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1 Introduction and Overview

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Mia Jankowicz

on 2 February 2015

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Transcript of 1 Introduction and Overview

ARTV211301 - Intro to Visual Cultures
Session 1 : Course overview


How to get the most
out of this course

About this course
Googling 'Images' in Google Images. Every image has an intention
behind it, a reason for being made. But they do not usually exist in a vacuum like on Google Images.
Key terms:
Visual text

This course provides:
* A primer in visual literacy, a foundation for further arts learning.
* Familiarity with key terms and methods such as iconology, social history, art history, and semiotics.
* Case studies and readings of important thinkers and practitioners, in context.
* Welcome to your assigned seat; we will take
attendance every session.
* More than 10 minutes late will count as an
unexcused absence.
* 6 absences of any kind will result in the reduction of your grade on the grounds of attendance alone.
Make sure to contact me in advance if you have a valid reason to be absent.
* There will be no make-up quizzes or exams; your score will be calculated either as 0 (for an unexcused absence) or a fair average calculated.
* Turn off your phones please!
* Any new information, readings, or key
terms will be on Blackboard.

* You will receive an email every time I add
something there.

* The top left shows you the key vocabulary we are dealing with in the lecture.

* Attendance & participation (10%)
* 2 assignments (25%)
* 3 reading quizzes (15%)
* Mid-term examination (25%)
* Final examination (25%)
I mean it. Turn off your phones!
Academic honesty

- All assignments will be submitted through
www.turnitin.com, which knows about
plagiarism, and whether you submitted in time.

- Follow the AUC statement of academic

* We are taught to read and write from a very early age. We learn grammar and rules, telling us in detail how and why it works.
* We don't get the same education in 'reading' and making images.
* This leaves us on our own to figure out, or 'read' the roles and meanings of an image.
* Howells and Negreiros' book tells us how we can learn to 'read' a
visual text
Visual text
* A relatively new term in English. It implies that we can treat images like we do words, and use similar methods of reading them:

"text: anything considered to be a subject for analysis by or
as if by
methods of literary criticism."
(Dictionary.com) [emphasis mine]

* A visual text need not be based on images only, but the visual part will strongly affect our interpretation of the whole.

* We will refer to a lot of
visual texts
this semester.
“Practices of Looking: Images,
Power, and Politics,” in Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture by Marita Sturken and Lisa Cartwright (Oxford, 2001), p10-16 (stop after first two sentences). This is on Blackboard.
This course aims to help you:
- Apply a toolkit of key terms and methodological approaches to interpreting visual culture.
- Think critically about a wide range of visual material.
- Trace a history of sight as a social phenomenon.
- Evaluate the role of images in a specific cultural setting as well as the global processes that link these settings together.
- Appreciate the complexity of visual cultures in the world.
There are numerous methods of reading a visual text, including:
* Iconology
* Formal analysis
* Art history
* Semiotics

When reading a visual text, you should also take into account the:
* Ideological effects and intentions
* Means of production
* Means of distribution
Every instance of phone use will incur a 1% reduction in your overall grade.
Why is this important?
TV image circa 1991 of CNN coverage of the second Iraq war
Joe Rosenthal,
Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima
, 1945.
The second Iraq war is often thought of as the first 'televised' war. Unlike before, images of war were available, almost in real time, for civilians watching abroad. The way we received information about this war became primarily (tele)visual.
What do these things have in common?
Hosni Mubarak photoshopped stepping ahead of other world leaders
The destruction of the
Twin Towers on 9/11
The beheading by ISIS
of photojournalist
James Foley
Your friend's newborn
baby on Facebook
The toppling of the Saddam Hussein monument in Baghdad
* They are all IMAGE EVENTS.

* Not only do we receive a huge amount of our information visually but often, the event itself is strongly visual.

* Their impact is based on the existence of a visual audience. The event itself is inseparable from the image of the event. It is made with a presumption of the act of looking, and not just as a passive visual record of something that happened.

* Where images no longer just represent events, but are critical
in themselves.

This is the world we live in.
Qaddafi's body in a shop window in Tripoli
* From the late 19th Century we see an unprecedented increase in image circulation thanks to photographic reproduction, television, cinema, and other mass media.

* Late 20th Century - digitisation leads to lightning-fast image circulation and mass storage.

* Now the World Wide Web allows immense quantities of images to be shared.

* We are not just informed, we are informed
is now a major component of who we are.
* Nice, useful summary of the new term

* Pay attention

* Write things down

* Ask questions
***~~~golden rule~~~***
* We will do this by looking at many types of visual texts coming from many fields: Paintings, adverts, movies, posters, old and new photography, TV stills, etc; from the worlds of art, cinema, design, advertising, news, etc

* We will learn about their technical construction

* We will look at them in context: how they were produced, when they were produced, etc

* We will use various different methods of analysing them, and evaluate the usefulnss of those methods

* We will look at the purpose and effects of the visual texts, both intended and unintended
John Constable,
The Haywain

Anti-Vietnam War poster, 1969
Still from the film
What It Feels Like To Be Run Over
, Cecil Hepworth, 1900
(7.5% attendance, 2.5% participation. Participation means making a reasonable contribution to the class throughout the semester: raising your hand, answering & asking questions, entering debates, etc.
nb. I do not give advance warning of reading quizzes. The purpose of these is to ensure you have read the texts and understood their key take-home points.
MCQs, fill in the blanks, T/F short answer questions, and image based questions.
As above; covering material from the mid-term onwards.
500-750 words each.
Your grade will be based on:
Kim Kardashian's 'Selfish'
Full transcript