Affecting modalities: configuring meaning in cyberspace

Trim, Valerie (2012). Affecting modalities: configuring meaning in cyberspace. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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The power of the Internet has produced a rich environment for the creation of new art forms. These artefacts, which can employ complex graphics, animation, music, written and spoken text and user-interactivity, are extremely fluid and variable. Encountering them requires a new and specifically multimedia literacy. This thesis examines in detail four online texts: Faith, Hometown, The Shower, and Blue Han, in order to investigate the possibility of such a literacy.
Both Faith and Hometown are subjected to an extended visual, aural, and textual analysis, using theoretical approaches drawn from art history, narratology, literary theory and music. The Shower is analysed by reference to film theory, musical semiotics, the concept of openness and user interface design. Blue Han is used to test claims that digital artworks can function as paintings.
This analytical work leads to an analysis and rethinking of some common assumptions made about the nature of interactivity, online collaboration and the mimetic possibilities of the digitalisation of texts.
The thesis concludes that analysis of multimedia texts is indeed possible, but that their diversity requires a range of analytical approaches working together to uncover meaning. Such a variable combination of methods of reading, it is suggested, would provide the beginning of a new form of literacy.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies, Department of English Literature
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general


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