Estudios en Intermedialidad como Mediación Intercultural (Studies on Intermediality and Intercultural Mediation)

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Historical and cultural heritage generates important economic activities directly related to their identification, protection, conservation, restoration, management and enhancement related to fundamental aspects in the area of Humanities and Social Sciences, where multiple relationships between heritage, arts and cultural industries arise. The research program Studies on Intermediality and Intercultural Mediation SIIM brings together several research initiatives on a socio-constructivist basis that essentially argues that the development of mental functions is a socio-genetic, so that cognitive development is the result of exposure to social and psychological levels, a movement that is 'mediated' through social interaction and technology. This concept provides a way to relate mental development operations, processes of information transfer and, thus, education, together with interdisciplinary implications involving the socio-economic, technological and cultural.SIIM research program has been calling attention to the material vehicles of languages ​​and formats of information and communication, focusing on the multimodal aspects now widespread with the conversion of analogue to digital. The research also points out the relationship between acts of creation/production, distribution and reception/creation of information as a cultural object, showing how n important part of communicative action is located in the materiality of social exchanges, through the negotiation of stories, images and meanings, that is, through power relations of agreement and disagreement and the authorization and legitimacy of different positions . The theoretical objectives of SIIM research are also based on the study of art forms as powerful metacognitive tools that stage power relations of everyday life. From a semiotic perspective, languages ​​(natural-human language and artificial-machine language) not only mediate the formation of symbols in a process of material alteration; their specific packaging affects the structure of cultural objects. Hence SIIM has to areas of interest: 1) A critical-theoretical investigation based on a) issues of semiotics and intermediality; b) cultural studies c) historical analysis d) sociology of communication and e) intercultural education. 2) An applied research with interactive technology. The visible result of SIIM program (2008-2011) has been the creation of a Bilingual (English - Spanish) Web Content-Manager that integrates various technological intermedial (text, image, audio, video) Content also comes from Prof. George Landow's websites, both in English and Spanish. urthermore, the research deals with cultural questions concerning the relations - combination, integration, re-mediation and transformation- between various forms of art and new media, the delimitation of border crossings, both at the material level of physical reality, and in their semio-cognitive and cultural implications. It is also based upon the idea, already developed by authors such as some of those participating in the project, that media materialities are not neutral and that all acts of production, distribution and reception of cultural objects modify human perception, conceptual imagery and the symbolic structure of human selfhood and of cultural phenomena. To fully grasp the effect of a new technology one must examine medium and context together, and establish their relations to previous technologies, since the present environment is itself made up of the effects of those. In the resulting semiotic system two types or interrelations occur: those internal, among the items of the language system (inter-textual, inter-medial), and those external, between the semiotic items and value systems, involving individual reception and collective systematization (socialization through institutions, organizations, etc.) of references considered important and relevant to practical life (facts, in the sense of constructed common information and events), and which combine concrete and contingent selections and realizations of cognitive, affective and moral components, thus constituting a cultural program or complementary model of reality. Finally, the program explores the construction of subjectivity alongside technological modes, symbolic and representational forms, and non-symbolic forces (body, acts, feelings, drives) and it will show how, due to its self-reflexive consciousness, subjectivity is capable of strategic (agentive) self-fashioning, employing multimodal signs as scenery for engaging in the symbolic interaction with others. Therefore, underlying this study, there is also an inquiry into the relationship between inter-subjectivity, inter-mediality and inter-culturalism.

The final aim is to work towards a framework on multimodal social semiotics and its implications for the study of Computer Mediated Communication and Humanities Studies. It will focus on the following points: 1) to situate empirical data on mental cognition and imagery in relation to the discussion of human communication, showing how multimodal communicative contexts are shaped both by material aspects and by human experiences, ranging from intertextual and intermodal relations to socio-cultural and political implications, thus exploring the relationship between changing communication substrata and human cognition, 2) a semiotic study of multimodal formats and their differences; 3) historiographical discussions on the changing discursive patterns in structural textuality -from intertextuality to intermediality- and how these patterns can be found in previous aesthetic and representational responses to changing technological patterns, particularly in the avant-gardes; 4) reflections on the impact of popular culture on changing media patterns; 5) reflections on aspects of globalization and technology; 6) studies on the changing role of producer/author and consumer/receiver into a new blended category of the collective networked co-user/participant, and the emergence of social software; 7) research on the role of translation and re-mediation and media alterations. 8) insights into the development of interculturalism in a growing global informational world where the degree of autonomy of each culture is significantly reduced; 9) the influence of education in the creation of an intercultural conscience tending towards cooperation; aspects of intercultural didactics, interpersonal relations, 10) accessibility.

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Maya Zalbidea