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What is Visual Culture?Visual Culture is the totality and visual objects produced in the industrial and post industrial nations and the ways those images are disseminated, received, and used. Visual Culture scholars study visual media of all sorts as well as the “centrality of vision and the visual world in producing meanings, [and] establishing and maintaining aesthetic values, gender stereotypes, and power relations within cultures.” -Irit Rogoff, On Visual Culture
We live in an age where we under a constant assault by visual imagery. Images compete with words as our main modes of communication. Don’t believe me? ????️♂️??Scholars, like Rogoff, maintain that our eager consumption of images fills our lives with virtual experiences that replace real life. These images generate emotions related to pleasure, power, and fantasy.
Visual culture is concerned with spectacle, or a visually striking performance or display. Visual culture is also transitional. In some cases it doesn’t make any sense the source of some art by geography. An artist may be based in New York, have a studio to make work in China, and exhibit their work in Paris. So, is the work American, Chinese, or French? Visual culture is often collaborative. A team of artisans, performers, and engineers may be part of the process in the realization of an artwork.
Part 1: Watch the Videos (You must watch all three)
Nick Cave: Nick Cave Brings Art, Sculpture to Life, 2016. (5:22 Min) Nick Cave creates “Soundsuits”—surreally majestic objects blending fashion and sculpture—that originated as metaphorical suits of armor in response to the Rodney King beatings and have evolved into vehicles for empowerment. Fully concealing the body, the “Soundsuits” serve as an alien second skin that obscures race, gender, and class, allowing viewers to look without bias towards the wearer’s identity. Cave regularly performs in the sculptures himself, dancing either before the public or for the camera, activating their full potential as costume, musical instrument, and living icon. Cave’s sculptures also include non-figurative assemblages, intricate accumulations of found objects that project out from the wall, and installations enveloping entire rooms.
Tanya Aguiñiga, Borderlands, 2020. (17:25 Min)
The binational artist Tanya Aguiñiga pushes the power of art to transform the United States-Mexico border from a site of trauma to a creative space for personal healing and collective expression. Reflecting the cultural hybridity and community of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, the artist discusses her upbringing in Tijuana, her training as a furniture and craft designer, and her artistic beginnings with the Border Art Workshop/Taller de Arte Fronterizo collective.
Michael ArcegaSPAM/MAPS (Links to an external site.): World (Detail), Spam luncheon meat and pins, 3′ x 4′ x 2″, 2001
Food as a symbolic material that speaks to cultural exchange, in this case as a result of World War II. SPAM, if you aren’t already aware, is a loved/hated canned meat consumed by hungry people all over the world. It’s also “MAPS” spelled backwards. San Francisco-based artist Michael ArcegaLinks to an external site. used SPAM in MAPS form, showing how the “Diasporic nature is symbolic of America’s ongoing influence on many nations.”
Written Analysis – Essay Format:
(Worth 30 points)
After you watch the videos, in your written analysis, address the art and artists featured in each video in an essay:How do each of these artist relate to the idea of Visual Culture?
Did work work of these artist challenge your expectations of the creation and function of art? Give specific examples form the videos.
Can you relate to each of their experiences? If not, why do you think that is? Explain your answers.
How does the art made by each of these artists specifically generate emotions related to pleasure, power, and fantasy.
How does the work of Tanya Aguiñiga relate to humanity and nature, the theme of Chapter 13?
How does the work of Micheal Arcega, relate to the term “Visual Culture?”
Where does this art belong? Think about it for a second. You can literally watch this videos almost anywhere in the world with internet access and experience the power, creativity, and grace of the artists. Sure you can put the remnants of their art pieces within the walls of a museum, but is that the best place for it?
The use of correct grammar is expected for all written material in this class; however I think that is essential that you write in a style that is conversational and that suits your personal voice. I fully support making sure that what you are writing sound like yourself. Just try to spend the time to be clear about the ideas you are trying to express. Make sure to include enough information to get your points across. I realize we live in a world of texts, emojis, and tweets and they are totally fine in other areas of your life, but in a college classroom, they just usually don’t provide enough information to fully explore ideas; so a little extra effort is a good idea. Here are some Guidelines for Discussion Posting
(Worth 30 Points Due Sunday)You must Reply to a minimum of (4 )of your classmates per week. Peer Feedback Goals:
Make sure to respectfully comment on others’ choices while replying. Keep in mind that your personal reactions, to art, differ from other. people because reactions are subjective and based on your life experience; often we need more than one set of eyes to see the big picture.
In the “Reply” window to a peer’s contribution provide feedback on what they have submitted for the current week.
1. Deep Dives: You must meaningfully reply in detail, I call these “deep dives,” to two separate peers artwork (s). Use the following points when replying in a “deep dive:” These can be about 100-150 words each.
Complement: add to (something) in a way that enhances or improves upon what your peer(s) have contributed.
Connection: a relationship in which an idea is linked or associated with something else. Tell your peers how what they have shared is associated with an idea that comes from your own personal experience. How does it relate to your life and experience in this class?
Comment: a written remark expressing an opinion or reaction. This can be positive or negative, as long as your comments are respectful and empathetic to your peer’s writing.
Quotation: quotation(s) taken from a textbook or some other source are one of the best ways to validate a comment and solidify a connection. (You must always include citations) This just means that you are supporting your ideas with other facts from reliable sources.
2. You must to reply, in brief, to at least two other peer’s artworks. These “scratch the surface” comments can take the form of a simple sentence.
These can take the form of a superficial compliment, connection, or comment.
Group Discussion Assignment Grading and Assessment
In order to earn full credit you must submit a total of 5 times per discussion assignment.(1) Personal Post that includes a properly embedded image of your current project(s)
(2) “Deep Dive” comments addressed to individual classmate’s projects.
(2) “Scratch the Surface” comments addressed to other classmate’s projects.
Please select the “more” icon in the upper right hand corner of this page to show the grading rubric for this assignment. If accessing this course by using the Canvas Student App, you will not see the icon. Instead, please use the menu to locate the rubric.
Initial post (your written project essay) is due by WEDNESDAY at 11:59 PM Pacific Time
Response postings should be completed no later than SATURDAY at 11:59 PM Pacific Time
Tips for Success:The key to a good discussion is interaction. Therefore, it is expected that you will log in and participate in the discussions on a minimum of two separate days per unit, but logging in more is encouraged.
Interaction is the key to a productive and meaningful discussion between you, your peers, and your instructor, so your goal and approach should be meaningful interaction rather than meeting minimum point requirements.
Please make sure that you are scrolling down and reading through all the submissions before replying. If you only reply to the top first two or three student’s posts that means they are getting a lot of feedback while other students are not getting any. Once a student has more than threereplies, associated to the original post, move on and find someone else to reply to.
Please note that posting all, or the majority, of your replies on the last day of the discussion after 9:00 PM will be considered for point deduction since this greatly decreases the interaction and impact of your posts.
This is a Group Discussion for the whole class. Participation in Class Discussions accounts for 30% of your overall grade in the class.
Your Post, which includes an embedded in progress image and self assessment is worth 50% of the possible points for this Discussion Assignment. (1 Post = 50% of grade)
The (2) “Deep Dive” peer responses combined with the (2) “Scratch the Surface” peer responses are worth 50% of the possible points for this Discussion Assignment. (4 Replies = 50% of grade)
Please let me know if you have any questions, via Canvas inbox. -Joshua
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