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Rhetoric, Music and Philosophy in 88 Constellations for Wittgenstein by David Clark: Intermedial and Intertextual Practices

Nohelia Meza, Giovanna Di Rosario


88 Constellations for Wittgenstein (to Be Played with the Left Hand) (2008) by Canadian artist David Clark is a web-based Flash creation that explores the life and works of Austrian-born philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. As the title suggests the digital work should be “played with the left hand”, this means that there are additional semiotic units (e.g. videos, sounds, images, linguistic texts) hidden in the metaphysical strings of the constellations that the reader can add to the narrative by means of interaction and manipulation. We argue that by discovering unexplored paths and creative unknowns the reader encounters examples of gestural melodic manipulation that will consequently lead to the creation of visual music. The visual music produced by the secret of the Left Hand, whose notes (piano keys) are the gestural enunciation of different discourses and diverse thematic, expose the potential intermedial literary characteristics of the text. Our analytical approach will demonstrate how rhetoric and digital technologies join to visually express philosophical concepts.


digital rhetoric; electronic literature; intermediality; philosophy; visual music

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7358/ijtl-2016-004-medi

International Journal of Transmedia Literacy (IJTL)
Registered by Tribunale di Milano (22/10/2014 n. 328)
Online ISSN 2465-2261 - Print ISSN 2465-227X

Editor in Chief: Matteo Ciastellardi
Managing Editor: Giovanna Di Rosario
Managing Committee: Matteo Andreozzi, Stefano Calzati, Ugo Eccli, Cristina Miranda de Almeida.

Board Committee: Alan Albarran (University of North Texas, United States), Rogério Barbosa Da Silva (Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brazil), Giovanni Baule (Politecnico di Milano, Italy), Laura Borràs Castanyer (Universitat de Barcelona, Spain), Derrick de Kerckhove (Politecnico di Milano, Italy), Henry Jenkins (University of Southern California, United States), Marsha Kinder (University of Southern California, United States), Raine Koskimaa (University of Jyväskylä, Finland), George Landow (Brown University, United States), Paul Levinson (Fordham University, United States), Asún López-Varela (Universidad Complutense, Spain), Lev Manovich (City University of New York, United States), Nick Montfort (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States), Marcos Novak (UCLA - University of California, Los Angeles, United States), Massimo Parodi (Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy), Bruce W. Powe (York University, Canada), Kate Pullinger (Bath Spa University, United Kingdom), Marie-Laure Ryan (Indipendent Scholar), Alexandra Saemmer (Université Paris 8, France), Carlos Scolari (Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain), Susana Tosca (IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark), Alessandro Zinna (Université Toulouse II, France)

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