Interpretation Sparks Ideas

When we look at anything there is always room for interpretation.  Whether it is a commercial on TV or a book you are reading.  There is always room for interpretation depending on the person.  Interpretation is an important tool when it comes to learning and in our mashups.  As we have talked about in class everything can be interpreted differently such as a “+” can be seen as a cross, an ‘x’ or a ‘t’ all depending on who is looking at it.  This all ties into the mashups we have been watching and talking about in class.  A quote from Sean Hall’s book This Means This, This Means That, perfectly describes what a mashup is. “Usually, when a message is difficult to interpret, we look beneath the surface for the deep structures, unconscious foundations, hidden symbols, and underlying patterns that may support it.”  I love this quote because when we are making mashups we aren’t supposed to be outright showing the viewer the message we are trying to get across.  The viewer’s job is to watch the mashup and decide what the underlying message it.  An example of this is in the mashup Postgrad American Dream.

This is a great example because there are so many interpretations.  In class on Thursday when Prof. Wolff discussed this mashup he asked the class to shout out words that came to mind when we watched this video.  Some words that popped up were: crying, sad, debt, crash and burn, and jobless.  These were all different interpretations that students in the class came up with.  One student started of with one word and that made other students think of other words and soon the whole class was shouting out different words that the video made them think of.  One clip in the mashup Postgrad American Dream was when the man was pushing a rock up a hill.

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This image can be seen as many different things, in the literal sense it is a man pushing a rock up a hill.  When put into this video it can be interpreted as a college student struggling to get a job after graduation, or it is a postgrad student struggling under the weight of their bills that are piling up.  The next part of this clip is shown as the man not being able to hold the weight of the rock and it falls down the hill.  This can be interpreted as the post grad not being able to handle the stress and loosing it.

     Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 3.48.08 PMWhen we see something like this different things are going to pop into everyones mind based on experiences.  Some one who got a job right out of college might not be able to understand the message that this video is sending because they didn’t have a hard time getting a job.  Or someone that has a small amount of college debt may not know what its like to feel like your are drowning in debt.  Everyone has different experiences in life which leads them to have different interpretations.

From what I have seen not only in this classroom but in other classrooms and in elementary schools classrooms interpretation is important to learning.  Because everyone sees things differently there are more opportunities to learn.  If a teacher asks a broad question every student in the class will have a different answer.  The reason teachers ask for multiple people to answer the same question is because everyone has a different view of the world.  One person might say something that sparks something in another persons head, which sparks something in another persons head.  This chain reaction is important because it brings a deeper level of thinking into the classroom and helps take each interpretation of a topic to the next level.


Photo posted by Wolfgang Brauner


5 thoughts on “Interpretation Sparks Ideas

  1. This is a great post! Your Sean Hall quote was a great description of how our mashups must be depicted. I also love the quote for exactly what you said, ” because when we are making mashups we aren’t supposed to be outright showing the viewer the message we are trying to get across.” The interpretations that are made by our mashup viewers will allow them to receive the message entirely.


  2. Yes, Jillian, you are spot-on, I think, to mention Kaylee’s statement, “when we are making mashups we aren’t supposed to be outright showing the viewer the message we are trying to get across. The viewer’s job is to watch the mashup and decide what the underlying message it.” I was just going to comment on that but you beat me to it. In class this week or next I’ll be bringing up this observation so we might discuss it. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have grown in appreciation for the deeper meaning in the medias and it has made participating in a movie or art piece making it more intellectually stimulating. But I really want to stress that we tend to LOOK for these things. I find it hard to believe that so many of these directors or writers or artists have jam packed their pieces with so much meaning just waiting for us to have our enlightened moment. These mash ups and remixes do have intentions in most cases which flaws my argument a bit but books like Catcher in the Rye, which has garnered so much critique and praise, was not penned with that much meaning. We transpose our outlook into much of this.


  4. I, too, agree that there is always room for interpretation depending on a person. When we watched some of our classmates rough drafts for their mashups in class, I honestly saw some of them a lot different than other people did. I don’t think that’s wrong, but it just goes to show how different individuals interpret things differently, especially something like a mashup video.


  5. I completely agree with this post; interpretation is important to learning and we all have our own individual ways of seeing things. Like Christine mentioned above me, I thought about the different mashup videos I watched and how my section had multiple ideas about each one. There is absolutely nothing wrong with interpreting things differently, and I think that it’s vital for students to be able to express their own thought patterns and ideas. If we were to put a limit on interpretation and prevent people from doing so, there would be no diversity in the learning environment, let alone creativity.


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