Lost in transduction (or transmodality)

Moving along from risk-taking and creativity, here are more thoughts (before I forget them).

Q1: What is lost/gained in communicating (academic) knowledge in one mode rather than another?

What I mean is this: if we blog, or graphically illustrate or re-genre our ‘writing’, how does that affect our message?

We ask what might be gained and what might be lost in
changes of mode: from artefact and action to image, from image to writing,
to speech, or to moving image (Bezemer and Kress, p. 196)

I’ve been reading Bezemer and Kress (2008):

When we compare a textbook from 1935 with a contemporary one, we note that there tends to be less writing now than there had been, and the writing that there is differs from the writing of 40, 50, or 60 years ago, both syntactically and in its use (p.167)

Q: 2: How was knowledge received when there was less writing involved?

Bazemer and Kress say:

… one cannot analyze representations by focusing on design(ers) and ignoring those who use them. That issue is complex. It asks whether texts carry meaning independent of
their situated use—whether texts come “alive” only when they are brought into
action and communication, by themselves and in interaction with others (p.170)

They go on to talk about affordances.

Q: 3 What would make you, as an academic writer, choose one mode (a blog, say) rather than another (a cartoon, a journal article, an essay) to say what you want to say?

Consider what you (and the reader) would gain / lose by using each mode.

Q: 4 If I were to, say, ‘draw’ my position within any given controversy on a cline (going from left to right/v.v.), would that communicate the degree/gradient of my position any better than if I explained it in paragraphs preceded by an introduction and followed by a conclusion? Or maybe: at what point would it be better to draw the cline rather than write about it?

What transduction choices do you make when you write? Why? What determines these?


Jeff Bezemer and Gunther Kress (2008) ‘Writing in multimodal texts: a social semiotic account of designs for learning’ in Journal of Written Communciation 25 (2): 166-195

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