Semiotics (Old Multimodal Exploration)

The illiterates of the future will be ignorant of the use of camera and pen alike…

              —  Laszlo Moholy-Nagy (1895-1946)

In this unit, we focus on image/text relations in the field of semiology as we anticipate the influence of digital media on the future of literacy and composition. This exploration is divided into three parts as described below.

love_sale

The assessment for this assignment is designed to promote a definition of thinking inclusive of cognition, perception, feeling and the emergence of thoughts in action. For this assignment, I will be using the course Assessment Rubric In this way,  assessment is distributed evenly across the four rubric domains: View, Appreciation, Method and Presence.

For each of the three parts, you are asked to either find or create a series of images with text and to analyze image/text relations.  The details of each analysis refer directly to readings, discussions and workshops.

I. Anchorage

Using your digital camera, produce a provocative photograph and post it to your Multimodal Literacy page. Do NOT include any text in the photograph. Prepare a photocopy of the photograph for everyone in class.  Before printing, reduce the photograph so that it fits in the center of a standard sheet of paper with space around the margins for comments. However, do not make it so small that it is difficult to recognize its signifying elements. Bring the photocopies to class in a single envelope.

In class, we will share our photographs in gallery fashion, each image to its own workstation. During gallery time, consider everyone’s photograph. On the copy of each photograph, compose a caption, sidebar or write some textual element into the photograph. Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 11.38.25 AM

You are welcome to bring any tools such as markers or stickers or pens or colored pencils to use in the creation of your textual element.

Upon completing each textual element, place the photocopy into the envelope provided.

Now consider the photograph you produced with the textual elements worked into it by your classmates. Select three that you prefer. Working with a simple digital photo-editing app, reproduce your photograph with the textual elements worked into it by your classmates.  DO NOT alter  or otherwise embellish the photograph or the textual elements much beyond the intended and original work of your classmates.

You now have three versions of your photograph constrained by some form of textual element. Publish all three as a triptych on your Multimodal Literacy page.

Tryout various semiotic techniques, discussed in Rose and then again in class, to analyze the triptych. How has the meaning of the photograph been constrained / anchored through this process? How might the process of signification relay across the three photographs?

Post the images and your analysis to your Multimodal Literacy  webpage (400 word + images).

Resources: Semiology Notes

II. Education and Contemporary Myth 

barthes2ndorder

In his unique approach to semiotics, Roland Barthes writes about Myth as the second order of signification.  This concept of Myth is discussed by Rose (2007). About Barthes’ specific notion of Myth, Fiske (2011) writes, “A myth is a story by which a culture explains or understands some aspect of reality or nature.”  Following Barthes, Fiske (2011) represents the semiotic structure of Myth  (see: diagram left). Select a visual representation of children, or a topic/issue from a textbook in your discipline or grade-level, or some other relevant visual representation about “education.”  This visual representation can be a photograph, a drawing or possibly even a graph; it may or may not include text.  Analyze the visual representation as an instance of Semiotic Myth. In your analysis, discuss both orders of signification.

Post the images and your analysis to your Multimodal Literacy  webpage (400 word + images).

Resources:

Resources: Semiology Notes

Ribbet.com is an user-friendly and powerful online photo editor useful for making collages, touch-ups, and lots of photographic effects. (I used Ribbet to create the line drawing of the spoof ad).

I used PowerPoint to draw the lines and then I used the image capture on my Mac: (Command/shift/4) to take a picture of the image. With Windows, you can use the SnipIt tool.

Adbusters Spoof Ads

BarbaraKruger.com is a tribute to Barbara Kruger, the American collage artist

The elements and principles of design, John Lovett

III. Signs in Relation and Mapping the Transfers (Extra Credit)

Before choosing the topic of your analysis, carefully read section 3.3 in Rose (2007, p. 89+).  In this section, Rose (2007) explains that in photographic advertisements, relations are formed between certain signifiers that afford a transference of meanings between them. For this exercise, identify a product that you consume.  It could be a certain brand of peanut butter or toothpaste, or perhaps the car you drive. You may also consider an image/text in a newspaper. Now identify a different brand that you don’t tend to use, or a different newspapers rendering.  For each, locate an advertisement that combines image and text. (You can use a still from a TV advertisement). Referring to section 3.3 in Rose (2007), analyze the signs in relation to each other.

Post the images and your analysis to a new webpage titled Multimodal Literacy (250 word + images).

Setting Up for the Signs in Relation Exploration / Mapping the Transfer of Signifieds

adbusters_MarlboroCountry  adjusted_MarlboroCountry  AdjustedLinesmarlboro11

Resources

Print advertising: 65 brilliant examples | Print design | Creative Bloq

30 Hilarious Print Advertisements | SpyreStudios

40+ humorous print ads | Webdesigner Depot

Images for Famous print advertisements

Killing us softly 4 [electronic resource] : advertising’s image of women.Imprint. Northampton, MA : Media Education Foundation, 2010.


 

Unit outline


Day One

(among other things)

Exploration IntroductionMultimodal Literacy


Day Two

(among other things)

Readings: Takayoshi, P. and Selfe, C. (2007)  Thinking about multimodality. In: & Cynthia Selfe  (Ed.) Multimodal composition : resources for teachers. Cresskill, NJ : Hampton Press. pp.1-12.

AnnouncementsFieldPlacements

Discussion:  

  1. Exploration IntroductionMultimodal Literacy
  2. Thinking about multimodality
  3. Introduction to the Anchorage section: (see: deliverables under next class)

Workshop:

  • Uploading and inserting images to WordPress
  • Photo editing with Ribbet.com 

Day Three

ReadingRose, G. (2007) Visual methodologies : an introduction to the interpretation of visual materials. Chapter Five: Semiology: Laying bare the prejudices beneath the smooth surface of the beautiful. Thousand Oaks, CA : Sage Publications. pp. 74-98.

Lecture / Discussion 1:  Semiotics, an introduction

Workshop: The Anchoring of Meaning (see details for deliverables needed for class)

Using your digital camera, produce a provocative photograph and post it to your Multimodal Literacy page. Refrain from incorporating any text in the photograph. Prepare a photocopy of the photograph for everyone in class.  Before printing, reduce the photograph so that it fits in the center of a standard sheet of paper but don’t make it so small that it is difficult to recognize its signifying elements. Bring the photocopies to class in a single envelope.


Day Four

(among other things)

Noteworthy: A note about assessment

ReadingRose, G. (2007) Visual methodologies : an introduction to the interpretation of visual materials. Chapter Five: Semiology: Laying bare the prejudices beneath the smooth surface of the beautiful. Thousand Oaks, CA : Sage Publications. pp. 74-98.

Lecture / Discussion 2:  Myth: The Second Order of Signification


Day Five

  • ML5 Multimodal Literacy workshop (among other things)

Day Six

ML6 Assignment Due: Multimodal Literacy (Multimodal Literacy Gallery)


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