Visual Rhetoric: M/W edition, March 3rd

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Information about Visual Rhetoric: M/W edition, March 3rd

Published on March 3, 2014

Author: AlexanderMSU


TODAY 1) Checking in 2) The Tagging Assignment/what the “point” is 3) A little brainstorming time 4) Homework

So you might be asking… … what’s the point? Why would we do THIS as a part of a visual rhetoric class? The answer might be even more simple than you can imagine.


That is… rhetoric for a clearly defined public audience. Rhetorical moves that “say something” to society or a particular culture.

Behold, again, the Space Invader. He is… I know it’s cheesy on some level… “invading” your space. His is a message of art out-of-place or respect for craft lost.

Or Shepherd Fairey, with his “Obey” motif. What is he REALLY saying to us? That we should take our advice from Andre the Giant?

And the high exalted master of the craft , Banksy. Why does Banksy do these things?

Brilliant or simply sarcastic, prolific and often vilified, Banksy uses graffiti to critique culture in ways that are at once obvious and slightly obscured. What is his point?

Sometimes his juxtapositions are obvious. But he does, indeed, make a point with each thing he “defaces.”

Your task, then… … is to create a piece of public visual rhetoric and deploy it. As I have said before, you don’t need to be so brazen as to spraypaint something. I don’t want to get you into trouble. But you want to make something that conveys a public message that you can place in public space.

Suggestions: 1) Think sticker sized. Make stickers and put them anywhere/everywhere. 2) There are lots of bulletin boards on a college campus and in a college town…

3. We have an internet full of public space and references. 4. This is still publicity work; it’s just a little off-of-center. So use the same sorts of strategies we’ve used so far. 5. Customize the medium to your message: what do YOU want to say?

Brainstorming! For each prompt, write for as long as I give you (about 5 minutes), or sketch, or whatever helps you. Prompt 1: What are things that matter to you, issues you have something very specific to say about?

Prompt 2: Remember that this is visual rhetoric, so this needs to be an argument that is more about the visual than the text. What images work with your chosen message?

Prompt 3: Think about places where your message could best be heard. What can you put there? How difficult would it be? How legal would it be?

Prompt 4: Think about the power of memory. How will you get your message to “stick” to the audience? Why will they remember it a day later? A week?

Prompt 5: What can you use in this space to make this point? Where can you access the materials? Is it cost effective?

Prompt 6: What are the risks of doing this and can you afford to risk it? If the answer is no, return to prompt 1. 

Armed with these responses, go to a computer and spend some time roughing out a general plan for what you want to create and how you want to deploy it. You can also get started on the actual design if you can get that far. This is due April 7 th .

For Wednesday: Come Wednesday ready to devote the whole class, essentially, to brochure work with your team. I want us to get a foundation in place and build a work-plan. No additional readings at this time.

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