Author Archives: Shujun Wei

Artifact and the creation of meaning

I think one of this week’s core concept is artifact. Artifact has its two sides of meaning: on the material level, it is what the ancestors created at the beginning to forge tools in aid of living; on the ideal level, it is what we attach meaning on. I think somewhere one of the authors indicated that through social learning, people are able to ‘upgrade’ the meaning of artifact to the ideal level. This probably illustrates how culture arises and where the controversy of the origin of culture lies in – if the notion of culture does not exist within the cognition of human, how can human develop a huge cornucopia of the mass we possess nowadays solely based on the exterior and our interactions with it?

And also, think of what we have gathered today, we have invented layer after layer of meanings based on incessant revolutions. Each time the innovation of the raw material and the technology enables people to discover new ways of thinking, and the culture constantly enriches itself.

In addition, when Cole mentions the third level of artifacts, I am also curious in what that can possibly mean because what he implies can be artifacts that’s already beyond our current imagination, a through deconstruction and reconstruction of what culture means in his article.

Reference:

Renfrew, C. (1999). Mind and Matter: Cognitive Archaeology and External Symbolic
Storage. Cognition and Material Culture: The Archaeology of Symbolic Storage.

The possibility of interpreting metamedia contents by semiotic means

In the theory introduction part, it is mentioned that telecommunication and other means of media are converging, and the concept of meta media that is designed to delegate other forms of media. This new level of media convergence and integration enabled by incessant business activities and profit-pursuing motivations of big global media conglomerate has enabled the representation of the same story across multiple platforms. For example, the ‘Star Wars’ series have already developed from the film saga made by George Lucas in mid 70’s to a trans-platform storytelling framework involving film, novel and video games, which help kept older fans and attracting new fans through an abundance of creative works.

In terms of semiotic analysis, I am extremely interested in what this level of convergence, and the metamedia it derives from such practices that media convergence relates to can create new meanings or alter the older meaning system. Metamedia in no doubt enriches the original narrative, however, with the emergence of new storytelling branch, and other interactive media type as video games, how would the meaning of a whole series such as Star Wars change? How much role will audiences play in deconstructing and reconstructing the symbols created by the author from the beginning? That is the most intriguing part for me.

Reference:

Irvine, M. (2018). Media Theory and Technologies of Mediation: An Introduction.