Medial Composites

  • Ian Verstegen
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Philosophy book series (BRIEFSPHILOSOPH)


A medial “composite” presumes separation, which has been taken for granted throughout this study through the category of the modality. Arnheim reflected on the problem of composites prominently in his essay, “A New Laocoön,” where he sought to reason through his disappointment with the talking film. The problem touches mostly temporal modalities, which are highly self-sufficient. As with the discussion of hybridism, temporal composites work by either making hierarchical relationships, or flouting them. Arnheim effectively formulates two “laws,” where one modality must be dominant and when temporal modalities are combined, each should be complete. These rules are for standard uses of media. Although spatial and temporal modalities can be combined, in general their combination is not an important theoretical point. After a brief discussion of spatial composites, which mostly touches on their hierarchical arrangement or its subversion, more discussion is given to the ways in which the three temporal modalities can be combined – what each gains, and based on their characteristics, what issues arise as to their successful combination. Finally, a case study of the contemporary graphic novel Batman, Dark Knight, is given.

Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ian Verstegen
    • 1
  1. 1.Visual StudiesUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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