Il dibattito semiotico sulla fotografia oltre il cinema: appunti per una retorica intermediale
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This article takes some themes from the semiotic debate on photography and examines them in relation to some key issues of audiovisual intermediality. In his book L’image précaire, Jean-Marie Schaeffer discusses the medium’s nature in detail, emphasising two aspects: the concept of arché, the technical operation behind the photographic impression; and the communication context governing photography as a privileged vector for interpretation. Similarly, the fulcrum of interest in contemporary semiotics seems to have moved from textual objects to media practices and experiences. This contribution argues that, in the contemporary debate about overlapping boundaries between media, the gap between the audiovisual images’ material aspects – i.e. several definitions and dimensions of formats – is often used for rhetorical effect. These operations are based on the arché: the spectator inferentially projects the operation of capture devices to understand the audiovisual ‘discourse’. This contribution also discusses Francesco Casetti and Pietro Montani’s theory of intermediality. In his latest book, Casetti writes of a cinema of awareness, which uses ‘low-definition’ images to generate ‘high-definition’ thoughts. Montani proposes the concept of intermedial imagination, a technique that relies on the gaps between formats to push spectators to critically recompose such gaps. Both theories hinge on two central concepts: 1) the images’ format and 2) the discursive genres. To interpret these gaps critically, spectators must first be able to recognise a technical format or a typical frame. Starting from some cinematographic examples that exploit the ambiguity of photography, the essay seeks to extend such assumptions to audiovisual forms, in an attempt to establish a unified theory.
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