Glossary Entry-Wood

Reality: In The Power of Maps, Wood discusses how maps represent a reality to an audience that has not interacted with the environment.  Even though the audience has not interacted with the area the map covers, the members can construct the environment in their mind from the map and their own experiences [CJR].
Boundary: A boundary is a separation between connecting elements.  In exploring maps, however, Wood highlights the arbitrary nature of boundaries.  First off, many different elements are used as a sign of a boundary: a fence, a desert, territorial decisions, etc..  Because of this, boundaries are social constructs that are mostly respected but oftentimes disputed due to different viewpoints [CJR].

Glossary Entry 4/3

Map: Wood and Fels refer to maps as “historically contingent sign systems” (1992). Maps work because they selectively represent interests from the past, and these interests are rhetorically bound and concentrated in class, gender, occupation, etc. [KP]

Wood, D., & Fels, J. (1992). The power of maps. Guilford Press.

Standpoint: In class, we differentiated perspective and standpoint. Perspective can be considered physically–it is an act of looking, an ocular operation. Standpoint, on the other hand, is formed by identity. Our standpoint is so innate to who we are that it is pre-cognitive. Barthes would find that standpoint lends itself to punctum, because punctum draws on our unique identities.

Barthes, R. (1981). Camera lucida: Reflections on photography. Macmillan.

Glossary 3/20

Perceptual Experience: Sousanis cites Alva Noe’s suggestion that perceptual experience is a way of encountering how thing are by making contact with how they appear to be (Sousanis, 73). Sousanis asserts that by being able to hold dual views of what something appears to be while recognizing other aspects of its appearance, we negotiate experience.

Derive: When speaking of how a person shifting the routes they take, rather than taking the same consistent path again and again, allows them to encounter different sights and make new connections, Sousanis mentions derive, which is a walk conceived of as a playful drifting rather than a goal-oriented journey (Susaanis, 112). Hence, shaking up our approaches and processes can help us avoid getting caught in a visual rut.

Glossary 3/20

Imagination: Nick Sousanis discusses imagination as a crucial to “unflattening” our perspectives. He claims, “[i]magination lets us exceed our inevitably limited point of view to find perspectives not in existence or dimensions not yet accessible” (Sousanis 88). When referring to the function of imagination, he continues, “[i]t is the imagination, Etienne Pelaprat and Michael Cole assert, that fills in the gaps and links fragments to create stable and single images that make it possible for us to think and to act” (Sousanis 90). Hence, imagination allows us to understand life from the perspectives of others.

Understanding: Regarding understanding, Sousanis explores it as the creation of meaning through the process of making connections between ideas, concepts, items, etc. Sousanis states, “[u]nderstanding, like seeing, is grasping this always in relation to that. Even as we hold and stitch distinct viewpoints together, the space between them doesn’t collapse—it’s not a process of closing, of being finished. Rather, each new engagement generates another vantage point from which to continue the process again” (150). This notion further expands and evolves the role of understanding. [MAP]

Glossary Terms: 3/13

Visual: Sousanis simplifies this term by comparing it with verbal modes, which “march along linearly, step by step, a discrete sequence of words” (59). He then goes on to say “the visual, on the other hand…presents itself all-at-once, simultaneous, all over, relational” (59). Rose takes this similar concept and discusses it throughout an entire book chapter, and finally settles on the idea that “visual imagery is never innocent; it is always constructed through various practices, technologies and knowledges” (32). [HD]

Flatness: Unflattening explores the concepts of flattening and unflattening throughout the book, but Sousanis immediately provides readers with what he means by flatness: “Like a great weight descending…suffocating and ossifying, flatness permeates the landscape. This flatness is not literal, no. It cloaks its true nature under a hyper-real facade…This is a flatness of slight, a construction of possibilities…where inhabitants conform to what Marcuse called ‘a pattern of one-dimensional thought and behavior’” (5-6). With this introduction, it is clear that Sousanis will further explore humans sometimes narrow view of the world and universe. [HD]

Glossary Terms 3/6

Task optimization: Drucker discusses task optimization in her chapter about interfaces. She describes how this concept is a mediation “between information structures and user needs” in the interface (Drucker 148). Based on Jakob Nielson’s work on web usability, scholars who work with interface come to know this term, however it is reductive in that it does not directly address humanistic design. [GMK]

Frame analysis: When explain interface theories, Drucker describes how frame analysis is different when looking at web interfaces as compared to print or film interfaces  (154-155). Frame analysis is “a schematic outline that formalizes certain basic principles of ways we process information into cognitive value or go from stimulus to cognition” (156). She also mentions that two basic conventions of frame analysis are spatial and dynamic relationships (157).

Glossary Terms (3/6)

Communicative Artifact: Foss explains that a communicative artifact of visual rhetoric is an actual image where visual symbols are used to communicate; it is the “product of the creative act” and, although not every visual object constitutes visual rhetoric, communicative artifacts encompass three main features – symbolic action, human intervention, and presence of audience (143, 144). [JS]

Rhetorical Perspective: Foss describes rhetorical perspective as a “critical-analytical tool or a way of approaching and analyzing visual data that highlights the communicative dimension of images” (145). Foss states that this theoretical perspective involves examination of the symbolic or communicative features of visual rhetoric. To successfully understand the possible effect a visual may have on an audience, a scholar must understand those communicative features – nature of the image, function of the image, and evaluation of the image (146). [JS]

Visual Rhetoric Glossary 2/26

 2/ 26  Glossary 

Inductive investigation of visual image is when scholars use visual imagery to explain theories formulated from the study of discourse. They begin with rhetorical hypothesis and theories and then they use them to guide them through the visual artifact. This approach assumes that visual images have the same characteristics that discourse/speech symbols have. [SK]

(Foss, Sonja K. “Theory of Visual Rhetoric.” Handbook of Visual Communication: theory. Mehtod, and Media. Eds. Ken Smith, Sandra Moriarty, Gretchen Barbatisis, and Keith Kenney, Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum. 2005. 141-52.)

Deductive investigation of visual image is the investigation of the features of visual image to generate rhetorical theory. Scholars in this approach begin with features of visual image to generate theories. Scholars in this approach believe that visual images are different than discursive/conversational symbols. [SK]

(Foss, Sonja K. “Theory of Visual Rhetoric.” Handbook of Visual Communication: theory. Mehtod, and Media. Eds. Ken Smith, Sandra Moriarty, Gretchen Barbatisis, and Keith Kenney, Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum. 2005. 141-52.)


Glossary Entries – 2/13

Visual epistemology “refers to ways of knowing that are presented and processed visually,” explained by Drucker (7). She notes that for the purpose of this book she will focus on representation and not cognition. She further explains that while “visual expressions of knowledge” are necessary for science disciplines, language-oriented disciplines have only scratched the surface (7).

Language of form “suggests a systematic approach to graphic expression as a means as well as an object of study,” described by Drucker (8). She goes on to state, “Most information visualizations are acts of interpretation masquerading as presentation. In other words, they are images that act as if they are just showing what is, but in actuality, they are arguments made in graphical form” (9).

Glossary Entries – 2/13

Information graphics: Most broadly, Drucker defines information graphics as “visualizations based on abstractions of statistical data” because, despite the final graphic form, information graphics originate from quantitative data sets (7). She further argues that these graphics are always interpretative since there is no innate correlation between visual form and graphic expression (7). [NW]
Graphical user interface (GUI): Drucker defines a graphical user interface as “the dominant feature of screens in all shapes and sizes” (8). These interfaces allow us to interact with information graphics of all sorts. Interface design shapes the way we construct knowledge, as well as our everyday behavior. [NW]