Writing response visual material rhetorics

This week we move into visual rhetoric and material rhetoric, how they engage with each other in what scholar Amy Propen terms “interpaly” and how space and place figure into each. 

in the discussing and defining these rhetorics we will learn about visual culture, which is comprised of how we experience the world. Propen explains further stating, [W]e see based on what we know. That is, our prior knowledge, cultural contexts, and learned assumptions about the world around us influence our interpretations of visual artifacts.” Visual rhetoric draws on and is informed by visual culture.

Rhetoric is about meaning making. Visual rhetoric utilizes cultural context to shape and make meaning.

As Propen notes: Visual Rhetoric then draws on visual culture to consider ways in which rhetorical action [meaning making] is ‘enacted primarily through visual means, made meaningful through culturally derived ways of looking and seeing and endeavoring to influence diverse publics’” (Olsen qtd. in Propen xv).

What Propen wants us to understand is that the visual and the material, the actual tangible artifact, interact with each other. We will explore what she means by this and how she comes upon the term: visual-material rhetorics. An example of visual-material rhetoric at work is the map. 

What we get in introducing visual and material rhetoric to our thinking about art, is a different way to look at art and how we engage with it by thinking about how the visual is in fact interacting with us. Many times interpreting art, we interpret it based on our contemporary moment. Visual rhetoric demands that we take cultural context into account in order to make sense what we see and what we know. 

Provide an example of visual, material, or visual-material rhetorics. Be sure to include the image. Explain why and how you chose it, and what narrative you think it conveys. How is it engaging with cultural context? How is it being interpreted? Are there any power dynamics at play? Does it engage in a certain place in a particular way? 

You don’t have to answer all these questions, but they provide ways to get into the analysis of the image you choose.

This is a 500-word Forum due Sunday by 10:00 a.m. PST. I’m giving you some extra time with this so be thoughtful in your choice and have fun with it.  

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