Tag Archives: visual rhetoric

Go Read: YouTube and Fair Use

Teacher-friends, I especially urge you to check out a couple of smart posts over at viz. on YouTube’s automatic system for flagging copyrighted material on uploaded material:

What I especially like (besides the wonderfully subtle–or not?–image at the top of each post) is the thoughtful walkthrough of the implications of YouTube’s policy here, which in effect uses very smart tech-driven copyright-detection solutions to spot possible copyright infringements and then freak out confused users, who may be completely within fair use rights but who aren’t really encouraged to understand what that means.
The author (not sure who; it’s listed as being by snelson, who isn’t on the viz. contributors page) writes,
While YouTube doesn’t deny users their Fair Use rights, as such a practice would be illegal, they certainly frame the debate in such a way to make exercising Fair Use difficult. . . . However, even when “educating” the public about copyright, YouTube errs on the side of copyright for owners’ rights.
Seriously. I can’t wait to talk through some of this with students–except I’m not teaching this semester! Curses!
I wonder what Tarleton Gillespie would have to say about this. . . .

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Hilarity Ensues: What Does ICFA Stand For?

This is just too good to pass up.

After attending the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts last week, I started following a bunch of friendly new people on Twitter–not necessarily because I had met them, but because they tweeted with the #icfa hashtag. But a couple of the Twitter profiles were identified with names but not images, leaving me to wonder, “Did I meet or see this person at the conference?”

Naturally, I turned to Google Images, searching for a couple of names to try to match faces with names. Then, for fun, I tried a Google search for ICFA.

And holy smokes–look what I found:

  1. The International Committee for Future Accelerators
  2. The International Cemetery and Funeral Association (which at some point added another C for Cremation)
  3. The International Custody and Fund Administration
  4. The International Cage Fighting Alliance
  5. The Insulating Concrete Form Association
  6. The International Carp Fishing Association
  7. The International Casual Furnishings Association
  8. Institut de Consulaire de Formation en Alternance
  9. The International Conference on Functional Acrylates
  10. The International Children’s Football Academy

Note that 9 out of 11 (counting my conference) use the I as International, though only #8 isn’t in English (though #10 is based in the Netherlands). Also notice how the final A is used: usually as Association, but also as Administration, and (my favorite) as Alliance.

But even more intriguing is the visual rhetoric of the logos used by all these different organizations. I mean, of the following, how many of the following images are obviously attached to one of the above organizations (or would be without the words in the image)? Generic icon-creation is intriguing from a visual rhetoric perspective: is it better to be safe, yet bland?

Which leads to the pressing question of authenticity. That is, which is the real ICFA, and which is the . . .

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Two Views of Rhetoric, Visually

I’m putting together my PowerPoint for the Remake | Remodel conference in Germany in a couple weeks, and I thought I’d share my two favorite slides so far.

The concept is pretty simple: my presentation discusses fan remixes (on Lost Video Island and OverClocked ReMix) from a rhetorical perspective, so I’m giving a very simple primer on what I mean by rhetoric. First, there’s the traditional view:

The ideal rhetorical situation

Rhetoric: The Idealistic View

But then there’s the more realistic view of rhetoric, that acknowledges that people create their own meanings based on their situatedness in time and space, their emotions as they hear the message, etc.:

The realistic view of rhetoric

Rhetoric: The Realistic View

Then I’ll point out that the reason I’m interested in fan remixes is because the rhetorical effect of a text is complicated when the text includes aspects that the audience has seen/heard before. But that uncertainty is managed in part by fan communities, where the norms and literacies of the discourse community are shaped and tweaked and learned.

That’s one reason I like this image so much: in a sense, I’m “remixing” the original Creative Commons licensed photo from Flickr, “orator” by southtyrolean. And people’s reactions to the image will be affected by their own history with Lego bricks–for some (like me), it’s an instantly nostalgic, familiar image because of the Lego element, but for others it might look childish, odd, etc.

In other words, the image itself demonstrates my justification for talking about fan communities in my presentation.

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CCCC 2010 Thoughts

I figure it’s time that I post a few basic thoughts on some of my experiences at the 2010 Conference on College Composition and Communication in Louisville. But like everyone else, I’m wide-eyed at the amount of things waiting for me back home, so I’ll try to be brief.

Best Panels

  • In A19, Bump Halbritter and Jenn Fishman stepped back and let two students (J.R. Hammond and Casey Miles) share their multimedia work with us. It was a perfect example of how we might continue to remix the traditional academic paper format–lots of A/V goodness. Also interesting was their insistence that filming, editing, mixing, is all “writing.” But why not follow John Logie (K24) and call it all “composing,” including the alphabetic-based stuff we do on paper?
  • In C1, Bronwyn Williams became my new hero. He interviewed lots of students about their online activities, expressions of self, expressions of pop culture love, and shared some intriguing results, especially on students’ attitudes toward pop culture artifacts as authorless, and how appropriation blurs the boundaries between reading and writing. And shoot, his book is called Shimmering Literacies, and that’s just as cool as it gets.
  • D18 was my most pleasant surprise: I went to hear my buddy Dan Richards collaborate with Josh Mehler on “the active potential of metaphor” in the classroom, expecting to be a good supporter of a friend but not overwhelmingly interested in the material, but I left with a rich contemplation of the complex metaphors we use to help us make sense of things like writing and argument. And even better, they came across like two TV hosts, passing the proverbial mic back and forth with humor and just the right touch of silliness.
  • It was refreshing to end the first day hearing Rebecca Lucy Busker talk casually and persuasively in E08 about her experiences as a fan fiction composer, and how all the things we teach in comp are enacted in fic circles. Sweet.
  • My favorite overall panel was F12. Randall McClure, summarized: “There are tons of studies about the overwhelming amounts of information our students process every day, so let’s see what it can teach us.” Rebecca Moore Howard: “I used to say that patchwriting happened because readers didn’t understand the source material. But now I’ve got data that says it’s more complicated, and probably related to students’ lack of time.” Jim Purdy (who wins my Best Slideshow Award): “Let’s actually talk to student researchers about how they research. Here’s the beginning of my results.” Janice Walker: “Look at this video of what a student actually does when faced with a research task! Telling, huh?”
  • In the generally awesome I7 panel, I was most intrigued by Tim Laquintano’s points about the pressures felt by composers of online poker-playing manuals–this complex rhetorical situation of wanting to help other players (and thus make money when they buy your book), but not wanting to help them so much that they stomp your elite status as a player, and not wanting to alienate your buddies who also want to keep their reigns secure. Tricky!
  • I already mentioned K24 above, with John Logie and Martine Courant Rife. This was where I saw the Best Multimedia Presentation (Logie clearly breathes music through his pores and eyes, and it shows in his exuberance) and where I had the Best Discussion. Shall we replace the word author with composer? How about as long as there isn’t a reason not to?
  • Finally, I was glad I stuck around for P14 to hear some awesome applications of the inspiring work of The Citation Project. I was especially pleased to meet Crystal Benedicks, who spoke partly on her university’s attempt to complexify a “draconian” intellectual honest policy, and who told me about the book-length poem The Beauty of the Husband, which I will try my best not to read when I ought to be reading other things, but which I will certainly read in all the in-between times.

Best Experiences

  • Finding out that the roommate I randomly found on the WPA list was awesome, nice, and cool. Good Saved by the Bell conversations.
  • Wandering all around downtown Louisville on my own on Tuesday, and successfully navigating a few different bus routes.
  • Having Cindy Selfe sit down with my group at O’Shea’s pub.
  • Randomly chatting at the airport with Kathleen Yancey and Geoffrey Sirc about all kinds of stuff, for like half an hour. I love meeting nice people who know what the heck they’re talking about.
  • Feeling part of a Twitter conversation. Even though some lamented that the #cccc10 hashtag wasn’t very active, it was the most real-timey I’ve ever been on Twitter, and that was exciting.
  • Getting the idea for a Fandom SIG. Excited to see if that will play out for next year!

Best Food

  • The Mayan Cafe
  • Kashmir (Indian food)
  • Za’s (pizza)

Other Blog Posts on CCCC 10

I’m glad to post more, of course, but this is all that have naturally flowed my way so far.

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Kanye: Symbol of a New Art

Interesting article in the Guardian (via OzMark17) about how Kanye’s blunder is being mashed-up in all kinds of ways, and how that’s indicative of a growing popular art form (though I don’t think the author, Sam Leith, he calls it art except in the title).

Here’s how I would respond if this were a student paper:

What I like: It’s great, Sam, how you use this overdiscussed Kanye incident to bring up a larger, much more interesting point: the growth of memes in general, including all those over-the-top videos putting new subtitles on Hitler’s rants and one I didn’t know about: “WHOSE RESPONSIBLE THIS?” Understanding these trends will, I think, do a lot toward helping us understand how cultures of sharing, showing-off, being really funny, and making important rhetorical moves all meet online.

Areas to Improve: You seem unnecessarily interested in the questions of authorship and origination with regards to these memes. You write:

The question that’s always asked about jokes is: where do they come from? They circulate, like funny little ripples in the collective unconscious, but it’s next to impossible to establish who first wondered aloud why the chicken crossed the road. Memes can be traced to their origins, however. And sometimes, like the Hubble telescope peering back to the beginnings of the universe, you can catch sight of one actually beginning.

The question you should ask yourself, Sam, is, “So what?” It seems to me like your concern for who created what is applying an older construction onto a newer art form that thrives in a world of collaboration, sharing, and author-less-ness.  And that’s ok!

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Rogerian Argument and a Clenched Fist

So some colleagues of mine are working on a custom reader (a textbook for students that’s full of readings) for Composition 2 at my university.  This class has a focus on argument through three writing projects:

  1. An introduction to Aristotelian and the Toulmin Model of argument
  2. An introduction to Rogerian argument
  3. A social action project, in which the students make arguments for social change and actually enact their proposition in some way

There’s been a bit of disagreement about the cover for the book.  Here’s the proposed cover:

This clearly fits well as an introduction to visual rhetoric and social action, but the disagreement has stemmed from the Rogerian aspect of the course, which is definitely going to receive a good bit of focus in the course.

The question, then: in what ways (if at all) can this image demonstrate visually aspects of Rogerian argument, which emphasizes finding common ground and admitting the good things about your opponent’s point of view?  I think it probably can, but I’d like to hear some interpretations to help me see it.

(Personally, I love the image, and I think it fits well enough with the course theme to be a keeper–although I admit that I’d like to be convinced still about how/if it fits with the Rogerian aspect.)

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