This week we focused on two main concepts in relation to digital literacies. The first is ‘multimodality’ and the second is ‘affect’. Both of these terms have a relation to digital media and technology, and also on the communication aspects involved. Each concept is both simple yet complex, found in every person in his or her lives without even noticing it

Multimodality is simply a method or system of communication, where the communication form uses more than one communication mode. These communication modes include sound, image, interactivity, speech, print, gesture and many others. In its simplest form, multimodality is just two or more modes of communication being transmitted at once. The concept is so common around us that we don’t even realize it, whether it is in a music video, a conversation in person, or watching a movie, it is quite right to say that multimodality is within all digital communications. Furthermore, in relation back to digital literacies in week one, a concept of the term is being literate enough to read and write multimodality, thus showing multimodality’s relationship with digital literacies.

Affect is both a simple yet very complex concept to grasp, as the emotional aspect of it is easy to understand; yet the intellectual aspect is something that has to be thought about thoroughly. It can be described as an approach to analysis that asks us to consider the bodily impact, as well as the intellectual impact of communication, and how to describe, explore and diagnose these feelings.

Hardt summarizes ‘affect’ as “equally to the body and the mind… they involve both reason and the passions. Affect require us, as the term suggests, to enter the realm of causality… the illuminate, in other words, both our power to affect the world around us and our power to be affected by it, along with the relationships between these two powers” – (2007, p. ix). The relationship between the mind and the body, as a result of communication, gives the presumption that their powers correspond in a way to make them work together. An example of this is affective labour, whereby a person has a job where they have the physical attributes (e.g. a nurse who has medical profession with certain skills) and the emotional attributes (a caring type of person) to fit the certain job they have. These attributes or ‘affects’ remind us to consider how we feel when we consume, engage with, read, listen to or play with a multimodal text, including another individual.

To conclude, affect articulates the relationship between our body and mind when we engage with the digital world – “Affect is… immersed in the way in which the changing world constantly trades its forces, with us always immersed in this trade, whatever story we tell ourselves about it, however we “feel” about it, and whatever disciplines or concepts we form to talk about it…” (Murphie, 2010.)

Hardt, M. 2007, ‘Foreword: What affects are good for’ in Halley, J. & Clough, C.P., The Affective Turn: Theorizing the Social, Duke University Press, pp.ix-xiii.

Murphie, A. 2010, ‘Affect – a basic summary of approaches’ in Adventures in Jutland.

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