscripts (shown below) that James Conca mentions in his article Talking to the Future -- Hey, There's Nuclear Waste Buried Here! In this article he tells readers how the material of the manuscripts, animal skin, was not only the cause for its longevity and durability, but an artistic feature, or 'treasure' in that creation's date. These manuscripts were not just written texts, but had intricate artwork with bright colors to depict the stories. The manuscripts are another example of a text with a different material and purpose that can be 'successful'.
For instance, lolcats, a well-known Internet meme, are multimodal. They combine photographs of cats with words written In humor-ously incorrect grammar to create a text that uses both visuals and language-11111/tip/e modes-to be funny.
The authors here connect their topic of multimodality to a modern day meme that their targeted readers can understand and make a connection.
One thing that I didn't realize before reading this primary source was that a single digital image can utilize multiple modes. Other sites agree with the phenomena of memes and lolcat, and explore the creation of these memes and explains quite similarly to this chapter how they're created. (https://www.mnn.com/family/pets/stories/lolcats-where-they-came-from-and-why-we-love-them) https://media.mnn.com/assets/images/2012/11/pw_1.jpg
The choice of whether to use video or animation, color or black and white, slow motion or other special effects, arc all deliberate """'"' considerations based on what the advertiser is trying to sell and ~o whom.
The author(s) of this chapter make a very clear emphasis on the intentional choices that are made to make a commercial. The author(s) take consideration to every form of multimodality that can be included in a commercial and the meaning behind it. This purposeful decision making is talked about in the entirety of the article.
Mendus, who said she has had trouble sleeping since the election, wants liberals to stop wasting time on “frivolous battles like pussyhats.” “We need to work on dealing with the problems at hand, not a stupid hat,” Mendus said.
I thought this was interesting to see because she brings the focus back onto the purpose of the hat and the issues it represents and standpoint it communicates, not the hat itself.
The approach is inspired by the illuminated manuscripts of the Middle Ages, which survived because they were rendered on durable animal-skin parchment and also were an artistic treasure.
The 'paper' the text was put on was of a specific quality to last through times.
envisages crafting gigantic blocks of stone engraved with symbols designed to last for thousands of years, and putting huge earthen berms around the site with embedded permanent magnets and metal discs detectable with radar and engraved with warnings (Warning WIPP). These will be supported by "information in multiple languages in multiple media" to try to convey the potential danger (WIPP).
This is where we can draw a very obvious connection, multiple languages and multimodality are hoped to be used.
There are 4 four requirements that must be met to successfully send a message to the future: • message must survive (durable) • message must be found (in plain sight) • message must be understood (build in a Rosetta stone) • message must be believed (so the message must be comprehensive enough for it to be judged as true)
Even in a case where nearly all civilization is dead and gone, there are still necessary requirements for this text to be read and useful.