Citation

Falling Walls: How the Iconic Imagery of the Berlin Wall Travels in Contemporary Global Contexts

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Abstract:

This paper highlights the limitations of a photography-centric approach to iconicity, discussing multimodal iconic images in the global and digital environment. Focusing on how journalistic imagery of the fall of the Berlin Wall influences discourses in a diversity of media, I argue that the distinctive imagery of a “falling wall” spreads not only from context to context, but also from medium to medium. I examine four ways that imagery of the fall of the Berlin Wall is reconfigured internationally: recycling (when iconic images of the “falling wall” are recontextualized on social media); reenactment (when iconic scenes of protests in Berlin are imitated by protesters elsewhere); possession (when Berlin Wall pieces serve as material symbols); and memorialization (when Berlin Wall exhibitions communicate contemporary political messages). A mental image of a “falling wall” thus extends beyond news photographs, circulating in debates about recent “walls” in other regions including Mexico, Israel and Egypt.

Julia Sonnevend is Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Michigan. Her interdisciplinary research examines the cultural aspects of global media, with a special focus on events, icons and performances. She is currently working on a book entitled Stories Without Borders: The Making of a Global Iconic Event.
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Association:
Name: International Communication Association 65th Annual Conference
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http://www.icahdq.org


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p980712_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Sonnevend, Julia. "Falling Walls: How the Iconic Imagery of the Berlin Wall Travels in Contemporary Global Contexts" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association 65th Annual Conference, Caribe Hilton, San Juan, Puerto Rico, <Not Available>. 2015-12-02 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p980712_index.html>

APA Citation:

Sonnevend, J. "Falling Walls: How the Iconic Imagery of the Berlin Wall Travels in Contemporary Global Contexts" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association 65th Annual Conference, Caribe Hilton, San Juan, Puerto Rico <Not Available>. 2015-12-02 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p980712_index.html

Publication Type: Session Paper
Abstract: This paper highlights the limitations of a photography-centric approach to iconicity, discussing multimodal iconic images in the global and digital environment. Focusing on how journalistic imagery of the fall of the Berlin Wall influences discourses in a diversity of media, I argue that the distinctive imagery of a “falling wall” spreads not only from context to context, but also from medium to medium. I examine four ways that imagery of the fall of the Berlin Wall is reconfigured internationally: recycling (when iconic images of the “falling wall” are recontextualized on social media); reenactment (when iconic scenes of protests in Berlin are imitated by protesters elsewhere); possession (when Berlin Wall pieces serve as material symbols); and memorialization (when Berlin Wall exhibitions communicate contemporary political messages). A mental image of a “falling wall” thus extends beyond news photographs, circulating in debates about recent “walls” in other regions including Mexico, Israel and Egypt.

Julia Sonnevend is Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Michigan. Her interdisciplinary research examines the cultural aspects of global media, with a special focus on events, icons and performances. She is currently working on a book entitled Stories Without Borders: The Making of a Global Iconic Event.


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