Bridging Intertextuality and Intermediality from a Cultural and Literary Perspective

Critical Writing
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Abstract (in English): 

In this paper we argue that technological applications, and the intermedial practices that the World Wide Web allow can play an important role in developing educational and cultural policies and practices, expanding the stock of shared heritage while maintaining cultural diversity, and multiplicity, despite problems such as accessibility, the digital divide and growing economic focus, copyright and open-access, the organization of vast amounts of information and its preservation as part of our cultural heritage. Our previous research has emphasized the potential of intermediality to serve as a model that not only increases our understanding of the mechanisms of media convergence but also applies to parallel phenomena in intercultural and educational contexts. We have proposed that the basis for a constructive conceptualisation of social change is mediated through technology and that the good use of intermediality as a vehicle for socio-cultural needs to be further explored, both theoretical and practically, in its aspects of production, distribution, and usability. Our current research focuses in exploring the relationships between intertextuality and intermediality following the following tenets: 1) that “text” signifies a multimodal artefact because texts are manifest products of discourses and discursive practices (smiles, road signs, paintings, films, performances, books and even multimedia and hypermedia formats); 2) that intertextuality is about textual structures and voices transgressing borders. As such, it has a lot to offer to communication and cultural studies; 3) that culture is not just about textuality but also about multimodality, that is, the use of symbolic forms that employ simultaneously several material-semiotic resources and that the materiality of culture is increasingly changing with the quick incorporation of digital media in all kinds of spaces of representation and production; 4) that the study of intertextuality/intermediality in literary texts provides a window on how authorities (roles, hierarchies and value systems) are negotiated in communication -not only the relationships among characters in the case of fictional texts, but also the interchange between author and reader, or rather “user” in the case of digital communication, help unveil facts about cultural identity, beliefs, expectations and values, uncovering cultural bias, prejudices, stereotypes and cultural loadings, national stereotypes, socio-cultural prototypes, etc. 5) that what is finally needed is an understanding of intertextuality and intermediality as material basis for a dynamic understanding of culture that goes far beyond conventional notions of interculturalism as interaction between holistically conceived homogenous cultures; 6) that as analog forms of representation disappear, the criterion of resemblance (where meaning derives from the authority of the original or authentificating model) is displaced by similitude and the visible becomes increasingly discursive, and consequently the linguistic becomes increasingly graphical; 6) that intermedial environments are both verbal (conceptual; based on arbitrary agreement of signs; linear/relational with intertextual links) and visual (perceptual; based on resemblance of signs; relational) and reading new media texts requires new skills that can be described as not only representational (the representation of entities, whether physical or semiotic), but also interactive (images construct the nature of relationships among viewers and what is viewed) and compositional (the distribution of information value or the relative emphasis among elements of the image); 7) that to be literate in the twenty-first century means possessing the skills necessary to effectively construct and comfortably navigate multiplicity, to manipulate and critique information, representations, knowledge, and arguments in multiple media from a wide range of sources, and to use multiple expressive technologies including those offered by print, visual, and digital tools; 8) that the study of literary texts can help bridge intertextual/intermedial studies and educational theory through learning engagements that highlight abductive thinking and processes that encourage the making of cognitive connections, particularly because the focus of literary inquiry is not on final solutions. (Source: author-submitted abstract.)

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Eric Dean Rasmussen