Response to Dobson and Iftody: A Slacker Darkly? No Interpretation Without Intertextualization

Noel Gough


In ‘Consciousness and Complexity in “Waking Life”,’ Teresa Dobson and Tammy Iftody argue persuasively for interpreting Richard Linklater’s film, which deploys innovative animation techniques to portray discussions of theories of consciousness, from a complexivist perspective. They demonstrate how complexity theorizing might inform interpretive practices and recommend the film as a focus for discussion in humanities education. This response concurs with much of their analysis, but suggests that there are limitations to interpretive practices that focus on a single text, and argues for an alternative approach that deliberately foregrounds intertextuality – that is, interpreting any given text in terms of other texts. Examples of intertextual readings that produce multiple and unpredictable interpretations are provided, including interpretations of Waking Life’s intertextual relations with other films by Linklater, and with other visual and literary texts.

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