Friday, May 05, 2006

Crossing Media: Choose Your Language

Thanks to the benfits of an Avant Guild membership at Media Bistro , last night I was able to attend the premiere North American screening of Snowcake, at the Tribeca Film Festival. It's a haunting indie film, with Sigourney Weaver playing the role of an adult functioning autistic mother. Sounds grim perhaps? Not really. This moving story made me think a lot about language and what medium we favor to express ourselves.

A lot of how we like to tell our stories has to do with the hard-wiring in our brains. Each media we choose to, audio, writing, animations, graphics ... is almost like a seperate language. Perhaps we gravitate towards using the media that best suits our neurological hard wiring. Sigourney Weaver's character, Linda, is dazzled by snowflakes, certain sounds, and flashing lights. Dancing and bouncing on a trampoline is her favored language of expression.

Last week I spent an hour on the phone with a charming and very bright Apple Tech support rep as we attempted to reconfigure my home office wireless set-up. While we waited for modems, Airports and computers to re-boot, we chatted about multimedia story telling and bloggers. He told me he had ADD and that most of the bloggers he knew did too. For these deep-layered and multi-faceted thinkers, blogging becomes a language which allows them to communicate thinking that can not be easily verbalized in a focused conversation.

Bird Motifs: Patterns Become Language

In today's NY Times, reporter Carl Zimmer writes about language and the process of recursion in Starling' Listening Skills May Shed Light on Language Evolution . (While reading Zimmer's story online, scroll down the page to play the multimedia sound files on the same page) The scientists are now studying the ability of starlings to recognize song patterns and develop new " motifs" that are very much their own. He explores Noam Chomsky's contention, in part, that language is a set of rules for stringing words together, linking symbols with meaning, relying on so many other things as well.

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