Project Proposal


Although, there are many different routes possible in the creation of a multimodal/multimedia project, I believe that in order to fully display my own work, a portfolio-type website would be my best option. A portfolio website would serve two functions: 1) it would use text and image to demonstrate their combined ability to communicate a message and 2) it would enable me to demonstrate my writing and design skills to potential employers. My plan is to have two sections on the portfolio site, a design sample section and a writing sample section. Although I have some past experience with programs such as Illustrator and Photoshop, my exposure to these has been scattered through an uneven (off and on) three years of the New Media Studies program. I have taken one course on web-design, but did not actually complete a website or have it hosted, so this project would definitely be a challenge. However, I do have several past school projects that could be used under the design category and many professional pieces that can be used under the writing category.

For my website, I will try to follow the five major goals outlined in Anne Frances Wysocki’s article, which she sites from another source:

“’In designing a document, you have five major goals…:

To make a good impression on readers…

To help readers understand the structure and hierarchy of the information…

To help readers find the information they need…

To help readers understand the information…

To help readers retain the information… (Markel, 1998, pp. 309-310),’” (Wysocki, p. 138).

I believe that the first three of these goals will be easier to achieve in a “common-sense” type of way with the portfolio site. The last two goals, however, will be a bit more difficult to meet. For this, I will have to make “cognitive and socially-situated choices…while in the process of composing the text, before it enters into final production and distribution,” (Lauer, p. 236).


For the next several weeks, I will work on a professional portfolio that can be used to demonstrate my writing and design skills to potential employers. This site will combine image and text to display these abilities to this audience.


Multimodal Project Examples

In “Contending with Terms: ‘Multimodal’ and ‘Multimedia’ in the Academic and Public Spheres,” Claire Lauer focuses on the difference between the terms multimodal and multimedia. She presents modes as ways of representing information or the channels used to present information, while she believes that media are tools and materials used to produce and disseminate texts (p. 227). An important point made by Lauer is that “modes and media are independent of and interdependent with each other, meaning that although media and modes are different from each other, the media we use affect the ways in which we can realize meaning through various modes,” (p. 227). I have chosen three multimedia projects as examples of Lauer’s definitions of these terms.

The first example of a multimodal project is a video clip produced to go along with the song “Scapegoat” by Atmosphere. The song jumps from one theme to another in seconds and can be difficult to follow or remember. The producer of the unofficial video, in this case, uses what can be termed a slideshow to depict the lyrics. When the song goes into a hook, which is actually a sample taken from a different song, the producer presents the viewer with images of the artist KRS One, who is the originator of the sampled piece. There are occasional shifts to text on the screen. I believe that this video clip is a good example of what Lauer defines as “multimodal” as the video producer uses various modes to present the song’s lyrics: pictures of people, signs, animals, ads, and sound (the song itself). Since the song briefly mentions so many topics, the producer of the video created the video so that it shows a brief visual example of every topic mentioned, making it easier for the audience to remember these or get a sense of what the lyricist is saying.

My second multimodal project example is called “She’an Nights”and is defined as a multi-media multi-sensory night tour of the ancient Roman-Byzantine city of Scythopolis in Israel. The city was actually destroyed in an earthquake in 749 CE and this project has brought it back to life at the archeological site.

The experience is said to begin with an introduction summarizing the history of the city and goes on to include special effects such as Roman-style images of daily scenes projected on ancient walls, columns, and spaces. Through the project, visitors are supposed to experience the life of the ancient city, as well as the earthquake that destroyed it. Lauer’s idea of multimodality, “multimodal texts are characterized by the mixed logics brought together through the combination of modes (such as images, text, color, etc.),” (p. 227), fits in with the basis of this project. But although I believe this project to be multimodal because it uses sounds, colors, and images to communicate, I see it more as an example of Lauer’s definition of multimedia since I believe its main purpose is its effect on its audience and not the actual production of the project. Additionally, multimedia is “a descriptive term able to support the practices of both authors and users as well as a wide array of technologies and texts.

The third multimodal project example is “Time Fades” by Philipp Geist. The project is a video art installation that is supposed to represent space, time and architecture. The artist uses Berlin as its canvas and projects images and text onto buildings and the street. The video I have posted not only presents the project, but also gives somewhat of a “behind the scenes” look at the artist working on the artwork; it shows him on his laptop watching his work and directing it as people walk right “through” it. This transcends the idea that multimodal works have moved on to the computer screen. Although the art project is produced with a computer, it is projected onto buildings, streets and even passers-by.

Images/text Daisy F and Michelle M

Word Specific:

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Multimodality, Chicago is a typography town!

Multimodality, by Gunther Kress, introduces the idea that there are many communicative factors at work when we create or receive messages. Not only do we communicate by language and text, but by other modes as well.

In addition to language and speech, modes include gestures, facial expressions, sounds, colors, images, layouts, etc. In the book, Kress defines several characteristics of modes, which describe their ability to communicate an idea or message. Two important characteristics of a communication mode are affordance and semiotic reach. Affordance is “the question of potentials and limitations of a mode,” and semiotic reach is defined as the social or cultural domain that a mode covers (pg. 84). Affordance and reach are important in both creating or sending messages and in receiving them as we use all we already know about our society or culture to compose messages or decipher them.

The author believes that although communication has always included more than one mode, contemporary communication has moved away from the traditional (speech and writing) and has become increasingly multimodal in the last few decades. Multimodality, according to Kress, equals representations in many modes chosen for their communicational potentials.

Since language is the most traditional mode and is often represented through text, I have decided to post several examples that depict Chicago as a typography town. Typography is composed of various factors including color, size and shape. The photographs below illustrate typography in the city. Each typographic example uses various modes to communicate a message to the reader.

A local frozen yogurt store front used to lure consumers and graffiti markings on a wall showing the power of authorship.

Several signs to be taken in at a downtown intersection.

Graffiti “tags” in this picture illustrate the Social Semiotic theory that “signs are made-not used-by a sign maker who brings meaning into an apt conjunction with a form, a selection/choice shaped by the sign-maker’s interest” (pg. 62).

These pavement markings communicate measurements for construction purposes.

All caps in the word “ONLY” and the exclamation point in this sign call attention to the last phrase.

The text engraved on this building looks very official, while the “space for lease” signs rob it of its dignity.

Hello world!