Monday, December 18, 2017

Spring 2018 MALAS Seminar | VISUAL RHETORIC | Professor Cezar Ornatowski

Spring 2017
Prof. Cezar Ornatowski
Tuesday 7:00-9:40 pm

In the last decade, visuality has become a major focus of theory and research in a variety of fields (rhetoric, communication, cultural studies, literary studies, and science studies).  Much of communication today is visual, from television to film, videos, and images posted on Facebook. The ubiquity of visual communication in the global communication age is due in large part to the power of visual images (they impact our emotions directly, short-circuiting our rational mind), their “truth-effect,” and the fact that they appear to transcend language barriers. For al these reasons, in spite of their seeming “truth-value,” images are also heavily manipulated (staged, Photo-shopped, false captioned, and so on). Visuality has in fact become the major arena of political and cultural “struggle” in the electronic—and not only electronic--domain. In addition, with the advent of mass surveillance and “big data,” visualization has become a powerful strategy of knowledge production.

The course will examine a range of visual artifacts, both still and moving (photographs and other images, paintings, videos, and film, as well as scientific “visualizations”) from three complementary perspectives:
  a semiotic perspective: the working of the visual sign itself
  a systemic perspective: visuality as a communication system that involves specific technologies, media, modes, and techniques of production, reproduction, manipulation, circulation, and reception
  a rhetorical/communication perspective that explores psychological, historical, and cultural practices of seeing and looking, persuasive effects of visual artifacts, as well as their deployments in politics, culture, art, advertising, and knowledge discovery.


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