Indeterminate Multiform References

Indeterminate multiform References (MFRs) begon with terms whose semantic relatedness with terms in the caption or the image is vague and challenging to classify; it is neither a clear semantic similarity, meronym-holonym or any other relatedness; however, indeterminate MFRs seem to influence the semantic, spatial and epistemological aspects of the MFA. In some cases, a term or the verbal pole of an indeterminate MFR signifies a phenomenon into which the image or visual pole may become and therefore cannot entirely represent that phenomenon (i.e., that is represented by the verbal pole). In such cases, the two poles of the MFR suggest potentially a shift or transgression from one state to another or a limbo. These liminal situations can be relevant to either the phenomenon that the MFA explores or the MFA itself, that might change perspectives on that phenomenon. In both cases, our attempt to hypothesize MFRs encounters a moment – and point in the space of the MFA – that manifests a “twist” or “gap” in multiform representation.

We may hypothesize an indeterminate MFR when we read, for example, the term “outdoors” in the main text and see an image of a “dog” in vicinity to it. What is the semantic relatedness between “outdoors” and “dog”? It can only be determined by the context in which both are used; the way the author sees the surrounding both signs share. At the same time, we should consider that the author’s outlook over the relation between “outdoors” and “dog” may change as the MFA progresses. Clearly, in some cases, the context plays a central role in clarifying the semantic relatedness between the MFA’s verbal and visual components; this raises our sensitivity to how authors use MFRs as rhetorical devices. It also makes us aware of the possibility that authors use implicit and indeterminate MFRs in varied degrees of consciousness, and that MFAs are not fully under their control.

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