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Transcript of Intermediality
In a broad sense, a generic term for all those phenomena that in some way take place between media.
Reference to one medium or its subsystem (e.g. a genre) within the same medium, similar to intertextuality.
The appearance of a certain motif, aesthetic, or discourse across a variety of different media
In the narrow sense, a category for the concrete analysis of texts or other kinds of media products, focusing on medial conﬁgurations and their speciﬁc intermedial qualities
Example 1: References to a film in a film, or of a cinematic genre in a film
Example 2: Reference of comics in a comic book.
Example 1: Futurism
The combination of at least two conventionally distinct media or medial forms of articulation. A “genuine” integration of different media.
the transformation of a given media product (a text, a ﬁlm, etc.) or of its substratum into another medium. This category is a production-oriented, “genetic” conception of intermediality; the “original” text, ﬁlm, etc., is the “source” of the newly formed media product, whose formation is based on a media-speciﬁc and obligatory inter- medial transformation process.
the media product uses its own media-speciﬁc means, either to refer to a speciﬁc, individual work produced in another medium, or to refer to a speciﬁc medial subsystem (such as a certain ﬁlm genre) or to another medium qua system.
separable and coherently separated texts composed in different media. Ex: emblem, illustrated book.
signs in different media that would not be coherent or self-sufficient outside that context. Ex: poster, comic strip, postage stamp, titles and subtitles within the canvas (as in Picaba’s L’oeil cacodylate, 1921)
two or more sign systems or media in a way that the visual, musical, verbal, kinetic, and performative aspects from their signs are inseparable and indissociable. Ex: visual poetry (Forsythia), calligram (such as Apollinaire’s), typography (Daumier’s comic alphabet), Jasper Johns’ Alphabet, carmina figurata, hieroglyph, ideograms.
Example 1: film adaptations
Example 2: ekphrasis
Example 3: novelizations
Example 2: Retrofuturism
George Bluestone, 1957
The Taming of the Shrew
, by William Shakespeare (ca. 1590)
The main plot depicts the courtship of Petruchio, a gentleman of Verona, and Katherina, the shrew. Initially, Katherina is an unwilling participant in the relationship, but Petruchio tempers her with various psychological torments—the "taming"—until she becomes a compliant and obedient bride. The subplot features a competition between the suitors of Katherina's more desirable sister, Bianca.
BAPTISTA: Gentlemen, plead with me no more! You know how firmly I’m resolved: I’ll not bestow my younger daughter Before I have a husband for the elder. If Katharina you desire to wed, Because I know you well, and love you well, I give you leave to court her at your pleasure.
GREMIO: [Aside] My peril, rather — she's too rough for me. Hortensio, isn’t this the wife you seek?
KATHARINA: I pray you, sir, is it your will To make a joke of me amongst these mates?
HORTENSIO: No mates for you, unless you learn to show A friendly smile and speak a gentle word.
KATHARINA: Fear not, I won’t enchant you with my smile. I’ll comb your noddle with a three-legg'd stool And paint your face and use you like a fool.
HORTENSIO: From all such devils, good Lord deliver us!
GREMIO: And me too, good Lord!
BAPTISTA: Gentlemen, that I may soon make good What I have said, Bianca, get you in
And out of sight. Don’t pout, now, good Bianca, For I will love thee never the less, my girl.
KATHARINA: A pretty pout! But where’s your tears? I’ll put A finger in your eye, that brings ’em out!
BIANCA: Isn’t it enough my life must wait For you to wed? Must you torment me too? Sir, to your pleasure humbly I subscribe: My books and instruments shall be my company, On them to look and practice by myself.
The description (in prose or poetry) of a visual work of art (such as a painting, a sculpture, or even a photograph.
In the ekphrastic poem, the reader is invited to examine the relationship between the poem and the presumably preexistent visual work it evokes. If we find close correspondences, we may decide to read the poem as a transposition of the visual text. (...) Of course, such considerations do not involve evaluation; to decide that an ekphrastic poem may be read as a transposition is not to enhance or diminish its stature in any way.
(...) The source work will be seen in a new light; studying a poem by means of a transposition will lead to insights that cannot be had any other way (...)
Claus Clüver, On Intersemiotic Transposition
"The presence that thus rose so strangely beside the waters, is expressive of what in the ways of a thousand years men had come to desire. Hers is the head upon which all "the ends of the world are come," and the eyelids are a little weary. It is a beauty wrought out from within upon the flesh, the deposit, little cell by cell, of strange thoughts and fantastic reveries and exquisite passions. Set it for a moment beside one of those white Greek goddesses or beautiful women of antiquity, and how would they be troubled by this beauty, into which the soul with all its maladies has passed! All the thoughts and experience of the world have etched and moulded there, in that which they have of power to refine and make expressive the outward form, the animalism of Greece, the lust of Rome, the reverie of the middle age with its spiritual ambition and imaginative loves, the return of the Pagan world, the sins of the Borgias. She is older than the rocks among which she sits; like the vampire, she has been dead many times, and learned the secrets of the grave; and has been a diver in deep seas, and keeps their fallen day about her; and trafficked for strange webs with Eastern merchants: and, as Leda, was the mother of Helen of Troy, and, as Saint Anne, the mother of Mary ; and all this has been to her but as the sound of lyres and flutes, and lives only in the delicacy with which it has moulded the changing lineaments, and tinged the eyelids and the hands. The fancy of a perpetual life, sweeping together ten thousand experiences, is an old one; and modern thought has conceived the idea of humanity as wrought upon by, and summing up in itself, all modes of thought and life. Certainly Lady Lisa might stand as the embodiment of the old fancy, the symbol of the modern idea."
described by Walter Pater
To write a novel based on a film, video games, tv series or comics, etc. through the addition of scenes, historical background information, description, introspection, etc.
- useful to help generate publicity for upcoming films;
- considered additional links in the movie-marketing chain.
- an estimated 50% of purchases are to spectators who just watched the film. Thus a film also works as a kind of "commercial" for the novelization.
“In this system, novelization is not seen as a fully fledged mode of transposition from one medium to the other, as opposed to the reverse process of film adaptation. (…) There’s more to be discovered behind the scenes of the lowbrow commercial novelization.”
In the past, when films were only screened in local theaters for a few days, novelizations were a way to fill the gap, keeping the stories available to the public for a longer period of time.
Institutionalization in Hollywood, rigid protection of copyrights: official novelization of the film, generally to tie in with the film release. Also, a rather stagnated form.
Thomas Van Parys, “The Commercial Novelization: Research, History, Differentiation”
The media product uses its own media-speciﬁc means, either to refer to:
1. a speciﬁc, individual work produced in another medium;
2. a speciﬁc medial subsystem (such as a certain ﬁlm genre);
3. another medium qua system (its qualities).
Just one medium is materially present. Rather than combining different medial forms of articulation, the given media-product thematizes, evokes, or imitates elements or structures of another, conventionally distinct medium through the use of its own media-speciﬁc means.
For example, references in a literary text to a ﬁlm through, for instance, the evocation or imitation of certain ﬁlmic techniques such as zoom shots, fades, dissolves, and montage editing. Other examples include the so-called musicalization of literature, transposition d’art, ekphrasis, references in ﬁlm to painting, or in painting to photography, and so forth.
Sasha Waltz, Körper (2000)
Example 1: photorealism
Example 2: references to comics in films
Example 3: references to video games in films
The so-called “as if” character of intermedial references, as well as to a speciﬁc, illusion-forming quality inherent in them.
3. Reference to a medium's qualities. ex.: photography portrayal of reality
Intermedial references can be distinguished from intramedial (and thus intertextual) ones by the fact that a given media product cannot use or genuinely reproduce elements or structures of a different medial system through its own media-speciﬁc means; it can only
them. Consequently, an intermedial reference can only generate an illusion of another medium’s speciﬁc practices.
Richard Estes, Nedick's, 1970
3. Reference to a medium's qualities. ex.: comics balloons and frame division.
1. Refenrence to a specific medium work produced in another medium
2. reference to a specific medial subsystem
The Amazing Spider man (2012)
2. reference to a specific medial subsystem
Scott Pilgrim vc. The World (2010)'s video
Example 4: ekphrasis
There can be references to 3 aspects in the same work. Ex.:
1. a speciﬁc, individual work produced in another medium (title sequence to Len Lye's animation);
2. a speciﬁc medial subsystem (fighting games);
3. another medium qua system (comics onomatopoeia).
Fall of Icarus (c. 1558), Pieter Brueghel the Elder
Claus Clüver, "On Intersemiotic Transposition". Depending on the level of description and details, a poem can be considered either a transposition or a reference to a painting.
, Alexander Fhares (1972) -> Media transposition
, Ronald Bottrall (1942) -> Intermedial reference
“Before the Mirror”, (1996)
How many of us still remember
when Picasso’s “Girl Before a Mirror” hung
at the turning of the stairs in the pre-
expansion Museum of Modern Art?
Millions of us, probably, but we form
a dwindling population. Garish
and brush-slashed and yet as balanced
as a cardboard Queen in a deck of giant cards,
the painting proclaimed, “Enter here
and abandon preconception.” She bounced
the erotic balls of herself back and forth
between reflection and reality.
Now I discover, in the recent re-
trospective at the establishment,
that the vivid painting dates
from March of 1932,
the very month which I first saw light,
squinting nostalgia for the womb.
I bend closer, inspecting. The blacks,
the stripy cyanide greens are still uncracked,
I note with satisfaction; the cherry reds
and lemon yellows full of childish juice.
No sag, no wrinkle. Fresh as paint. Back then
they knew how, I reflect, to lay it on.
Girl Before a Mirror (1932), Pablo Picasso
"Hiram Powers' Greek Slave"
Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1886)
They say Ideal beauty cannot enter
The house of anguish. On the threshold stands
An alien Image with enshackled hands,
Called the Greek Slave! as if the artist meant her
(That passionless perfection which he lent her,
Shadowed not darkened where the sill expands)
To so confront man's crimes in different lands
With man's ideal sense. Pierce to the centre,
Art's fiery finger! and break up ere long
The serfdom of this world. Appeal, fair stone,
From God's pure heights of beauty against man's wrong!
Catch up in thy divine face, not alone
East griefs but west, and strike and shame the strong,
By thunders of white silence, overthrown.
The Greek Slave (1844), by Hiram Powers
An illusion-forming quality
The Bride Wore Black (French: La Mariée était en noir) is a 1968 French film directed by François Truffaut.
It is a revenge film in which a widowed woman hunts down the five men who killed her husband on her wedding day. She methodically kills each of the men using various methods and dressing only in white, black or both.
"As if it were...
a video clip."
"As if it were...
a video clip."
An illusion-forming quality
The other medium is evoked, imitated.