Multimodal Life

After reading Writer/Designer’s “What are Multimodal Projects?” I have come to realize how multimodal projects are constantly around us. Whether we are reading online, browsing social media on a phone, watching street signs, or even ordering

at a restaurant, multimodal projects are texts that help communicate news, rules, options, or connections–everyday life, really– in many different ways, appealing to sight, sound, gestures, written texts, and spatial modes. I have come across many examples this week, however, these are four of how I have experienced these multimodal projects in my everyday life.

I will begin by first stating how I am looking for newviolin students, here in Ann Arbor. While word of mouth may be helpful, I have decided to create my own business cards. They arrived from shipment just the other day, and when I picked them up from the post office, I was so proud! Using Vistaprint, I was able to design and choose the visual and written content of the card, purely from scratch! I designed them in a way, whereon one side of the card, my contact information is clear, professional, and visually appealing. Written is my name, addresses, email address, and phone number. On the other side of the card, “Violin” is written in big letters, in the very center. Below, is a small job description! For example, I had written “Private Lessons, Practice Mentoring, Funerals and Weddings, Church Services,” etc. I write about these because Ibelieve they include: the linguistic mode, in providing information of who I am, how I can be contacted, and my services; the visual mode, in choosing the printed pattern and color coordination behind the words, and size of the card; and the spatial mode, when deciding where to place certain information on the card. To me, it is quite amazing how a card, so simple in purpose (to hand out), requires so many different aspects to create, to hopefully grab one’s attention. In a way, this is a form of advertisement of me, and my musical abilities!

The second text I will choose, is the book I have been reading in my spare time: Jonas Jonasson’s The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared. The mode of this comedic and entertaining novel is quite obvious: linguistic. The title basically describes the very beginning of the novel, and as the story unfolds, the audience experiences the adventures of this one hundred year old man, Allan. As the audience grows comfortable with Allan, and his oddities, we begin to learn more of Allan’s earlier years in some chapters. While I am currently only halfway through the novel, this seems to be a trend: a shift back and forth, between Allan’s past, and his current escape. Jonasson does a great job in keeping the audience actively engaged in the fulfillment of Allan’s life, and even humor, through Jonasson’s ability of utilizing the spatial mode.

Instagram and Snapchat are another obvious text that I, and many other students, use. While most have quite similar purposes, they certainly have some unique modes that set them apart. For example, Snapchat’s grew in fame, based on the concept of a picture, sent to someone that disappears ‘forever.’ This form of communication exhibits the visual mode: the picture being sent, the linguistic mode: the comment sender writes in correlation to picture, and the spatial mode: the disappearance of the creation, ten seconds after the receiver has opened the ‘snap.’ Yes, Snapchat has evolved over the years, to include the video recording feature, which allows sound (aural mode). As for Instagram, I saw a post just the other day, by @female, which I thought was a humorous comment on linguistic modes. The post was a picture of a plain white background, and the black lettering “When your ex posts a selfie and you’re like damn why’d I ever break up with them and then you see the caption and you’re like lol oh yeah” (@female). @female captioned this picture “so truee (laughing emoji).” It is mind puzzling, yet fascinating, how this post demonstrates the linguistic mode, of the worded picture, @female’s caption,  and the caption mentioned in the picture. Further, the plain picture, as well as the selfie mentioned in the picture, appeal to the visual modes. This post recieved over five thousand likes, and one hundred comments–both modes worked together to create a relatable moment.

The last one I am going to share, may be up for debate: The University of Michigan’s Football game, against SMU (45-20). As I stood in Section 31, Row B, I began to absorb and reflect how football/game cultures appeal to all five textual modes, each contributing to the University of Michigan Football game experience. The visual mode of us as Wolverines in our Stadium is simple, yet so loud: the maize and blue we wear! We scream, and shout, and cheer, and sing–all of which may be seen as an aural mode. The scoreboard has linguistic texts that tell audiences who is winning, where the plays are, what quarter it is, the time, etc. Gesturally, we clap, shake our hands and fingers in hope for a win, dance, waving our arms singing that the other team “sucks.” And we are found everywhere, throughout the stadium, (spatial mode). While all of these are seen throughout a four hour period, these five modes play a role in our main purpose as students in the Stadium: to not only intimidate the rival team, but to exude school spirit, celebrating and growing closer as Michigan Wolverines!

These were just several, among many other encounters of multimodal projects throughout my everyday life, and they all look so different! Between business cards and a football game, they differ in purpose and modal types. They are in the same time period, yet different location and publication. However, I have learned that our abilities to recognize the differences and strengthen each mode is imperative; and to later use to the best of our ability, in any aspect of life, may be something to consider.

2 thoughts to “Multimodal Life”

  1. I think your interpretation of how the novel goes beyond the linguistic mode into the spatial mode by talking about how time shifts back and forth in the novel is fascinating! I would have never thought of it that way but that’s a really cool way to look at it. The Instagram post was really interesting to me too! I wonder sometimes what is the point of posting a picture of text on Instagram, and how this differs from simply updating a Facebook status or using a Tweet. I see these picture-text things on Facebook to and I notice they’re really popular and widely shared. Picture-text seems to be an interesting and unexpected intersection of modes that clearly seems to appeal in a different way than… text-text. I wonder what you think of the difference!

  2. Christine,
    I also discussed Instagram in my blog post! I love what you said about the spatial mode, especially since I did not recognize that. I also think it is interesting to think about the importance of all of the modes coming together in this genre. Like you stated, a caption (linguistic mode) can change the meaning the picture (visual mode) posted. The caption could have easily been something different, which would have changed the whole meaning of the picture the person who posted it was trying to convey.

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