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miscellanneous

my house is water

our last 6112 discussion
awysocki
We started our discussion of Donis A. Dondis's Visual Literacy by looking at a range of two-dimensional art pieces, asking what Dondis's approach encouraged or allowed us to say about the objects. We quickly ran up against the absence of the social / cultural in her approach. For example, when looking at Raphael's painting of Galatea we could talk about the arrangement and relationship of abstract elements and how they directed our eyes and attentions around the picture, and we could name (because they are represented) -- but not talk about -- humans, water, and animals. We were also very aware that could not speak much of gender, ethnicity, mythology, frescoes, the Renaissance; we knew from our experiences outside the painting that those factors and more shaped our viewing, but we needed to turn to other sources to inform our talk.

We looked at a Chinese painting and could apply Dondis's analytic frame to it: we could say that the colors are equally subdued, with little contrast except for the red; this is a landscape with few objects in it, and the boats are painted to blend into what is around them, as is the body of the flutist who stands out only subtly in the lower middle because of a shift in line. Most of us were uncomfortable with going any further, with coming to any judgments about the painting (for example, "This is about the smallness of humans in the landscape" or "This is about the passing of time in fall, about grabbing hold of the gentle moments of enjoyment"): we could see that it has been painted in a tradition unknown to most of us. Yang was able to tell us that this painting was probably a response to or illustration of a poem, a traditional Chinese use of painting. (Am I getting that right, Yang?)

We acknowledged that Rose's critique of compositional visual methodologies -- that they "do not encourage discussion of the production of an image…. nor of how it might be used and interpreted by various viewers" -- seemed an accurate critique for Dondis's approach. We raised but did not discuss much, however, our concern that Rose lays the blame for this lack of social-cultural reflexivity on how compositional approaches can be tied to the notion of the great artist or "the good eye" -- when Dondis's reasons for her system are different. The implication of Rose's critique is that compositional methodologies are used by critics to establish what are the best and most beautiful or otherwise worthy art objects; they are used, that is, to establish the tastes and so hierarchical placements of some people (I am thinking of Bourdieu and Distinction here). But Dondis is interested in larger cultural participation; she is interested in the thoughtful consumption AND production of visual objects by a wider range of people. Rose approaches visual methodologies as occuring strictly after the fact: they are, for her, to help with analysis of existing objects; she does not discuss them as possible approaches for anyone wishing to participate in the production of visual objects. Dondis sees production as a necessary part of cultural participation. Are compositional methodologies necessary -- or necessary and sufficient -- for producing thoughtful visual productions? Are visual productions necessary for -- and useful for -- cultural participation?

In our discussion, however, that thread about different understandings of the purposes of compositional methodologies very quickly led into something more compelling for our particular backgrounds and interests, and that is Dondis's definition of "literacy." Dondis uses her notion of "literacy" as the grounding for her arguments about how we should approach the visual (although she does reiterate, initially, that for her there are shortcomings with her approach because the verbal is more conventionalized than the visual). Steve pointed out that Dondis's definition of verbal literacy -- "To be considered verbally literate, one must learn the basic components of written language: the letters, words, spelling, grammar, syntax." (x) -- seems equivalent to Street's notion of "autonomous literacy" (which was published approximately 10 years after Dondis's book). While Dondis acknowledges that there are varying degrees of verbal literacy (from the ability to write "simple messages" to "increasingly complex and artistic forms" [10]) and so, comparably, "visual literacy" "means increased visual intelligence" (185), this does not change how she sets out to build a model of visual literacy parallel to her understanding of verbal literacy.

And so Dondis offers the visual equivalent of letters: for visual production, there are the "basic elements" of dot, line, shape, direction, tone, color, texture, scale, dimension, and movement. Syntax is covered through what Dondis describes as "the potential of structure in visual literacy" through denotative "psychophysiological" perceptions of balance, stress, leveling and sharpening, a preference for the lower left of a picture plane, attraction and grouping, and positive and negative; the meaning of these latter "short circuits the intellect, making contact directly with the emotions and feelings" (22); these contribute to our ability to build meaning through the techniques of kinds of contrast that Dondis describes in one chapter.

Dondis also claims that there are three levels to visual meaning: the representational, the abstract, and the symbolic (and these would be worth comparing to Pierce's index, icon, and symbol). The first arises out of "reality," "the basic and dominating visual experience" (68): it is the attempt to faithful recreate direct visual observation of the world. The second is "the reduction of multiple visual factors to only the most essential and most typical features of what is being represented" (71), and it

conveys the essential meaning, cutting through the conscious to the unconscious, from the experience of the substance in the sensory field directly to the nervous system. (81)

The symbolic "is an information-packed means of visual communication, universal in meaning" (72). It is not clear whether these levels are meant to correspond to some some aspect of verbal literacy, as the basic elements and techniques correspond to letters and syntax, but for Dondis both producers and receivers of visual compositions -- if the producers and receivers are to be considered visually literate -- have to be able to work with all three levels separately and entwined.

It is when she moves on to discuss style, that Dondis begins to address social and cultural aspects of visual composition. As with the levels, Dondis does not describe a verbal equivalent to style; instead, style is for her an unconscious cultural background that exerts influence over the choices composers make in working with elements and techniques of visual composition. Although Dondis acknowledges that there are and have been many different styles historically and geographically, she argues that all styles can be fit into five categories: primitivism, expressionism, classicism, the embellished, and functionality.

The last categorization is a symptom of what everyone in class noted as being a feature of every level of Dondis's arguments: she claims universalism for all aspects of visual composition -- for production and analysis -- and none of us were comfortable accepting that universalism. Dondis offers few non-Western, non-canonical examples, and offers no analysis of the material conditions of production (the marketing of art, the historic gendering of artistic production, and so on) that we know shape how we understand what we see. There is no discussion of advertising, of other than the fine arts.

In spite of our complaints, I think that following Rose and Dondis we have questions like these remaining:


  1. Are compositional methodologies always necessary for starting analysis (especially if we take seriously Rose's arguments that all visual methodologies must "take seriously" "the image itself")?

  2. Is something like visual literacy necessary for full cultural participation?

  3. How can we know the limits of our methods of visual analysis, in terms of being reflexive about our geographical and cultural positioning?



Anything I missed?

grand rounds
awysocki
Grand Rounds, like the Carnival of Teaching, always make me feel like those times in a coffee shop when I overhear compelling words from the next table: can I listen without tipping my chair?

We're invited to Grand Rounds, though, and it's a gift to listen in on what is -- often -- intimate and close talk, on what is figuring-it-out in words, out loud. Nurses and doctors quietly write -- well -- about what confounds, moves, or angers them.

The latest Grand Rounds, on "The People behind the Medicine," is about nurses and doctors making quick decisions about their professional roles as they treat others -- or are treated by others. The posts make me think about decisions we make as teachers about the self-consciousness we have toward students, about how we decide how much to open ourselves to the people in our classes and how much to stay at a distance, all depending on what we think is happening and needs to happen. I cannot imagine what it is to be a nurse in the Periodic Intensive Care Unit, and I am inexpressibly glad that my decisions can't so directly kill someone. But I know we can make others miserable or exalted. We don't need the education doctors get in how to live and think after someone has died under your knife or prescription -- but I would like beginning and continuing education in how to be alert to how much our teacherly ways with others matter, and in how to acknowledge that -- as with medicine -- the luminous right decision toward one person is not for someone else.

What would a Hippocratic Oath for teachers look like?

something like this: teaching digital production in a writing/theory program
awysocki
I will be giving a presentation on production and the visual at Florida State in April (a chance to see Kathi Yancey and Kris Fleckenstein -- I am looking forward to this, hugely); David Blakesley and I will be there together, playing off each other. David may make a machinima, and I...

Well, I...

I am thinking about the possibilities. I have been needing for a while to write on production. Our latest job search, for someone to teach "critical approaches to media production," put me onto a committee with people who use Word for their scholarly or fun production, and so it became clear early on that definitional differences were the undercurrent. Our attractions to various candidates were very much tied to our differing notions of what production is and how it ought to play out in a program that has some theoretic bent, and we recognized this -- but we had no time for discussion, because it would have required the equivalent of several conference presentation panel ramblings and dinners afterwards.

By looking through a good deep set of applications, applications from people bringing all sorts of backgrounds and worldly engagements into their own work, people whom in the best of all possible worlds we would have hired as a collective, I saw my own teaching differently, and saw where some of my frustrations are. And I realized that, perhaps, we (an amorphous "we") still aren't too much past a discussion from Computers & Writing Gainesville (1998?), about "teaching software versus teaching writing" -- and at that time, even, the discussion was self-aware about being at least 10 years old. (For a crisper update and discussion of this than mine, see Kathie Gossett's take.)

No more do I want to teach classes that are titled along the lines of "Introduction to Multimedia Development" (a title that felt detergent-new and -fresh 10 years ago but now...) or "Introduction to Web Development." Perhaps it is just our school, but people come into such classes with the expectation that the class will be about learning software and nothing else. This past semester I did teach "Introduction to Multimedia Development," in which people did research in local historical archives and then built interactive pieces for helping others learn about local history (and boy did they build some great stuff). On the first day of that class, when I asked about people's expectations about what would happen, the common response was, "We're going to learn Flash!" I said that, yes, they'd be learning something about Flash, just as, back in first and second grades we were all taught how to hold pencils and paper and how to sit so that we could write -- but those were only the first steps toward using the technology to engage with others, toward considering how pencil and paper embed us into certain cultural structures of thinking and interacting, etc. etc. You know how this goes.

Twice during the semester, when we did class evaluations, I asked people in class what most stood out to them in what they had learned, what they thought they could apply most in the future, what helped them understand the ethical and moral dimensions of digital communication. "Flash!"

I clearly underestimate the cultural capital of knowing this software.

And perhaps I should also be pining for *a series of classes* -- working off the analogy of learning software as being like learning pencil and paper -- recognizing that all of what *I* (the selfish teacherly I) want to happen in class cannot possibly happen in one semester and must happen across a layering of classes.

Nonetheless, my sense of responsibility pushes me now toward thinking that the classes I should be teaching should be called, simply, "Public Writing" or "Digital Citizenship" or "Engaging with Digital Communities." Just as in "regular" writing classes, production is assumed. The readings and assignments center on how we engage with and act within different publics and privates, and production is -- as in a "regular" writing class -- a form either of reflection and action (or, as always, both). The "tools" are folded into the learning: you have to learn something about a game engine to build an environment that fosters first-person shibbolething; you have to learn something about Flash to build an argumentative essay about how different technologies enable differing forms of argument; you have to play with Photoshop to remix those characters from SL. Reflexivity about the technology has to be there, but so does placing the technology more into its cultural articulations from the beginning, rather than pulling it out as though it were a neutral little hammer.

The trade-off is that people then only learn the software so much, just enough to make a little argument or two. And this is where I could come back to wondering about the need for series of classes, and for a discussion about the professionalization of technologies: we have, in the past, spent many years of education on the commonly shared technologies of a certain kind of writing, the writing deeply tied to pen and paper -- and now we live in a time of technologies that separate out and that each have their own steep learning curve. All these latter technologies -- and I am thinking here within the bounds of software: Flash, Photoshop, FinalCut, Maya -- also have long learning curves if one is to be fluent. They also have long learning curves for parallel/congruent abilities one has to develop: to become a graphic designer or 3D artist, one has to devote some considerable attention to visual conventions, and so on with film, video, gaming, etc.

With that professionalization -- with that emphasis on professionalization and the taste that develops alongside becoming a professional with a technology -- comes a decrease in wider public participation. If the Photoshop picture you make shows you not to be aware that fuzzy edges are outré, then others will look with disdain (viz the Worth contests). If your Flash piece has code in all the different layers instead of only in the opening screen, well… you show yourself not to know what you are doing. If you are not willing, in other words, to spend the time to learn the software to a level of professional polish, then you can't participate. Feh.

So: teaching software only as a part of the whole process of developing arguments and pieces of cultural questioning would help me teach also about how taste develops, how people get to be recognized as able digital citizens -- or not. Teaching more of a "figure out enough to do what you want and to take control" helps develop confidence in being a non-professional in a world where professionalization is another gate. Teaching more of a "figure out enough to do what you want and to take control" can help shift tastes toward a more generous approach toward texts that look non-professional for all sorts of good reasons, texts that we might otherwise dismiss precisely because they don't look like what we're accustomed to.

Okay.

Hmmm.

I think there is something here toward a presentation on production. But I also want to make something, too, in which to embed this discussion. And it sounds as though it's going to have to be something un-pretty, ungainly, and unprofessional in all the right ways.

But people gotte be making stuff, because that's a non-trivial entry to public participation these days.

for 5931 folks: statements of teaching philosophies
awysocki
For our February 15 meeting, we're asking you to post -- on your blog -- rhetorical analyses of the teaching philosophies of others. We're asking you to do this for two reasons: thinking more on rhetorical analyses for your teaching of them and thinking toward your own teaching philosophies.

Below are links to advice given by various teaching centers from various universities about what statements of teaching philosophy are supposed to do and how teachers are supposed to achieve all that. Such statements have multiple purposes (which makes them good for rhetorical analyses): they are a form of reflection for teachers, to help them clarify why they do what they do in classes; they can be public documents sent to hiring committees as part of a job application.

Below are also links to samples of statements, some from rhet-comp and some from other fields.

So: WHAT TO DO
Read through the guidelines, and draw up for yourself an understanding of the purposes, contexts, and audiences for statements of teaching philosophy. Use your sense of purposes, contexts, and audiences to post on your blog a comparative analysis of two statements. You can analyze two statements from rhet-comp, or one from rhet-comp and one from another discipline. (Lots of samples from other disciplines are linked from the general guidelines pages.)

GENERAL GUIDELINES ON WHAT STATEMENTS OF TEACHING PHILOSOPHY ARE AND DO
from Ohio State, with linked samples lower down on the page
from The Chronicle of Higher Education
from Iowa State
from the University of Michigan, with lots of links to example from other disciplines
some comments by MetaSpencer on Statements of Teaching Philosophy

STATEMENTS OF TEACHING PHILOSOPHY examples from RHETORIC AND COMPOSITION
John Walter
Judith Van
Laura Nutten
Susan Miller-Cochran
Mine

PS -- Know that I put all this together while Dennis watched a Richard Prior DVD in the background, as, um, research for a section in a class on rhetorics of humor.

alternative forms of visual analysis
awysocki
using Skymall magazine.

"Now, class, what can we say about...?"

Very cool.

make it known...
awysocki
The good professor Hawhee posted on a search string -- "happy woman professor" -- that led some one person to her blog... and the comments led to this:


Hear ye! Hear ye! Let it be known that February 14, 2007 will mark the observation of "Happy Woman Professor Day," a day inspired by a depressing google search string and comments on that search string (including my own overly cynical one). Thanks to, among others, Anne, Google, (or better, the anonymous googler) and Cara.

During this day, women professors across the academy will post blog entries about things they love about their profession. Go ahead, get mushy. And please advertise widely.


So, yes, please. Go!

enter! send!
awysocki
To acknowledge and support the growth and acceptance of scholarship, research, and teaching in our field, we present on an annual basis the Computers and Composition Distinguished Book Award. The award honors book-length works that contribute in substantial and innovative ways to the field of computers and composition.

In recognition of the changing nature of publications in computers and composition research, theory, and practice, the Computers and Composition Distinguished Book Award is open to not only printed and bound books but also large hypertexts, multimedia programs, and Web sites. The Computers and Composition Distinguished Book Award complements existing awards for best article (the Ellen Nold Award) and best dissertation (the Hugh Burns Award). Computers and Composition will honor the winner during an awards presentation held during the Computers and Writing Conference. Winners will receive both a plaque and a modest cash award.

To nominate a book for the Distinguished Book Award, the nominator must write a letter outlining the ways in which the work contributes to scholarship, research, and teaching in computers and composition, and submit the letter and three copies of the book (or arrange to have the publisher send three copies of the book). Potential categories of emphasis for nomination include originality of research and/or application, methodological sophistication, and scope of work.

{Dates of eligibility for this awards is January 1 through December 31 of 2006.}

Deadline for nominations is March 15. Send nominations for the Computers and Composition Distinguished Book Award to:

Anne Frances Wysocki
Distinguished Book Award
Humanities Department
Michigan Technological University
Houghton , MI 49931

If you have any questions, please contact me...

damn
awysocki
Molly Ivins has died.

thinking further on Rose
awysocki
Christine sent along a link to this article "Feminist Art Finally Takes Center Stage", from the NYT (which I've also pasted in below). For me, considering our reading of Rose, this raises questions:

  1. The only methodology Rose discussed that has an overtly feminist edge is that of psychoanalytic approaches -- and the feminist sensibilities of such an approach are tied to Lacan, meaning that the ties are always a little uncomfortable. The discourse analysis methodologies Rose discusses are applicable to feminist ends, as demonstrated in the examples she chooses to illustrate the methodologies. Do you think there ought to be a specifically feminist methodology? (As the article Christine linked tells, there have been feminist approached to *art criticism* since Linda Nochlin and Lucy Lippard were just beginning their work. Ought those approaches be more explicitly stretched to criticism of a broader range of visual objects?)

  2. The article suggests, at least, that visual culture can be questioned through action, performance, and production as well as through criticism and written/spoken discourse -- as per Coco Fusco's presentation and the work of Navjot or the Guerrilla Girls. Your thoughts?




January 29, 2007 -- NYTimes
Feminist Art Finally Takes Center Stage

By HOLLAND COTTER
“Well, this is quite a turnout for an ‘ism,’ ” said the art historian and critic Lucy Lippard on Friday morning as she looked out at the people filling the Roy and Niuta Titus Theater at the Museum of Modern Art and spilling into the aisles. “Especially in a museum not notorious for its historical support of women.”

Ms. Lippard, now in her 70s, was a keynote speaker for a two-day symposium organized by the museum that was titled “The Feminist Future: Theory and Practice in the Visual Arts.” The event itself was an unofficial curtain-raiser for what is shaping up as a watershed year for the exhibition — and institutionalization, skeptics say — of feminist art.

For the first time in its history this art will be given full-dress museum survey treatment, and not in just one major show but in two. On March 4 “Wack! Art and the Feminist Revolution” opens at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, followed on March 23 by “Global Feminisms” at the Brooklyn Museum. (On the same day the Brooklyn Museum will officially open its new Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art and a permanent gallery for “The Dinner Party,” Judy Chicago’s seminal proto-feminist work.)

Such long-withheld recognition has been awaited with a mixture of resignation and impatient resentment. Everyone knows that our big museums are our most conservative cultural institutions. And feminism, routinely mocked by the public media for 35 years as indissolubly linked with radicalism and bad art, has been a hard sell.

But curators and critics have increasingly come to see that feminism has generated the most influential art impulses of the late 20th and early 21st century. There is almost no new work that has not in some way been shaped by it. When you look at Matthew Barney, you’re basically seeing pilfered elements of feminist art, unacknowledged as such.

The MoMA symposium was sold out weeks in advance. Ms. Lippard and the art historian Linda Nochlin appeared, like tutelary deities, at the beginning and end respectively; in between came panels with about 20 speakers. The audience was made up almost entirely of women, among them many veterans of the women’s art movement of the 1970s and a healthy sprinkling of younger students, artists and scholars. It was clear that people were hungry to hear about and think about feminist art, whatever that once was, is now or might be.

What it once was was relatively easy to grasp. Ms. Lippard spun out an impressionistic account of its complex history, as projected images of art by women streamed across the screen behind her, telling an amazing story of their own. She concluded by saying that the big contribution of feminist art “was to not make a contribution to Modernism.” It rejected Modernism’s exclusionary values and authoritarian certainties for an art of openness, ambiguity, reciprocity and what another speaker, Griselda Pollock, called “ethical hospitality,” features now identified with Postmodernism.

But feminism was never as embracing and accessible as it wanted to be. Early on, some feminists had a problem with the “lavender menace” of lesbianism. The racial divide within feminism has never been resolved and still isn’t, even as feminism casts itself more and more on a globalist model.

The MoMA audience was almost entirely white. Only one panelist, the young Kenyan-born artist Wangechi Mutu, was black. And the renowned critic Geeta Kapur from Delhi had to represent, by default, all of Asia. “I feel like I’m gate-crashing a reunion,” Ms. Mutu joked as she began to speak, and she wasn’t wrong.

At the same time one of feminism’s great strengths has been a capacity for self-criticism and self-correction. Yet atmospherically the symposium was a very MoMA event, polished, well executed, well mannered, even cozy. A good half of the talks came across as more soothing than agitating, suitable for any occasion rather than tailored to one onto which, I sensed, intense personal, political and historical hopes had been pinned.

Still, there was some agitation, and it came with the first panel, “Activism/Race/Geopolitics,” in a performance by the New York artist Coco Fusco. Ms. Fusco strode to the podium in combat fatigues and, like a major instructing her troops, began lecturing on the creative ways in which women could use sex as a torture tactic on terrorist suspects, specifically on Islamic prisoners.

The performance was scarifyingly funny as a send-up of feminism’s much-maligned sexual “essentialism.” But its obvious references to Abu Ghraib, where women were victimizers, was telling.

In the context of a mild-mannered symposium and proposed visions of a “feminist future” that saw collegial tolerance and generosity as solutions to a harsh world, Ms. Fusco made the point that, at least in the present, women are every bit as responsible for that harshness — for what goes on in Iraq for example — as anyone.

Ms. Kapur’s talk was also topical, but within the framework of India. It is often said that the activist art found in early Western feminism and now adopted by artists in India, Africa and elsewhere has lost its pertinence in its place of origin. Yet in presenting work by two Indian artists, Rummana Hussain (1952-1999) and Navjot Altaf (born in 1949), Ms. Kapur made it clear that they have at least as much to teach to the so-called West as the other way around.

Ms. Hussain, a religious secularist, used images from her Muslim background as a critical response to sectarian violence; Ms. Altaf (known as Navjot), though based in Mumbai, produces art collaboratively with tribal women who live difficult lives in rural India.

Collaborative or collective work of the kind Navjot does has grown in popularity in the United States and Europe in the past few years. And several of the symposium’s panelists — Ms. Lippard, the Guerrilla Girls, Carrie Lambert-Beatty, Catherine de Zegher — referred to it as a potential way for feminist art to avoid being devoured and devitalized by an omnivorous art market.

It was Ms. Fusco again who brought utopian dreams to earth. While sympathetic to the idea of collective work as an alternative to the salable lone-genius model, she suggested that the merchandising of art is at present so encompassing, and the art industry so fundamentally corrupted by it, that even collectives tend to end up adhering to a corporate model.

The power of the market, which pushes a few careers and throws the rest out — the very story of feminist art’s neglect — was the invisible subtext to the entire symposium. It was barely addressed, however, nor was the reality that the canonization of feminist art by museums would probably suppress everything that had made the art radical. Certainly no solutions for either problem was advanced, except one, incidentally, by Connie Butler, MoMa’s drawings curator, who is also the curator of the Los Angeles show.

In her panel talk she said that when she was agonizing over what choices of work to make for the “Wack!” exhibition, the art historian Moira Roth suggested, brilliantly, that she just eliminate objects altogether. Instead, Ms. Roth said, why not invite all the artists who made them to come the museum for a group-consciousness-raising session, film the session, and then make the film the show?

Somewhat unexpectedly, signs of a raised consciousness were evident among young people in the MoMA audience, the kind of people we are told either have no knowledge of feminism or outright reject it. In the question-and-answer sessions after each panel, the most passionate, probing and agitating questions and statements came from young women who identified themselves as students or artists.

When they spoke; when Richard Meyer, a gay art historian, spoke about queer feminism; and when Ms. Mutu ended her presentation by simply reading aloud a long list of curators, scholars and artists — all of them women, all of them black — who, could and should have been at the MoMA symposium, I had a sense that a feminist future was, if not secure, at least under vigilant consideration.

reading Rose
awysocki
Thank you all for the smart discussion Thursday night: I hope you enjoyed (as I did) the fineness of our talk, the good questions, and the understandings we built around Rose's arguments about visual methodologies. What follows is my memory of our main concerns -- so, please, in the comments, add to / subtract from / take issue with what I've written so that we have as strong a memory together as possible.

The place our discussion took off, it seems to me, is with what happens after Rose's claims that any "critical visual methodology" must do three things: "take images seriously," "think about the social conditions and effects of visual objects," and "consider" the critic/analyst/teacher's "way of looking at images." After she sets up those criteria (the latter two of which will come back soon) she describes the "sites" of sighting practices in which "meaning is made" (production / image / audience) and the modalities with which those sites intersect (technological, compositional, and social). We spent our time focusing on the sites and the modalities, and somewhat on their intersections, but we did not have time for asking what the resulting "grid" of intersections implies in terms of the judgments it encourages; I am pretty sure, though, that in the coming weeks, as we explore further some of the methodologies that Rose describes, as well as others, that more questions about the grid -- and what it encourages us to see or overlook, and how it positions us as reflexive viewers-critics, and about other possible configurations for considering visual objects -- will emerge.

You all noted how Rose's sites -- of production / image / audience -- parallel the 'traditional' triad of writing studies, of author / text / audience. We discussed why Rose would use "production" instead of "artist" or "composer," which would parallel the writing studies triad: this is a direct result, it would seem, with her concern that we consider the social conditions and effects of visual objects, such that we do not want to reduce production to an individual person purposefully and intentfully in control of a text. Rose's treatment does not come to production as Foucault's notion of the "author function" does, with the author/composer composed by readers out of and in response to a text (the closest to this would be her discussion of the what the "good eye" does in constructing ideas about great artists); instead, Rose's use of "production" seems aimed at keeping us imagining production as a coming together of a multiply scaled set of social / cultural / political /economic /technological processes.

But then why does she still hold to "audience," which keeps us imagining discrete people? Why does she not use "reception" as the parallel term? Alexa asked if this might be connected to a desire to make "audience" concrete as possible for us, to keep reminding us that this site is indeed real groups of real people responding, so that we do not think of passive reception. I have to admit, though, that "audience" carries precisely that connotation for me, of passivity. So why point us away (rightfully so, I think) from thinking of the producer as a single individual while keeping to the old term for the receivers?

We also asked whether "image" is inclusive enough for what she hopes to achieve, given that the word asks us to imagine static, 2D, realistically representative art works or photographs -- and such works are a tiny subset of the range of visual objects we compose for each other. The word also asks us to think of such work as statically contained, as objects that sit still before us; again, this goes against Rose's other attempts to encourage us toward more dynamic conceptions of processes. Here, for example, is where Christine pointed out the Eurocentricity of this -- and the other -- parts of this system: from her work with local tribal groups and photography, Christine noted that there is no word that captures, as "image" or "photograph" does for us, that sense of a stilled or caught object; she told us how the closest words always mean movement, someone doing something or on the way to somewhere. This, then, is a question we need to raise of the methodologies we consider this semester.

This also leads us into questioning after Rose's emphasis on reflexivity, her insistence that critical methodologies must consider the critic/analyst/teacher's "way of looking at images"; this is where Heather and Yang each asked about -- reminding us very appropriately -- of the place of the teacher in relation to the methodologies we teach. For each of the methodologies Rose presents in the book, she raises the objection that it is not or not sufficiently reflexive -- as we are noting that there is reflexivity about larger cultural positioning vis-à-vis historically/culturally developed systems of seeing and talking about seeing and the objects of sight. As our class talked, we realized that her complaints seem related to her grid of sites and modalities: within the grid, the alertness to social positioning that characterizes reflexivity is present for the sites of production and of reception -- but there is no overtly marked place in the grid for the reflexivity that Rose argues ought to accompany the work of the critic. In other words, Rose's grid does not, apparently, allow for there to be a methodological system in which reflexivity is necessarily called forth by the relation of the parts of the grid. If the grid is meant to encompass all the possible components of systems of looking and objects, then the critic -- and hence the critic's reflexivity -- is left out. The critic *could* be considered under audience, as some part of audience: how might the critic/analyst/teacher be woven into a visual methodology so that reflexivity would of necessity be part of the practice?

In addition, Steve wondered whether compositional methodologies are necessarily a part of any methodology that hopes to consider visual objects, since it is compositional methodologies that allow us to say anything about the structure of visual objects. Although Rose seems to dismiss such methodologies as the simplest and least reflexive of the methodologies, we noted that every other methodological approach -- when applied -- starts by describing in the object being analyzed its elements and the relations established between them. Rose's concerns about compositional methodologies ought to whisper behind us as we read for next week, for those readings -- the Donis and Arnheim (as with the Bang) -- are at the core of what many use for compositional analysis (as with Kress and van Leeuwen): are they as concerned with the "good eye" as Rose claims is the central point of compositional analysis?