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Visual Culture 2nd Edition
Howells & Negreiros, Publisher: Polity (available in bookstore).
Course Description: A primer to understanding the makeup and meaning of visual, cultural artifacts. Includes discussion of formal elements and principles of art but with focus on the philosophy that underpins creative expression. The course examines various forms of creative output such as art, design, film, advertising, architecture and religious imagery as well as some of the visionaries that shape our visual culture.
Students should wrestle with the question, "How do I see?"
How do we as humans—immersed in a highly, visually-saturated culture—process and make meaning of the visual world around us?
- Participation in discussion // 100 pts
- The True Meaning of Pictures response paper // 100 pts
- self-selected "visual text" analysis // 100 pts
- Project: still-frame storytelling (Story Stills) // 100 pts
- Final // 100 pts
Jan 27, W - Intro to the course
Jan 29, F - Iconology
Feb 1, M - Form
Feb 3, W- Art History
Feb 5, F - Ideology
Feb 8, M - Semiotics
Feb 10, W - Hermeneutics
Feb 12, F - Fine Art
Feb 15, M - Photography - Response Paper Due
Feb 17, W - Film
Feb 19, F - Television
Feb 22, M - New Media - Story Stills due
Feb 24, W - Final - Visual Text Analysis
The True Meaning of Pictures Response Paper
- Q: Does Shelby Lee Adams exploit or exalt his subjects (those appearing in his photos)?
- 1–2 pages, typed, double-spaced. Email to prof.
Visual Text Analysis // 100 points
- Select a visual text – photograph, painting, still frame from a film, etc. It can be well known or obscure, but should not be of a personal nature.
- Compose a written analysis of the image using one of the methods outlined in the theory section of our text — Iconology, Form, Art History, Ideology, Semiotics and/or Hermeneutics
- Example: What could a single frame from The Simpsons tell us about gender roles in American society? Or more specifically, what if any meaning can we take away from the color of Marge Simpson’s hair?
- If possible, provide a brief introduction or background to the image. Place an image of the visual text in the document.
- 1-2 pages, typed, double-spaced. Email to prof.
Story Stills // 100 points
- Using a digital camera, tell a story using only nine pictures. These should be seen as isolated slices, or snapshots, of a broader story that perhaps takes place over the course of 5 minutes or 10 years.
- Steer clear of stop-motion techniques.
- Think about how each image connects to what’s before and after it and contributes to the overall story. Every image is important.
- Turn in digitally as JPGs (sequence them, or build them into a ppt or pdf). Also provide a written synopsis (filling in the gaps) of the story and how you selected to depict it.
- Turn in synopsis and images digitally, by email.