Museums AD LESSON SIX AUDIO DESCRIPTION AND MUSEUMS At a number of ESFLC events I have spoken about Audio Description (AD) as the description of the visual elements of a film or television product inserted in the gaps available in the dialogue
principally for the benefit of the blind and sight-impaired community. the visual made verbal INTERSEMIOTIC, INTERMODAL TRANSLATION Intersemiotic modes of meaning (images, movement, gesture, etc.); Inter-modal - from one sense to another;
Interlingual translation eg. English AD to German AD BLEAK HOUSE AD AS A GENRE A number of specific features of the audio description (AD) process have already been posited as justification for the labelling of AD as a genre in its own
right (Taylor, 2015). LINGUISTIC FEATURES OF AD Exclusive use of present tenses Exclusive use of third person Simple sentences Lack of subordination Parataxis Vivid vocabulary Concision
Limited use of appraisal More than usual use of non-finite phrases in theme position Use of isolated noun phrases THE LANGUAGE OF AD (CONT.) It tells a story; It has a descriptive charge (objects, colours, shapes, gestures). Iconic information in words; Objective/denotative;
Correspondence between language and image; High lexical density; Wording should be appropriate to the public (scientific versus artistic language) AD ON SCREEN These features, and their relevance to SFL, have been identified particularly in the audio description of films and television programmes (Maszerowska,
Matamala and Orero, 2014) where the focus was on linguistic and pragmatic perspectives, questions of cohesion and coherence, and intertextuality. parameters of the objective/subjective spectrum cf. interpreters neutrality source of fierce debate on appraisal IN THE WAKE OF OTOOLE, KRESS, VAN LEUWEN
Current research related to this paper has extended the study of the AD genre to museums and art galleries, thus wedding AD to the early multimodal work of OToole, Kress and van Leeuwen, etc. Visual output has clearly become the
priority (Kress) THE STORY SO FAR The limited amount of work conducted so far on the audio description of art and the three-dimensional world of museums show first of all how the old formulae of traditional museum presentations have
mutated as such institutions become more hands-on, and how audio description has produced further manipulation of the texts associated with presentation. GOVERNMENT POLICY European Strategy on Disability 20102020 designed to improve social inclusion and the exercise of human rights at national and European level
Cf. Americans with Disabilities Act cultural inclusion MUSEUM From Greek museion a place sacred to the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosine 16 century a more modern sense 19 century specialisation a product of Renaissance humanism, 18 century enlightenment and 19 century democracy
(Mordaunt Crook) THE CONTEMPORARY MUSEUM Communication with the public an exposition illustrating not only the artefacts it contains but rather a series of ideas, situations, relations, questions and solved and unsplved problems. Part of an inexorable rise in hybridity and
complexity. HYBRIDITY Store of artefacts and collections Site for tourism Place of research Place of entertainment Place of education (edutainment) Place of promotion Place of merchandising
Place of SERVICE access for disabled COMPLEXITY Artefacts illustrative cards to guidebooks to audioguides to guided tours 3D productions Technological advance Lighting effects Special effects (eg Tate Modern) Educational programmes/lectures/courses
Club activities Publications Access - Audio Description/touch tours/multisensory approach LEISURE VENUES People have working models of what the museum experience affords. These affordances match public expectations and needs.
Social aggregation, civil awareness, interaction MUSEUM DISCOURSE Museum discourse is under-researched, notably in terms of its dynamic meaning production. where verbal and visual language are on display constructing specific sociocultural mind frames and construing community involvement.
THE LANGUAGE OF MUSEUMS Construction of a narrative Cultural model of commmunication The visitor plays an active part in the construction of meaning A reconceptualisation of the relation between museums and the public (adults, children, students, families, elderly, residents, members, tourists,
foreigners, handicapped) CAPTIONING Traditional captions (often classical terminology, technical language, etc.) able to put off any visitor (Broccoli, 2010) New modes differentiated for type of visitor in terms of knowledge, status, identity. Wedded to technology audioguides, smartphones, audioguides
with AD (and gps?) THE BRITISH MUSEUM THE BRITISH Audioguide for sighted Audioguide for blind and sight impaired (also available online) 20 artefacts introductions to rooms
male and female voices 2-3 minute descriptions NO directions and need to see EYE WHATS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN AUDIO GUIDE AND AN AUDIO DESCRIPTIVE GUIDE? A standard audio guide combines contextual
and curatorial information about exhibits for the benefit of sighted visitors, but it rarely includes the necessary degree of descriptive detail that blind and partially sighted visitors require. An audio descriptive guide begins with basic information, such as the size of an exhibit, the materials it is made from, how it is labelled and displayed, before going to provide a vivid verbal picture of the exhibit itself.
AUDIO DESCRIPTION PROJECT Audio description at a museum, park, or exhibit is not the same as an audio tour or a docent-lead tour. Audio description has a different focus: describing the actual object, rather than addressing its creator or history, for example. A true audio description tour of a museum would actually assist in leading you from exhibit to exhibit, and the
emphasis would be on size, shape, color, texture, detail. If you are lucky, you will be allowed to touch some of the objects on display, but you should not expect this accommodation. AN AUDIO DESCRIPTIVE GUIDE MAY ALSO INCLUDE DIRECTIONS TO HELP BLIND AND PARTIALLY SIGHTED VISITORS NAVIGATE FROM ONE PART OF THE GALLERY TO THE NEXT: If youre ready, make your way to the first
display case, directly ahead of you. It straddles an ornate ironwork vent thats set into the floor and runs the length of the exhibition space. Please take care as you cross it. HERES AN EXAMPLE FROM AN EXHIBITION AT COLCHESTER MUSEUM.
All the figures in this Exhibition date from the first part of the Han Dynasty, known as the Western Han Dynasty, from 206BC to 8AD a period when human sacrifice almost disappeared and instead various lifelike figures, made of wood or terracotta, were placed in the tombs. AND IT PUTS INDIVIDUAL EXHIBITS IN CONTEXT:
After the formal poses of the figures weve met so far, the ones in this case are strikingly different. Music and dance had an important role in Chinese ritual. Here 3 dancers are accompanied by 4 musicians kneeling in a row behind them. All the figures are female.
TEXTUALITY OF EXHIBITS General presentation Importance Dimensions Origins Dates State of consrvation Materials Light effect
Shape Colour Decoration Anecdote Practical information LANGUAGE OF DESCRIPTIONS Parataxis Longer sentences Simple present (continuous for actions)
Modals It may be it is said to have Lexis expressive, accurate, precise. Numerous adjectives and pre-modifiers Static verbs be, stand, represent, show Art history terminology frieze, reliefs, peplo But beware of wpm! EXAMPLE RAMESES II
Ramesses II succeeded his father Sety I as ruler of Egypt in around 1279 BC and ruled for 67 years. This bust of Ramesses is from the Ramesseum, his mortuary temple at Thebes in Egypt, and dates from the 19th Dynasty, about 1250 BC. It is one of the largest pieces of Egyptian sculpture in the British Museum. It weighs 7.25 tons and measures just over two and a half metres from the top of his headdress to the base of his ribs and just over 2 metres
across his shoulders. This mammoth fragment is the upper part of a seated statue which was located in the second court of the
temple. It is cut from a block of twocoloured granite - dark grey and rose pink. The bust shows an idealised image of Ramesses as a young man, with high cheek-bones and smooth skin. Ramesses also wears the nemes or royal head-dress. The stone head-dress of the statue is surmounted by a diadem or headband in the shape of auraeus - a
rearing cobra. And on top of his head Ramesses wears a modius crown encircled with cobra heads set side by side, each surmounted by a sun-disc. in his bare torso there is a hole approximately 5 centimetres in diameter bored out of the granite just above his right breast. This hole is said to have been made
by members of Napoleon's expedition to Egypt at the end of the eighteenth century, in an unsuccessful attempt to remove the statue. The statue was eventually retrieved from the Ramesseum by Giovanni Belzoni in 1816. TEXTUALITY OF EXHIBITS: RAMESES II General presentation
Importance Dimensions Origins Dates State of conservation Materials Light effect Shape Colour Decoration
Anecdote Practical information LANGUAGE OF DESCRIPTIONS: RAMESES II Parataxis Longer sentences Simple present (continuous for actions) Modals It may be it is said to have Lexis expressive, accurate, precise. Numerous adjectives and pre-modifiers
Static verbs be, stand, represent, show Art history terminology frieze, reliefs, peplo But beware of wpm! AUDIO DESCRIPTION OF BI-DIMENSIONAL ART Any time a sighted person assists a blind person in visualising pictures in an art gallery a type of audio description is taking place. But the need to convey explicit/implicit, objective/subjective messages through nonvisual forms requires extensive pre-planning.
Enter talk and touch NATIONAL MUSEUM OF ETHNOLOGY, OSAKA Look at = touch widely, conscious of the direction your hands reach out. Watch = touch closely with your fingertips concentrating at one point
See = keep your skin sensation sharp and feel with your whole body VISUAL SENSE AND TACTILE SENSE English (like Japanese) has an abundant vocabulary for see but not for touch. It has been said that life depends on eyesight, but by applying the three elements of the sense of sight to the sense of touch, we can establish a
method of approach to tactile culture. (Hirose, 2016) THE GOLDFINCH it was harder to deceive the sense of touch than sight (p. 754) It is even harder to deceive the sense of touch and talk. Which brings us to
THE ANTEROS MUSEUM THE ANTEROS MUSEUM Multi-sensory approach: Touch and Words. The website tells us how to know how to see with the hands and touch with the eyes and how to convey the ambivalent/hidden/connotative/implicit
elements to a blind audience. Rare personal treatment ELENAS VISIT Neves (2012) describes the visit of Elena who was personally taken through Mantegnas The Lamentation over the Dead Christ. After an initial tactile exploration on her own, which elicited little understanding, Elena was guided through the touch tour. Her hands
were taken and guided to explore the painting and her face lit up. But the whole thing was performed TO THE SOUND OF WORDS. ELENA The picture only really came to life through language. Words were used in profusion: denotative: size, shape, location technical: style, perspective
descriptive: colour, texture emotive: culture, stories MULTIMODAL APPROACH This is where AD for museums differs greatly from AD for films, etc. The describer has to interpret, explicitate, be subjective. Appraisal comes to the fore. Art is creative and needs treating accordingly.
The voice talent needs to use tone of voice, rhythm, etc. and may be accompanied by carefully chosen musical extracts. LINGUISTIC COMPENSATION In the absence of sight, speech is essential to the integration of sensory input and therefore to perception. Speech is an effective replacement for directly experienced visual input.
(Fryer, 2016) PERSONAL EXPERIENCE Clara and Dwight at the British Museum. PRESENCE AD users report a strong sense of
presence, even through a single auditory channel Language can convey all necessary meaning (Milligan, 1995) PAINTINGS Neves asks the question: Why would a blind person want to visit an art gallery? Are they interested? What do they cost?
a visually impaired person hopes to leave the museum fully enriched by the experience. By using vivid description they are able to give me a greater level of access than they would to many researchers with sight (Smith, 2003) BUT Nothing about us without us AUDIO DESCRIPTIONS OF PAINTINGS
Robert Sutter used to offer his unique descriptions via a local Radio Reading Service, which go beyond commentary and facts. MAX SCHMITT IN A SINGLE SCULL In this painting a warm russet light suffuses the Autumn scene and tells us that it is late
afternoon. The low angle of the afternoon sun makes the ripples on the water from the barely moving shell, large in the foreground, contrast with the mirror-like surface of the river. A few trees clothed in their fall colors grow out of a jut of land on the left bank of the river downstream behind Schmitt's boat and cast their reflections in perfect symmetry on the mirror of the river's still surface.
DESCRIBING ART Visual intensity Narrative of the work of art Clear signs (Rembrandt) Ambivalent signs (Dal) WHAT CAN BE TRANSLATED INTO WORDS? DE COSTER
Dimensions, spatial structure, narrative of clear signs, meanings of ambivalent signs. What can be successfully accompanied by touch
What needs visual imagination to explore intersensorial possibilities eg. surreal effects (helped by guide?) PIET MONDRIAN
Composition Piet Mondrian Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Produced by Art Education for the Blind, New York
Composition is the title of a painting by the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian. He painted it in 1929. It's an oil painting on canvas. The dimensions of the painting are 17 and 3/4 inches by 17and 7/8 inches COMPOSITION (DESCRIPTION) The simplest way to describe Composition is to say that it is a large
square, and within the large square are a smaller square and 7 rectangles of various sizes. The square is white, and the rectangles are white, red, blue, yellow, and black. These areas are separated by straight, black, thick lines about inch wide. COMPOSITION (EXPLANATION) Composition is a good example of Mondrian's
ideas about what makes a good painting. First of all, he maintained that art should not concern itself with reproducing images of real objects in the world. He thought art should express only the universal absolutes that underlie reality. So he rejected all sensuous qualities like texture, and the illusion of depth, and a wide palette of colors. Besides black and white, he used only the primary colors-red, blue, and yellow.
COMPOSITION Mondrian's compositions are so precise that if any single element is changed, then every other element in the painting must be adjusted to reorder the balance. To Mondrian, a painting like Composition represents the dynamic equilibrium of the world of the
spirit, which transcends the material world. OTHER EXAMPLES More recent examples include those relating outside attractions (eg. Disneyland), city tours (eg. Washington) or nature reserves (eg.
Golden Gate Park) MIUR WOODS GOLDEN GATE PARK ANDREW SACHS ON LONDON ZOO My name is Andrew Sachs, and Im an
actor and writer. I first visited the London Zoo in Regents Park not long after our family had arrived in England in 1938 as refugees from Nazi Germany. THE OKAPI
As I grew older I read about the Okapi - although I never actually met one. Then, after many years travelling the world as an actor, I revisited the London Zoo. And there they were, right in front of me. It had taken me nearly thirty years to find them here in London, almost in my own backyard. Their body shape resembles that of a giraffe sloping down gently from the shoulders to the
hindquarters. But theyre smaller about the size of a horse and with a neck not nearly as long as a giraffes. Like a giraffe they have large eyes and ears and the males have little horns. And theyre really rather attractive. They have a reddish-brown short, velvety coat oily to keep off the rain - white legs from ankle to knee and horizontal black and white stripes on their upper legs and all the way up their backside, almost like a zebra. Like giraffes okapis have thick long tongues to strip leaves from the trees nearly a foot long in fact and they have the ability to wash their own ears with it inside and out. Fantastic!
If you too would like to experience them at the Zoo theyre near the main entrance, in an area with giraffes and zebras called Into Africa, next to the Regents Canal. Its between the road known as the Outer Circle and the one which encircles that Prince Albert Road. The quickest way to get there is behind the main entrance through a short tunnel under the Outer Circle. The path around Into Africa is a loop, and the okapis are at the far end, next to the Outer Circle. They have an outside enclosure with trees and an indoor house for them and their visitors if its raining. And if thats all too complicated ask any of the staff!
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