Writing Prompts

[Blog posts are due on Friday by 3pm. Comments are due by Sunday at 6pm. Everyone should read the blog between 6pm Sunday and class on Monday at 1:30pm.]

Week 2 (Jan. 27-Feb.2): Group 1 posts, Group 2 comments, Group 3 is off

This week, bloggers should post an image from visual culture (Either upload the image itself or a link to it). It can be historical or contemporary, a moving image or still. In your 200-300 word discussion, you might reflect on the intended function of the image, whether it fulfills that function, or how it might not. You could address how you found the image and what makes it a part of “our” visual culture (I put ‘our’ in scare quotes because you should think about who the intended audience of the image is and whether that audience was reached). What would one or more of the authors we have read (Sturken & Cartwright, Mirzoeff, or Barthes) say about the image you have chosen? Students who are commenting on posts should bear these questions in mind, too.

Week 3 (Feb. 3-9): Group 2 posts, Group 3 comments, Group 1 is off

This week we are focusing on two formal elements: perspective and point-of-view. Bloggers should post an image and discuss what systems of perspective are used in it. Be sure to describe which aspects of the image allow you to draw a conclusion about perspective. Is there just one system of perspective, or several? Is the artist/designer/photographer using perspective to achieve a sense of realism? Or is perspective being used towards abstraction? Can you identify where the viewer is positioned in relation to the image or the artist’s point-of-view? How do perspective and point-of-view affect your interpretation of the image? Can the image be aligned with a particular episteme (as discussed by Sturken & Carwright in Chapter 4)? Group 3: Choose one post on which to comment. Do you agree with the post about perspective and point-of-view?

Week 4 (Feb. 10-16): Group 3 posts, Group 1 comments, Group 2 is off

Students in Group 3 should post an image and discuss it in one of two ways: Either (1) identify what ideologies are being expressed in the image (this is related to Barthes idea of the connoted message), or (2) discuss what you think the picture “wants,” in W.J.T. Mitchell’s formulation. For either option you should use visual details as the primary evidence for whatever argument you are putting forth. However, you can also bring in historical or other contextual information that you find relevant.  Group 1: If you agree with the original post’s argument, can you offer additional evidence to support it? If you do not agree, what details support your point of view? You should offer new insight into the image, not just repeat the ideas of the person who posted it.

Week 5 (Feb. 17-23): Group 1 posts, Group 2 comments, Group 3 is off

Group 1: Find an image that is an example of bricolage, appropriation, or counter-bricolage. Discuss how meaning is altered through the use of these strategies. Group 2: In your comments, propose a meaning for the image that differs from the one the original blogger or previous comments discuss.

Week 6 (Feb. 24-Mar. 2): Group 2 posts, Group 3 comments, Group 1 is off

Post an image and analyze it in relation to ideas of the gaze and spectatorship discussed in your Chapter 3 of your textbook. Commenters: Propose a meaning for the image that differs from the one the original blogger or previous comments discuss.

Week 7 (Mar. 3-Mar. 9): Group 3 posts, Group 1 comments, Group 2 is off

Find an image that relates to the issues of memorialization or historical memory that we discussed in class. Or if you have trouble finding something specifically related to the commemoration of an event or person, you can post an image that is related to remembrance or memory in some general way. Commenters should propose an alternative meaning for the image (but it should still relate to the topic of memory, history, and commemoration).

Week 8 Spring Break

Week 9 (Mar. 17-Mar. 23): Group 1 posts, Group 2 comments, Group 3 is off

Post an image that could be called “scientific” (maybe it was produced in or for a scientific context or community, or perhaps it is meant to convey a scientific concept). The image can be historical or contemporary. How does it represent the ideologies of the culture that created it? It might be helpful to address ideas such as positivism, concepts of the body, or even  cyborgs (all issues discussed in your reading this week). Comments should focus on the ways in which the image’s visual qualities affect or inform how it might be interpreted.

Week 10 (Mar. 24-Mar. 30): Group 2 posts, Group 3 comments, Group 1 is off

This week our focus is on issues of visual technologies, image reproduction and copying,  copyright laws, and the ways that images can be used for political ends. Select an image that relates to these issues and explain in your post your rationale for choosing the image. Commenters, you should share your own interpretation of the image. You might bring in your own experience with a particular type of visual technology or your opinion about the use of appropriation as it relates to copyright.

Week 11 (Mar. 31-Apr. 6): Group 3 posts, Group 1 comments, Group 2 is off

Post an image that you accessed on Tuesday while writing your “media diary.” Discuss whether the media through which you saw it could be defined as “mass” and how the media “mattered” (in terms of McLuhan’s definition). Commenters: Remark on whether the image is similar to one that you would typically encounter on a regular basis. Through what other media might the image have been accessed (other than the one discussed by the original post)? Could the the meaning or message of the image differ if it was seen using this another media?

Week 12 (Apr. 7-Apr. 13): NO BLOGGING THIS WEEK

Week 13 (Apr. 14-Apr. 20): Group 1 posts, Group 2 comments, Group 3 is off

Week 14 (Apr. 21-Apr. 27): Group 2 posts, Group 3 comments, Group 1 is off

Week 15 (Apr. 28-May 4): Group 3 posts, Group 1 comments, Group 2 is off

Free write: Post any image and write about it in relation to key concepts we have learned in class this semester.

One comment

  1. http://www.gusmo-art.com/products_info/Cute-boy-portrait-oil-painting-192414.html

    In this work of art we see an oil painting of a young child, a boy more specifically, looking up ward but not directly at the viewer. His eyes are filled with tears looking like he is on the verge of crying. He has pain and sadness in his eyes. This child’s gaze looks like he is looking for help from an adult. This is shown by his eyes looking up where an taller adult would be. He is not looking at the viewer so he does not require the help of one specific person but gives the impression that he wants the help of anyone. Also leaves the viewer wondering if he will get the help or comfort that he is requiring. As for spectatorship I would say that this work is not for only one audience but for everyone. When anyone sees this picture they will feel bad for the child and it will catch their attention. I think this oil painting really draws in anyone who sees it.

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