Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Kress-fallen or too soon to inter textuality

A few years ago, Gunther Kress argued that the textual was being eclipsed by the visual as we move from printed pages to digital content viewed on screens (the ‘new Media Age’):

Two distinct yet related factors deserve to be particularly highlighted. These are, on the one hand, the broad move from the now centuries-long dominance of writing to the new dominance of the image and, on the other hand, the move from the dominance of the medium of the book to the dominance of the medium of the screen. [...] language-as-writing will increasingly be displaced by image in many domains of public communication [emphasis mine]. (Kress 2003: 1)

I think a problem with Literacy in the New Media Age is that, published in 2003 and therefore pre-dating the extraordinary developments in Web 2.0 and social media, it hasn’t the chance to absorb the array of new textual practices (tweets, status updates, tags etc.) associated with or enabled by those technologies. Kress views writing, as what he calls “lettered representation”, as on the way out for all bar political and cultural elites. However, from the vantage point of late 2009, text looks in rude good health (how many txt msgs, tweets, status updates per day from ordinary folks?).

It’s way too soon to inter textuality.

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