Sunday, January 23, 2011

_Defining Visual Rhetorics_(Part 2)

5. “Defining Film Rhetoric” [Blakesly]
                “film rhetoric” is about more than just the persuasive dimensions of films…its proper concern is ‘the construction of cinematic ways of knowing, response, and reception’; 113
                B wants to consider identification as key element in film/visual rhetoric via Hitchcock’s films, in relation to Burke’s terministic screens (the idea that our terms/modes of representation encourage certain ways of seeing at the expense of other ways of seeing); 114
                Metz pioneered the approach to study film as a new language of signs with its own unique grammar…B laments that approaches to film rhetoric have been mostly developed ‘on the model of textuality’ ; 114
                One’s perception of film (and other visuals) is affected/structured by ideology, but visual composition (how an object is filmed) is also an expression of ideology, which can subvert or disrupt the viewer’s ideological assumption—in this way, both composition and reception of films are deeply lined with moments of rhetorical decision-making; 115
                B calls “film interpretation” the mode of film criticism that conceives the film experience as a “rhetorical situation involving the director, the film, and the viewer in the total act of meaning making”; 116
                “Film identification” connects film style with processes of identification: “style directs attention for ideological, psychological, and social purposes”; 116
                K Burke saw identification (and division) as “the condition and aim of rhetoric” (ie., because we are divided we seek to create/maintain identification)… “a desire to transform the self through the transformation of the other into the self…an analogical self”; 117
B big question: “How does film exploit and elaborate our compulsion to see and, consequently, to identify?”; 118

7. “Gendered Environment” [Hope]
-Advertizing images of nature bound up in gender appeals/narratives “cloak the impact of consumption on the environment with essentialists fantasies of masculinity or femininity” (which carries with it an ideological separation of nature and culture) (156)

8. “How Images Construct Cultural Memory Through Rhetorical Framing” [Edwards]
-Mass media/iconic images as a dominant form of cultural remembering…they simulate our experience of history…the rhetorical power of such images comes from their ability to frame the particulars of the events such that they “suggest more universal values that attach to the event in the public imagination (ex: Titanic, JFK jr. age 3 soluting at his dad’s funeral)…and these images are often appropriated and imitated; 179
-such images are “‘more pregnant than propositions could ever be’ in their reference to old events and ideas and their adaptability to new contexts”; 180

9. “The Photograph and The Archive” [Finnegan]
-F worries that the introduction of the term visual rhetoric (while verbal rhetoric remains simply “rhetoric”) will end up “reproducing the hierarchies that have discouraged analysis of the visual all along”…rather than nail down the distinction between visual and verbal rhetorics, F would have us look at their common roots and investigate attempts to divide them into separate categories throughout history—that we “embrace the complexities of the relationships between images and texts…visual images should not be artificially separate from texts for analysis”; 198
-F believes that any analysis of pictorial images (photographs in her case) must study the image in three of its phases: production, reproduction, and circulation…such analysis acts as a rhetorical study of historical events and as a historical study of rhetorical events (ie., using the image to understand history and using history to understand the image); 199

10. “Melting-Pot Ideologies, Modernist Aesthetics, and the Emergence of Graphical Conventions” [Kostelnick]
·      Rhetorical acts/choices occur within a cultural/historical context, and different historical moments have used visual language to achieve very different ends; 215
·      Ex: 19th century America used data displays (eg., statistical atlases) to visualize narratives of national progress, such as trends in westward expansion and immigrant assimilation…and these “information designs” and their Victorian aesthetic played a major role in shaping attitudes about public policy (toward an “ideology of cultural homogeneity”); 216
·      Historical background for the emergence of statistical atlases: data display was relatively new and had only been used in math/sci/engineering discourse (eg., line graphs) and occasionally to graph economic/trade data.  The Census of 1850 introduced that structuring principal of “statistical communities,” and this data was soon displayed as atlases to be “more compelling and comprehensible to the public.”  They helped cultivate the American public’s visual literacy.  At this point, design was at an experimental stage and various styles/formats were introduced; 217-8
·      The design of data display, atlases in particular, soon concentrated on a set of rhetorical conventions: pie charts, bar charts, and line graphs emerged as popular forms (favored for their linearity and, hence, accessibility)…they were often accompanied by verbal introductions, which provided instructions for reading and making sense out of the visualization; 223

11. “The Rhetoric of Irritation” [Strope]
·      History of iconoclasm in English studies (theatre and dramatic literature as a battleground b/w emphasis of the visual code and the verbal code); 244
·      S on the “visual zig and verbal zag” apparent in Ulmer’s web essay “Metaphoric Rocks”:
So, the literate, hybrid discourse of Ulmer’s “MetaphoricRocks” is realized
not simply with haphazardly inappropriate juxtapositions of word and image,
but through a more coherent inappropriateness—a rhetoric of irritation—
that underlies the entireWeb essay as a culturally situated act of communication.
It is not Ulmer’s “art” that redeems the inappropriateness, but the
consistency and deliberateness of his misunderstanding and violation of common-sense distinctions that enable the literate effect. (251)
·      Using this rhetoric of inappropriateness as a framework for multi-modal rhetoric/pedagogy is a complex, humanistic alternative than the prevailing web design paradigm of usability (simple, clean, ‘don’t make the user think,’ LCD design/user)
The institutional role of the humanities is not to contribute to the transparency of culture, but, like those disruptive and revealing stickers, to call attention to its material surfaces, its underlying mechanisms, its historical antecedents, and its ultimate social effects. (255)

12. “Placing Visual Rhetoric”
·      want to include the visuals of the build environments that we inhabit on an everyday basis (eg., grocery stores) alongside the more typical visual media studied by rhetoric/communication scholars; 260
·      postmodern space—marked by an inability to locate ourselves in history/meta-narrative:
Although there is no singular experience
that marks the postmodern, it seems clear that one of the constitutive elements
of postmodernity is the way it challenges our ability to settle or locate
our identities in either time or space (Collins 31–32; Soja, 25–27; Harvey vii).
For example, our ability to locate ourselves in time—in history, memory or
tradition—is fundamentally disrupted in the contemporary moment.(261)
·      cites film theorist Jim Collins, who argues against the idea that “culture is in a post-enlightenment moment while subjectivity remains foundered in enlightenment possibilities”
·      Wild Oats’s poly-sensual use of visual rhetoric makes their image of material comfort not just a sight, but a site; 272 {relay to the experience economy and Brandscapes}

13. “Toward a Transformation of Rhetorical Theory” (Foss)
·      F believes that studying visual rhetoric will help us develop more comprehensive rhetorical theories, which have been hegemonized by linguistic artifacts; 303
·      As a field, visual rhetoric is distinguished from other image-oriented disciplines in that it embraces (and gives rhetorical responses to) both aesthetic images and utilitarian/everyday images…and its also interested in a wide range of audience responses to images, including “lay” viewers; 305-6
·      Visuals alerts us to a variety of functions that symbols can have beyond persuasion, as well as the effectiveness of different strategies; 309
·      Two major approaches in visual rhetoric: deductive (applying existing rhetorical theories to images) and inductive (approaching visuals as an inspiration/relay for generating new rhetorical theories that may challenge/supplement/disrupt existing theories)
·      Visual Rhetoric is a way to incorporate visuals into existing rhetorical theory and a way to challenge/rethink existing rhetorical theory; 313
·      F thinks the inductive approach to visual rhetoric will ultimately be more promising:
The inductive, artifact-based approach exemplified by Blair and Blakesley, because it begins with the characteristics of artifacts and builds rhetorical the- ory on the basis of those characteristics, offers the most opportunities for rhe- torical expansion. It has the greatest potential to expand rhetorical theory beyond the boundaries of discourse as it offers rhetorical qualities, character- istics, and components for which current rhetorical theory cannot account. (312)

1 comment:

  1. Think of my essay on AR apps as an inductive approach to (rhetorical) theory…the rhetorical tradition presupposes the human subject/rhetor as the decision-making agent, but, because AR apps as a digital writing system inscribe/constitute a new location of thought, we need to learn from them in this case by taking into account their distinct visual/posthuman characteristics.