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Lars Elleström (part 2)

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DMU Performing Arts

on 22 October 2015

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Transcript of Lars Elleström (part 2)

Lars Elleström (part 2)
The Modalities of Media: A Model for Understanding Intermedial Relations

'The Modalities of Media: A Model for Understanding Intermedial Relations’, is my attempt to build a theoretical framework that explains how all media are related to each other: what they have in common and in which ways they differ.' (2010: 5)
Part 2 - perceiving meaning
(what it is and what we take it to mean are not the same thing)
Qualifying aspects - contextual and operational
Types of media
Semiotics (Charles S. Peirce)
Icon - looks like what it is (eg picture of a dog) CONTIGUITY
Index - suggests what it is (eg a knock suggests arrival, dance movement) RESEMBLANCE
Symbol - nothing like what it is; arbitrary (eg words and language) CONVENTION
Elleström pauses for reflection at this point
'There are thus media similarities and media dissimilarities. All media are mixed in different ways. (...) Every medium has the capacity of mediating only certain aspects of the total reality.' (2010: 24)

He goes on to say that all media are multimodal on some level.

Performance thought - think what medium/media are most appropriate for your intentions. For example sonic and olfactory media are very effective at evoking memory.
Elleström concludes that all
media can be seen as multimodal and intermedial
as there is constant 'trespassing' across borders.
However, this does not mean we cannot distinguish the specific 'recipe' of a given medium.
We can see media as '
' as Robin Nelson in
Mapping Intermediality in Performance
(2010) refers to the concept that they can be both intermedial and distinct.
Media are so manipulable due to their
nature. We view them as 'other' to our real world. This gives you great potential as a performance maker.
Elleström distinguishes between the way a medium materialises itself and the way it is perceived. What it is and how we read it are different. (See p.15)
Lets remind ourselves of last week ....
Performance thought - if you can be alert to how we read media and how we relate it to our experiences then you can make subtle decisions about what to leave in and what to take out of a piece. OR how you can play with the codes of one medium within another (transmediation).
'Since the world is meaningless in itself, meaning must be understood as the product of a perceiving and conceiving subject situated in social circumstances.' (2010: 21)
Performance thought - think how you can suggest a narrative just through indexical signs:
Think about this 'performance' piece:
Actions - blow kiss, knock twice, intake of breath, ssssh, knock twice again, louder ssssh
(note the use of symbols as well)
Lets decode it in modal terms first.
Think how you can manipulate the audience with a range of semiotic codes. They will infer more than you think. So less is often more!
Contextual qualifying aspect

'...the origin, delimitation and use of media in specific historical, cultural and social circumstances' (2010: 24) (sort of the 'why' of semiotics)
For example - Shakespeare is perceived differently now than when it was first staged in the late 16th/early 17th century
The place of Latin in texts has now shifted fundamentally.
'Text speak' has now entered common usage but its incursion into television is still used for comic effect.
Tweeting has emerged out of our knowledge of email and hence is comprehensible to a modern audience.
Performance thought - RSC have done whole drama pieces via Twitter: 'Such Tweet Sorrow'. http://www.rsc.org.uk/explore/projects/such-tweet-sorrow.aspx
Operational qualifying aspect

The 'conventions' of a medium; the traits we look for that help us identify it and sub classify it into genres
Eg. in film we may identify epic scale, ever present musical score, close-ups, montage shots, slow mos, instant changes of location
Eg. in dance we expect the performers to be silent, the action to be indexical
Eg. in stand up comedy (we may call this a genre of theatre) we expect partially fixed sequentiality, direct address to the audience etc
Think about difference between books and films. Consider how we accept remakes in film!
Performance thought - try using the qualifying aspects of one medium within another to see what effect it has.
eg. film: talking directly to the audience (and expecting a response) even when on screen.
Or just use it as a devising tool:
Troika Ranch
famously used jump cuts in film as inspiration for 'Loopdiver'.
Types of media

Basic - 'mainly identified by their modal appearances' (2010: 27) eg. still image, moving image, text (Im a bit dubious about this category!) CONTENT
Qualified - relying on the two qualifying aspects. Art forms belong to this category. CONTENT
Technical - 'All media need technical media to be realized.' (2010: 16) FORM
eg. qualified medium of television needs a TV set, internet needs a tablet or pc, dance needs a space designated as a stage, singing needs a body.
Performance thought - theatre is unique as it can be a 'home to all' other media. It is often called a 'hypermedium'.
This makes your performance options virtually endless.
Full transcript