Intertextuality

What is intertextuality?

Today as part of our Media Discourses seminar we discussed intertextuality and exactly what it is and how it affects our practices. So what is intertextuality?

Intertextuality 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…’

(Julia Kristeva, ‘Revolution in Poetic Language’ (1974), in Toril Moi, ed., The Kristeva Reader, Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1986, p. 111.)

As a photographer, I find myself being drawn to certain images for a wide variety of reasons and I believe that I am influenced by the work of others and things that surround me, whether this be conscious or unconscious.

  • unconscioustrue intertextuality: beyond author’s control
  • (self-)conscious – what Kristeva calls ‘the banal sense of “the study of sources”’ (p.111)

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
  • authors can’t even fully control the content of their works: inevitably there will be meanings they didn’t intend.

In the past I have deliberately appropriated other photographers work, this was because of an assignment we were set and was titled “appropriation” but even when appropriation or intertextuality takes place, the “new piece” takes on a new life and somehow becomes unique to the particular artist that created it.

Some examples of intertextuality by artists 

Image

© Leonardo Da Vinci, Mona Lisa (1503-6)

Image

© Marcel Duchamp, L.H.O.O.Q. (1915)

image

Mona Piggy
Unknown Artist

Art Stuff. 2013. Appropriation Plus : ArtStuff. [online] Available at: http://artstuff.net.au/appropriation-plus/ [Accessed: 27 November 2013].

Andy Warhol

Image

© Andy Warhol, Blue Shot Marilyn, 1964

Image

© Andy Warhol, Red Liz, 1962

David LaChapelle

Image

© David LaChapelle, Amanda Lepore as Andy Warhol’s Marilyn (Blue), 2007

Image

© David LaChapelle, Amanda Lepore as Andy Warhol’s Liz (Red), 2007

And here are some examples of intertextuality within my images:

Richard Brochu-Williams

Image

Vogue Cover on iPad App
Unknown Artist

Garcia Media. 2013. García Media | Weekend readings and a new French Vogue iPad app. [online] Available at: http://garciamedia.com/blog/articles/weekend_readings [Accessed: 27 November 2013].

Image

© Richard Brochu-Williams
My Appropriation

Image

© Guy Bourdin

26k.co.uk. 2013. Untitled. [online] Available at: http://www.26k.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/guy-bourdin-1.jpg [Accessed: 27 November 2013].

Image

My Appropriation
© Richard Brochu-Williams

Image

Cyborg image sourced from internet as part of my Sensations Project last year which I can no longer locate.
Unknown Artist

Image

© Richard Brochu-Williams
My Appropriation

1 thought on “Intertextuality

  1. Pingback: Portraiture | Brochu-Williams Photography

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