Kultuuripärand ja digitaalne lugemine: raamatu ja platvormi vahel / Cultural heritage and digital reading: between book and platform
Kultuuripärandi säilimine kultuurimälus, selle osalus kultuuriidentiteedi väärtustamises ja kultuuri kestlikkuse tagamises sõltub tema meelespidamise viisidest. Tänapäeval on nendeks viisideks transmeedialisus ja digitaalne lugemine. Pärandi vahendajatena ilmuvad raamatute kõrvale digitaalsed platvormid. Nende eesmärk on ühtlasi kultiveerida uusi kirjaoskusi, mis ei põhine üksnes verbaalsel emakeelel, sest kultuuris osalemine eeldab üha enam ka pildiliste ja helilis-pildiliste märgisüsteemide valdamist nii tõlgendamises kui eneseväljenduses. Artikkel põhineb TÜ transmeedia uurimisrühma kogemusel (humanitaar)hariduslike platvormide loomisel, tuues selle pinnalt välja mõned digitaalses keskkonnas eriti selgelt esile tulevad kultuurisemiootilised printsiibid.
Traditionally, books have been considered as one of the most valuable elements of culture (Kroó 2019, Torop 2019). Mediating unique literary/artistic texts, they also appear as models of culture. The book as a model of culture represents readiness to understand culture as a whole and the same attitude is echoed within the digital book. The changes that digitalization has brought along do not concern merely shifts in formats or new types of texts. From the perspective of cultural heritage, new ways of communicating with literary texts and changes in reading practices matter most. Hereby we suggest that digital reading is reading, watching and listening a conceptualized whole on a platform, where primary and secondary texts (and/or their fragments), interpretations, intersemiotic translations and instructions for users exist together. This conceptual whole has a transmedial nature.
Digital educational platforms may both undermine and facilitate accessibility of education as a common good. However, in the situation of the deluge of digital information, delimiting and systematizing information for educational needs is desperately needed and digital platforms offer a solution. Together with the Transmedia Research Group working at the department of semiotics at the University of Tartu, we have been developing the platform Education on Screen (Haridus Ekraanil) for secondary school students to help cultivate both cultural and digital literacies. In the present article we give an overview of the cultural semiotic principles that have been governing our work and that we suggest are especially relevant in the digital cultural space.
The digital environment allows to overcome spatial limitations of the pre-digital media and highlight the heterogeneity and fluidity of literary experience. Providing almost unlimited storage capacities, it also brings into question the principles of selection and organization of the material, raising new theoretical problems for textual analysis, from the unit for textual analysis to the boundary between text and context etc (Bolin 2010, 74).
We propose the distinction between crossmediality and transmediality as a methodological starting point. The crossmedia aspect hereby refers to the way the publishing of a literary text is increasingly accompanied by other (online) texts that together make up a relatively coordinated whole. In most cases these are compressed and fragmentary versions of the core text such as book trailers, book covers featuring a still frame from a cinematic adaptation, social media profiles etc. Thus, the crossmedia aspect consists in a pragmatic communicative strategy directed towards the receiver and the target text. The transmedia aspect concerns the spontaneous pulverisation of a text into a diversity of texts in different media. The spontaneity refers to the relative unpredictability of the artistic language of the authors of these new texts, which can appear over a very long period of time as we have seen in the continuing adaptations of canonical texts. This is in contrast with the coordinated manner in which most crossmedia texts enter culture over a much more limited time frame. Another distinction between the two is that the transmedia process is dominated by the source text as the individual parts are not coordinated mutually.
Printed book represents the holistic dimension of culture by offering the possibility of complementing the core text with forewords, illustrations, comments etc. Digital book uses the same possibilities in a more dynamic manner, because its multimodality is much richer and audio, audiovisual as well as other modes can be integrated into the whole in an organic manner. While both printed book and digital book are still based on one core text, then digital platform allows for the synthesis of divergence and convergence and creation of a conceptual whole on the basis of a series of fragments and interpretations. Such transmedial whole reflects the value of the canonic literary text in culture and at the same time allows for the experience of analysis of its intersemiotic and multimodal interpretations.