The social semiotics of Australian writing

Foley, Donna (2008) The social semiotics of Australian writing. In: Proceedings of the 2nd Global Conference: visual literacies exploring critical issues. pp. 1-23. From: 2nd Global Conference: visual literacies exploring critical issues, 30 June - 03 July 2008, Oxford, UK.

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[Extract] This paper explores the connections and disconnections between verbal, written and visual languages in contemporary Australian writing (urban aerosol graffiti). The research recognizes the limitations of spoken language to express physical, social or political anxieties which prevail in a visually dominant contemporary culture; limitations which for some, are circumvented by visual practice. In writing there is more to consider than the medium; the material evidence of writing as image reveals that the message is more deeply encoded in the visual; a language few unacculturated to visual practice might understand or articulate. The research examines a medium in which two forms of expression, graphism and language, are seemingly inextricably entwined, yet levels of power are shown to be critical determinants in the dominance of either form. Graphism is shown to draw on primitive survival strategies, the powerless utilizing a ritualized kinetic act of writing to deal with the uncontrollable problems inherent in the immediate urban environment. Writing might be hypothesized as a battle between insiders and outsiders, or a counteraction against unilateral forms of communication (one sided and authoritarian) as exists in books, newspapers and television. Writing might also constitute a reversion to a medieval chirographic culture, the technology of writing a retroaction against typographic print culture which, until recently, was the dominant technology of the Industrial Age. Slayden and Whillock argued that, despite the existence of more means today, less real communication is taking place; discourse has been subsumed by ritualistic and stylistic performances. The communicative acts of writers might be considered in this way. In writing, a confusion of texts, characterizations and iconography from various traditions and styles frequently converge on the walls, for example Wildstyle, bubble, blockbuster and straight text, anime and western cartoon characters, hooded skulls, bubbles, clouds and city backgrounds. Multiple intertexts coalesce in implicit visual and verbal expressions. The key to these diverse acts is to interpret the recontextualized intertexts in the context of visual literacy and the sub-culture that is urban graffiti.

Item ID: 26814
Item Type: Conference Item (Research - E1)
Date Deposited: 03 May 2013 01:56
FoR Codes: 19 STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 1905 Visual Arts and Crafts > 190502 Fine Arts (incl Sculpture and Painting) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9501 Arts and Leisure > 950104 The Creative Arts (incl. Graphics and Craft) @ 100%
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