Rhetoric of Cool: Ch. 7 Imagery

Rice, Jeff. “Imagery.” The Rhetoric of Cool: Composition Studies and New Media. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois UP, 2007. 133-57. Print.

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0“An accepted trope regarding electronic writing… work with images” (Rice 133).

In 2005 Dean Rader in a College English review essay said that composition students were more facile with the interpretation of images than the interpretation of print media (65, qtd in Rice 133).

texts with inter-weavings of visual and verbal (133)

Defining Visual Rhetorics talks of visual nature of the process of rhetoric (133)

conflated boundaries of visual and writing
“in film (Anger and Smith),
culture (Baraka),
the computer screen (Nelson, Engelbart, and McLuhan),
and even the written page (Burroughs)” (Rice 134).
either “explicitly situated within” or “implicitly shaped by electronic-based rhetorics” (134)

Rice argues that composition is logocentric. (Er, yes. I think we all agree with that.)

Absence of imagery in rhetoric of composition is “an ideological hesitation” that limits both our recognition of its relevance and our students’ facility with producing these kinds of rhetoric (Rice 135).

Why/when would students compose visually if they had the opportunity? (Rice 135)

Wysocki said that new media compositions make their values as overtly visible as possible (15, qtd in Rice 135).

The visual “can generate concepts in ways print often cannot accommodate” (Rice 136).

Sketchpad iconSoftware of Sketchpad “equated writing with visual expression” (Rice 137). The idea was to “allow writers the ability to forge rhetorical gestures via the visual display” (Rice 137).
Sketchpad‘s visuality was meant to push writers into a …rhetorical experience” (Rice 138).
Sketchpad opened the visual to “all writers (and not just painters or artists)” (Rice 139).
Christensen asked about Sketchpad “How does one teach a rhetoric of the sentence for a compositional text that lacks a sentence or has images in addition to sentences?” (Rice 139–his language, not Christenson’s)
The software draws attention to “importance imagery plays in digital communications” (Rice 140).
Sketchpad “is a reflection (not a cause) of increasing interest in visuality and expression” (Rice 145).

“For McLuhan … electronic visuality, opens up new types of senses and awareness” (Rice 137).

“finding visual connections” (Rice 137)

“material based (making images) and conceptual (imagining connections)” (Rice 138)

“interactivity … alters rhetorical expression” (Rice 139) Meaning that working with a computer changes how we compose and the rhetoric with which we compose.

Writing about images…
Focus is too often on “writing about images, not with images [emphasis added]” (Rice 135).
Visual rhetoric has become a trope to those who use images pedagogically, while neglecting rhetorical issues (Rice 140).
In teaching focus is on analysis not creation/production (Rice 140).
Trapped! “caught in print-based literacy assumptions regarding writing” (Rice 140)

WC CC2.5 by Dake
WC CC2.5 by Dake
Begins a discussion of the typewriter.
Pretty much everything I underlined was related to computer.
“supposedly novel way of writing” (140) Does change composition. How would images change composition if we were working on them first?

He says typewriters were ignored, considered experimental, even after they became commonplace in the culture (Rice 141). I wonder if the same has happened with computers. It does not seem so to me, but is using technology the same as understanding the impact of that technology on rhetoric? No, it’s not. So maybe it has happened with computers.

I hope that what I am doing here (now) or with/through my notes/studies will help me develop a better, more thorough understanding so that I can create/appropriate a pedagogically-enriched rhetoric of electronic/computer composition.

“Alan Kaprow … found the typewriter to be indicative of visuality and visual-based expression” (Rice 141).

McLuhan said typewriter “fuses composition and publication” (Rice 142).

I admit to being slightly confused by this. How is the typewriter any less alphabetic than a pen and paper or a stylus and parchment? I see how the computer is more imagistic–with a multiplicity of fonts even in the word processing aspects. I don’t really see how typewriters are.

According to McLuhan, computer-aided composition engages the user in the visual aspect and “extends writers’ ability to generate knowledge because of how it extends perception” (Rice 142).

Talking about the rhetoric of cool he has introduced/created/collaged, Rice says “[t]he connections, commutations, and juxtapositions … are meant to produce a new type of media writing while also altering a perception of what composition entails” (143).

Says they are “relatively new” in 2006 (Rice 143), while I think they are seen as passé in 2014, because they are used for our tenure and promotion portfolios.
“writing space as total in-depth involvement” (Rice 143)

Rice made a note about television, fairly short and not developed section. (144)

Screencasting comments, which I received at least 3 abstracts concerning for the SCMLA meeting in October, seems to be on the rise. Is this the application of television’s visuality to our creation of personhood and interactivity in pedagogy?

Blue Note RecordsBlue Note Records
Rice begins on page 145 to discuss the album covers, “trying to expand further the notion of what constitutes writing in the popular sphere.”
He says the covers show “specific ways writers can utilize imagery” and “how to teach its visual methods” (146), which are described as “one or two colours… and outrageous graphics” (Miles, qtd. in Rice 146).
Argues they “commutated the symbols of an urban and popular culture into a cool aesthetic” (Rice 146).
The covers “construct a variation of what we now often refer to as visual arguments, and they represent what we have come to call visual rhetoric” (Rice 147).
Record covers are ads and displays.
The covers’ visual elements were “used commercially to discuss and respond to difficult subject matter (race relations)” (Rice 148).

Can an image discuss? Or does it create a reading? Is that the same thing? It seems to me that an image (one image at least) is far more likely to be misread than a paragraph or tweet. How can we create images that will not be misread? Did Blue Notes Records create such images or were they only sometimes read as conversations about race relations and identity?

Question of Selfhood
Says this is “most important to writing with images” (Rice 149)

[T]he pedagogical decision to not teach students how to work with imagery reflects not only an anti-visual ideological position but also a desire to use print in order to de-emphasize the existence of non-conventional or disruptive subject matter along with perceived non-conventional forms of writing (such as images). (Rice 149)

“must interact with the imagery…
must juxtapose the iconic markers the image displays…
must create a reading based on association” (Rice 149)

“question of ‘facts’… . nature of ambiguity” also issues of truth, opinion “challenges the conventional notion of argumentation” (Rice 150)

“trend within composition pedagogy that situates new media only in terms of print culture” (Rice 151)

[A]ny application of technology introduced into the classroom should make significant strides toward achieving what may be done differently than if the technology was never used at all. (Rice 151)

Rice discusses the writing teacher’s perception/image of the (digital) writer (153).
“The fault is in the way the discipline itself–as a whole–imagines writing and writers” (154).

typingWhat kind of writer is he looking to create?
“participant in electracy” (154)
a “media being” (Burroughs, qtd. in Rice 155)
“understands how media shapes her view of the world and her ability to communicate within that world” (155)

Where is the writing student whose juxtapositions, appropriations, commutations, nonlinear thoughts, choral moves, and visual displays mark a significant body of writing taught and encouraged? Where is the curriculum whose outcomes speak to these rhetorical gestures? (155)

“[W]e have to expand the types of writing students do so that they better reflect the kinds of writing media generate” (156).

“Media change us, and media change the nature of our work” (157).

Note: He has an entire chapter on images, in a book without any images at all. Irony? Or his own falling back on the tradition of composition studies, even in a work which is intended to move it forward?

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