The kineikonic mode is a term used to denote the moving image as a multimodal form. It is derived from the Greek words kinein, to move (also part of the origin of ‘cinema’), and eikon, image. It was coined by Burn and Parker (2001) to avoid the problems of the usual words used within cinema and film, both of which privilege these specific cultural forms over, for instance, television. It was also intended to explicate a multimodal theory of the moving image which combined the emphasis on the semiotic ‘grammar’ of film established by theorists such as Christian Metz with an attention to the signifying features of contributory modes such as speech, dramatic gesture, music, space, lighting, costume. These modes are seen as orchestrated by the framing and ordering functions of filming and editing. Properly speaking, then, the kineikonic mode is a multimodal ensemble: it contains both the modes themselves as well as the interplay of those modes as they move through time and space in a moving image. Using a term that places the modes into the single mode of kineikonic emphasizes the governing role of what Metz called the ‘cinematic code’ of filming and editing that has existed over the past century. In addition, it highlights how the integration of modes, such as written words, visual images, and transitions, are salient to both the production and interpretation of moving images (Curwood & Gibbons, 2009; Gibbons, 2010). The kineikonic mode unifies what is culturally understood as a form of the moving image.

Editor: Andrew Burn

Key References

Burn, A. & Parker, D. (2001)
Making your mark: Digital inscription, animation, and a new visual semiotic
Education, Communication & Information, 1 (2) 155-179.

Curwood, J.S. & Gibbons, D. (2009)
“Just like I have felt”: Multimodal counternarratives in youth-produced digital media
International Journal of Learning and Media, 1(4), 59-77.

Gibbons, D. (2010)
Tracing the paths of moving artifacts in youth media production
English Teaching: Practice and Critique, 9(1), 8-21

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