Informing Contexts - What is Intertextuality

During the week one module leaders hours, Steph said about everyone being on the same level. I don't for one minute think that is going to happen with some of my good friends in my cohort, whom are very well read and understand the level of talk that goes on, they have been contextualising probably their whole adult lives and I have only just started. Before this course, I never looked at who influenced me, why I liked it, or even if I liked it. I lived in my own bubble. Not a vain bubble or I am the best bubble, but a genuine lack of knowledge. I have only been aware of creating photographs for three years really, before that was family and holiday snaps, but not thought about in terms of planning or even advantage points. Purely capturing a moment of a child or a memory. So very often on this course I feel like I need to eat a dictionary to understand what is said. That uncomfortable moment that makes me sit back, say nothing, write the word down and hope I am not asked a question to save embarrassment, fingers crossed I get to google it later.

So what is intertextuality? It is an aspect of semiotics: it is concerned with the ways in which culture weaves meaning into meaning into meaning – or, to put it another way, it is to do with the ways in which media artefacts ‘quote’ each other.

Key figures in the development of the theory of intertextuality are Roland Barthes (who wrote a very influential essay called ‘The Death of the Author’) and Julia Kristeva (who came up with the term ‘Intertextuality’).

‘The term intertextuality denotes the transposition of one (or several) sign system(s) into another…’

I have ordered the book but apparently it says it here (Julia Kristeva, ‘Revolution in Poetic Language’ (1974), in Toril Moi, ed., The Kristeva Reader, Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1986, p. 111.)

Since starting this MA, as a photographer, I find myself being drawn to certain images for a wide variety of images and can see how previous images or in my case has been mostly paintings feeds creativity. Mostly in the past has been unconscious but whilst doing the MA is more conscious, I am looking at scene settings and Tom Hunter in particular is more and more influencing my scene work with his images

©Tom Hunter/Vermeer accessed 29 Jan 2019.

Reasons and I believe that I am influenced by the work of others and things that surround me, whether this be conscious or unconscious.unconscious – true intertextuality: beyond author’s control(self-)conscious – what Kristeva calls ‘the banal sense of “the study of sources” The following are crucial to understanding intertextuality: nothing is truly original (in the sense of unique, pristine, one-off) authors can’t control the ways in which their works are read and understood by the viewer and authors can’t even fully control the content of their works: inevitably there will be meanings they didn’t intend, beauty is always in the eye of the beholder as is the lack of control over how others see your work. Unless you spew out in text what you want people to see then it is very open to interpretation. And even then when you put an image in the public eye you are opening yourself up to questioning intent.

Example of intertextuality

Miss Piggy, artist unknown

© Leonardo Da Vinci, Mona Lisa (1503-6) accessed 29 Jan 2019

Example of my own work where I feel this would apply. Although I haven't destroyed, more appropriated.

©Gail Timms

©Bragolin 1911 accessed 27 Jan 2019

So, Intertextuality – Various elements that relate to previous material

Appropriation - In the visual arts, to appropriate means to adopt, borrow, recycle or sample aspects (or the entire form) of man-made visual culture. accessed 29 Jan 2019

Using material from other sources other than the artists/photographers own by: extracting reproducing or re-contextualisation accessed 29 Jan 2019

Pretty relevant to the current body of work as I am doing a project on children that have lead or been in a position of authority, or made significant changes to how the world saw things. Positive or negative. Adding outtakes of modern life into a image that i see of the the person in history to make it a current piece of work and not just a remake.

#informingcontexts #juliakristeva #tomhunter #misspiggy #monalisa #bragolin #intertextuality

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© 2018 by Gail Timms