The F pattern

Is the F pattern shortchanging the author, or is this a literacy that has emerged as a result of the medium?

A word devoid of thought is a dead thing, and a thought unembodied in words remains a shadow.
Lev S. Vygotsky

Can you substitute ‘image’ in the latter clause? Would it be truer, as per Kress, if you did?


Inanimate Alice

Wanted to tumbl this page from the Thomas et al reading.


Tombstone Blues


Kress argues that image, theoretically anyway, is less constrained than language because there is a finite supply of words but infinite possibilities for image. This may explain why surreal and post-modern art has flourished while there are only a handful of examples of people who have had success with surreal language (although some, like James Joyce with his Ulysses, were contemporaries of the surreal artists…)



As this audio clip demonstrates, however, words might be finite but there are an infinite number of ways to put them together.

[PS Artistic statements in the form of silent audio players and images straying outside the post boundaries, or disappearing completely, are entirely intentional...]


Little Einsteins and moving art

Kress argues that images are experienced in the way in which the viewer wants to experience them versus writing, the experience of which is dictated by the author. While this may be true of images (although I think in this case the context is crucial), what about video? He mentions recordings of image and sound near the end of the article, but doesn’t consider the way that any over-time image/sound also dictates how it is experienced.

In this clip we have the Little Einsteins navigating a work of visual art over time; motifs that appear in the art come to life and move around; the designs are paths that they follow. Would Kress say that this takes the power away from the viewer? Does it make a difference that the original artist did not animate their own work, but it was done by Disney?

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1000 words

This image, which made the internet rounds recently accompanied by an entirely fictional story, is nonetheless a digitally cultural reminder that we interpret images as well as words. Symbols and signs are embedded in images just as they are in language, and the misconception that a picture is somehow more transparent than language–while this could be true in many contexts–is misleading if applied universally.

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IoE website, 2013

IoE homepage

Is navigating this website really so different from navigating a text brochure? A novel or math book is meant to be experienced in a linear way, but I would argue that someone looking to turn some information into knowledge for their personal use would interact with informational printed text in much the same way as they would do with a website…especially a website that is largely text-based anyway. Moreover, while tabs and ‘breadcrumbs’ make the experience feel less linear than a printed booklet does, they are actually represented in a linear way.

IoE webpage tabs and breadcrumbs

If I was a student looking for information, I wouldn’t necessarily garner any meaning from the images–while this may be happening on a subconcious level, it is then more of a marketing tactic than another way of presenting information or content.

decline of text?

Kress may be correct in saying that changes in both the medium and mode of writing are ongoing. But the platform I’m typing into at the moment is evidence that writing itself isn’t as tied to the book as Kress suggests.

As for text, the internet is still largely structured by it as far as discreet parcels of information are concerned. If I want to find an image, video or sound clip, I still have to type in my text, and my success is based on the words that I choose to enter…

The distinct cultural technologies for representation and for dissemination have become conflated—and not only in popular commonsense, so that the decline of the book has been seen as the decline of writing and vice versa.
G. Kress (2005)
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Week 2 summary

I’ve been thinking about a couple different themes this week. One was to do with the tendency to view technology as a phenomenon independent of its human creators–and particularly, as Bell highlights, its human maintainers. This sees technology (for good or ill) as a nearly unstoppable juggernaut, an unpurposed and potent meme. It might be survival of the fittest: technology in general is good for humanity and the bad associated memes will eventually die out, or mutate into something more useful. But it also might be a capitalist Darwinism: whatever makes money will flourish regardless of its innate benefits to society.

The other theme is Sympathy for the Robot. The examples I’ve picked out (whether of tech or aliens) seem to be popular culture doing its best to get everyone to get along. Whether its ‘robots’ or ‘aliens’ are standing in for race, religion, ethnicity, etc., these and many other sci-fi offerings are pointed at getting one set of humans used to the idea that another set of humans may seem un-human, but once you get to know them, they’re just like you and me. My tone here is a bit condescending, but this has more to do with the manifestation of these lofty goals rather than the goals themselves. It is also worth considering that, while the internet holds the promise of real groups of one sort of human interacting with real groups of another sort of human, this interaction currently has little in common with the intimate relationships portrayed in Bicentennial Man and, yes, Small Wonder.

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