Reading Question 3/20

Sousanis discusses several dimensions in his text, and at this point, we arrive at the fifth dimension. These frames illustrate that from the same mind that creates dimensions, it also limits them by our habits (111). Advocating for “plasticity,” we need to lessen our habitual tendencies or learn flexibility. What I am struggling to grasp is then why Sousanis chooses to illustrate/write a graphical book. What do we need to re-learn or be more flexible on in order to comprehend more opportunities than a book for composition? At what point do we stop forming habits?

Brooke Notes: 3/20

Citation

Sousanis, Nick. Unflattening. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2015.

Keywords

perspective, imagination, self-awareness, viewpoint, seeing, constraints

Summary

Our imagination fills the gaps in our understanding. Our understanding of new things relies on what we know. Awareness of what we know allows us to venture into the unknown. The unknown is sought to feed our imagination.

Works Cited

Aiken, Nancy E. The Biological Origins of Art. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1998.

Latour, Bruno. Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.

Moore, Alan. Watchmen. Illustrations and lettering by Dave Gibbons. Colorist John Higgins. New York: DC Comics, 1987.

Quotations

“When ideas are written in stone with the certainty that we got it right, we risk following without reflection” (110).

“Through repetition over time, we become proficient. Forming habits is essential so we do not have to relearn every activity continually” (111).

“To set ourselves free, we can’t simply cut our bonds. For to remove them (if we could) would only set us adrift, detached from the very things that make us who we are” (134).

Questions

What is the significance of restraints in relationship to developing an identity?

Glossary 2/6

Affordances: Wysocki actually makes a point of not defining affordances so statically (as she (foot)notes), but writes “ Such images can appear to be moments pulled out of sequential time because we can apparently see what is in the image all at once, given the angles of vision afforded by our human eyes and, importantly, given the particularly designed compositions of many such objects” (48). This gets at the capacity of this visual mode, but keeps the term located within the communication context instead of within the mode as a whole. Wysocki acknowledges that affordances have been discussed as fixed properties, but also that this is a slippery term. She writes, “I have tried with purpose in this paper to use terms like ‘constraint’ and even ‘convention’ that (I hope) are less fixed in our language practices, to hold onto the messiness of how we live with things that both resist and work with us and to hold on…” (60). [TP]

Social Practices/Contexts: Wysocki discusses how the constraints or affordances of visual compositions are located within their social or historical contexts. “[T]o ask after the constraints as we teach or compose can help us understand how material choices in producing communications articulate to social practices we may not otherwise wish to reproduce” (56). She connects the choices made within teaching and composing contexts to these broader social environments that are then reproduced within those contexts. [TP]

Big Ideas (2/6)

As with water, constraints of communication materials are often social and historical (Wysocki 56);

What is unavailable in these images? How does a social and historical context inform them? What are we asking of the audience when presenting them? Sometimes an image can be a record of a precise moment in history, yet without knowledge of that history, it loses much of its significance. Even a computer generated logo has the ability to engage in a complex discussion of the social. But as with words, a language must be shared among the audience in order to elicit the desired response.

An image calls for words, and words produce images; they cannot be separated.

Bibliography Entries – 2/6

Kress, G. (2005). Gains and losses: New forms of texts, knowledge, and learning. Computers and Composition, 22(1), 5-22. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.compcom.2004.12.004

This source, which is the primary text that Wysocki is responding to, is accessible through Google Scholar. Kress explores what can be gained (affordances) and lost when we shift communicative representation away from writing, and toward materiality, images, digital media, and other non-traditional forms of communication. He also discusses how these shifts toward design can impact learning, forms of reading, knowledge, and human agency. [NW]

 

Saenger, P. (1997). Space between words: The origins of silent reading. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

This book, which Wysocki references in her discussion of space, is accessible through Google Books. Saenger documents the history and process of how reading–which was originally an oral activity–has become a silent activity due to writing and the written space between words. The space on pages (which makes reading a silent activity) originates from and continues to shape how we comprehend words and reading. [NW]

 

New London Group. (1996). A pedagogy of multiliteracies: Designing social futures. Harvard Educational Review, 66(1), 60-92. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.17763/haer.66.1.17370n67v22j160u

This article, which I’ve heard framed as a foundational text for multimodality (and has been cited in several of our readings already), is accessible through Google Scholar. The New London Group argue that we need a broader understanding of literacy–one that encompasses the multiple communication channels students use daily. They argue that embracing a multiliteracy / multimodal pedagogy can empower students to design and shape their social futures.  [NW]

 

Ball, C. (2012). Assessing scholarly multimedia: A rhetorical genre studies approach. Technical Communication Quarterly, 21(1), 61-77. Doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10572252.2012.626390

Per our conversation about assessing visual texts, this article, which is accessible through Cheryl Ball’s website, might be helpful. Ball outlines what scholarly multimedia texts are–what they look like–and recommends that teachers invite their students to help generate assessment criteria with which their work can be assessed. She also argues that when assessing multimedia work, the content and form cannot be separated from the text’s rhetorical purpose. [NW]

 

Norman, D. Affordances and design. Retrieved from http://www.jnd.org/dn.mss/affordances_and.html

This source, which was listed in Wysocki’s works cited page, explores Norman’s concept of affordance. He explains that the term affordance has gained traction with design work, but the concept of perceived affordance raises important questions about physical and cultural constraints. Norman also argues that we can be well served by thinking about affordances relationships between various design elements/stakeholders. [NW]