Stop-Draw 3/13

Hello everybody!

So my stop-draw was made specifically with the class in mind, so I changed it.  Let’s see how it goes.

In Unflattening, Sousanis discusses the interplay between text and image, especially with regards to comics.  It reminded me of how often it is in the comic book industry for writers to dictate what is drawn, and for artists to dictate what is written.

Stop-draw prompt- the first person who responds to this post comes up with a caption for the picture below.  The next person draws a picture based on the first person’s caption.  The person after that makes a caption for that picture, etc…

Stop-Write 2/13

Dillard describes her failing drawing compared to her family’s successful portrayals as a lack of being able to see the “artificial obvious.”  She explains that “The point is that I just don’t know what the lover knows; I just can’t see the artificial obvious that those in the know construct” (Dillard 3). Her family seems to understand the artificial obvious, whereas she was unable to identify it while drawing her “lame” horse.
What is the artificial obvious? How does one recognize or construct it on a daily basis?

Bibliography 2/12

I searched Google Scholar for Graphesis by Johanna Drucker and noticed that the book has been cited 68 times. I  read over a couple of them for Bibliography assignment.

Bowen, T., & Evans, M. M. (2015). What does knowledge look like? Drawing as a means of knowledge representation and knowledge construction. Education for Information, 31(1, 2), 53-72.

I found this book by searching Google Scholar for the works that cited Graphesis. People believe that complex and abstract concepts should be in writing or spoken language but authors have done a study on individuals’ drawings and noticed that visuals explain abstract concepts better. “Drawing is a form of knowledge production that can be used to support learning and further understanding complex or abstract concepts through the production of shared graphic objects and symbols”. [SK]

Drucker, J. (2001). Digital ontologies: The ideality of form in/and code storage: Or: Can graphesis challenge mathesis? Leonardo, 34(2), 141-145. doi:10.1162/002409401750184708

I found this article very interesting as they said digital media achieve authority in American culture because of its function in mathematics. “Since the history of images within Western culture is fraught with charges of deception and illusion, the question arises whether the ontological condition of the digital image, its very existence and identity, challenges this tradition. Or, by contrast, does the material instantiation of images, in their display or output, challenge the truth claims of the mathematically based digital file?”[SK]

Burdick, A. (2015). Meta!meta!meta!: A speculative design brief for the digital humanities. Visible Language, 49(3), 13

Burdick suggests a design approach to combine core concepts from critical theory with “design’s speculative inventiveness” and named it to three Meta processes approach (Meta of critical interpretation, the Meta of speculative reflexive design and the Meta of subject-computer-interface) to begins core humanities concepts with future digital humanities tools. [SK]

Lehman, Barbara. (2015). Visual Literacy and Education: Seeing the World Meets Critical Thinking. UCLA: Education 0249. Retrieved from

This article stressed on the demand of being visually literate in the culture dominated by images and called it a media culture. Lehman suggests a foundational approach to teaching the basics of visual literacy and she emphasizes on “seeing” as an active not passive activity. [SK]

Bowen, T. Introduction: Visual Literacy and Creative Engagements across the Global Village.

It is just 4 pages of an introduction of a book that I found in my Google Scholar research for Graphesis. Tracy Bowen says that visual literacy must be global but visual literacy is both contextual and political.  She states that “ an individual’s visual literacy is informed by the cultural codes, inclusion, exclusions and biases that we have come to live by”. [SK]

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.

Brooke Notes (2/6)

awaywithwords: On the possibilities in unavailable designs

Wysocki, A. F. (2005). awaywithwords: On the possibilities in unavailable designs. Computers and Composition, 22, 55-62.


  • Affordances
  • Image
  • Space
  • Visual Rhetoric
  • Word

In her article, Wysocki begins with the assumption that words and images are not necessarily bound logically and respectively with space and time. To frame this, she uses the example of water, stating that our early ancestors would not use water to attack a mammoth. This view of water, however, changes as we acquire the technology to pressurize and, by extension, acquire the capacity to weaponize water. Wysocki utilizes the varied use of water “as an analogy for the materials we use in building communications” (56). She then invokes Gunther Kress’ notion that we must consider social and cultural context, purpose, audience, along with communication strategy and materials when designing communication materials, but pushes this idea further by examining the material constraints, why they are constraints, and why those particular constraints are imposed.

The first constraint Wysocki addresses is the use of space between words, which became prevalent when texts moved from social contexts to individual arenas. She references Paul Saenger’s idea that “how we use space on pages affects how we read and understand,” and, further, affects “how we understand what words, texts, and reading are” (57). Additionally, Wysocki references Susan Howe’s proposal that the act of editing texts that restricts punctuation and unconventional spacing mirrors an American desire to tame wilderness, be that wilderness be specific or metaphoric. This notion can also be applied to space in paper margins or the design of a book layout. Wysoki claims, in order to help students question these ideas about how we have come to understand the use of words and space, the conventions of which are largely unquestioned.

Wysocki returns to Kress’ discussion, pointing out that, by accepting his position of word governance as temporal and sequential, it is no surprise that he takes images as holding opposing qualities from words – that of spatial and simultaneous logic. Wysocki argues this point by explaining W.J.T. Mitchell’s position that “we should acknowledge that when we work with what is on pages or other surfaces, alphabetic text is always part of what must be visually arranged “ (58). Additionally, Wysocki posits that images exceed logics of space and can evoke a sense of time – both in the sense that particular elements in an image are arranged to invite ordering, and in the sense that “temporal strategies of composition are very much present even in images that we can apparently perceive all at once” (58). Regardless, Wysocki believes that we cannot simply impose Kress’ definition of “image” to “word,” as this would restrain it to the very constraints we are questioning.

To sum up the paper, Wysocki juxtaposes two medias – that of a tattoo and that of a film – to explain how their uses of time and space (and by extension, their social functions and interpretations), are quite different. Thus, to use a term, such as “image,” to classify objects functioning “in opposition to word is thus either to make an arbitrary cut into the world of designed visual objects or to try to encompass a class so large the encompassing term loses function” (59). Wysocki ends by a call to action – encouraging her readers to see beyond the commonly accepted constraints of “words” and “images” – to try new practices and conventions and to expand what is possible in communication materials.

Works Cited
Haraway, D. (1991). Simians, cyborgs, and Women: The reinvention of nature.   New York: Routledge.

Kress, G. & van Leeuwen, T. (1996). Reading images: The grammar of visual design. London: Routledge.

The New London Group. (2000). A pedagogy of multiliteracies: Designing social futures. In Bill Cope & Mary Kalantzis (Eds.), Multiliteracies: Literacy learning and the design of social futures (9-37). London: Routledge.


  • “If how we conceive of water is inseparable from place and time, how can our communication materials, for which we can make no similar claim to naturalness as we can with water, be otherwise?” (56)
  • “If we are to help people in our classes learn how to compose texts that function as they hope, they need consider how they use the spaces and not just one time that can be shaped on pages. They also need to question how they have come to understand the spaces of pages so that they can, if need be, use different spaces, potentially powerful spaces that… have been rendered unavailable by naturalized, unquestioned practice.” (57)
  • “If human practices do entwine, as I have been arguing, to the extent that the spacing of lettershapes on a piece of paper reflects and helps continue unquestioned restrictions on behavior or that a habit of understanding words and images as opposites reflects and helps continue beliefs about relations between men and women, then it is possible that trying new spaces on pages or exploring the visuality of alphabetic text can be seeds for changes in such practices and beliefs. But we can only do this if we look beyond what appear to be constraints.” (59)


  • It seems as though Wysocki directs her attention ONLY to the visual aspects of any of her given examples and it makes me wonder – in some mediums, such as film, can we study the “visual” separate from other sensory inputs, such as auditory, tactile (specifically eating popcorn when going to a movie), and olfaction (the “smells” of the movie theatre experience), etc.?
  • At what point would not following conventions – or breaking through constraints – be counterproductive to getting the idea or message across to our audience?Does the audience first need to accept that a constraint need be broken?
  • Are there any scholars who have begun tackling the use of visuals, space, and time in the world of virtual reality?

Reading Questions 2/6

In her article, Wysocki refers to different types of materials that can be used in building communication and one of them is using space, “The Spaces of pages can also articulate with our larger sense of the spaces within which we read” (57). “We speaks of the various kinds of space we can use shape alphabetic text, then we speak of the tops and bottoms of pages, and of the left and right, and the placement of textual elements” (57). She emphasizes on the arrangement of alphabetic text in sending powerful messages by relying on the logic of space. She also called the SPACE between words as “Potentially Powerful Spaces”. The question is what should be categorized as powerful spaces and Not powerful spaces?  “In this social and cultural environment, with these demands for communication of these materials, for that audience, with these resources, and given these interests of mine, what is the design which best meets these requirements?” (56).  Is the best design to encourage rhetorical focus in our teaching rooted to the culture of our society?

I saw this poster at work and was wondering if the artist has used any potential powerful spaces to send his/her message!

Glossary Terms: 2/6

Image: While Andrew defined this word last week, Lynda Barry touched on this word again in the last half of Syllabus, and Anne Wysocki also discussed it in “awaywithwords.” On page 126 of Syllabus, Barry wrote that “images are not what anyone thinks about them. They have no fixed meaning.” She also wrote a question/answer at the bottom of the page: “What happens to a picture because of what we think? Nothing” (126). Wysocki points out that we use the word “image” to name a group too large, which makes us “miss [the objects’] widely varying compositional potentials”: “To use image to name some class of objects that function in opposition to word is thus either to make an arbitrary cut into the world of designed visual objects or to try to encompass a class so large the encompassing term loses function” (59). [HD]
Unavailable designs: Anne Wysocki most clearly defines this phrase in the notes of her 2005 article, “awaywithwords,” as a notion that encourages “us to explore unconventional or outsider designs, which might allow of richer transformation–as long as we figure out strategies for helping audiences understand why we do such experimenting” (60). [HD]

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:

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:

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:

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

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]

Stop Write – 1/30

We seem to live in a world where math, science, and “practical” knowledge are valued, and the humanities–the arts–are not. Yet, Barry talks about art, and the arts more broadly, as an essence that lives and transcends. Consider the following passage from Syllabus:

“There is something common to everything we call the arts… This ancient ‘it’ is something I call ‘an image.’ By image I don’t mean a visual representation, I mean something that is more like a ghost than a picture; something which feels somehow alive, has no fixed meaning and is contained and transported by something that is not alive- a book, a song, a painting–anything we call an ‘art form’” (15).

In the time remaining, respond to at least one of the questions below:

  • What does Barry’s explanation mean to you?
  • How might you differently describe the “it” that is present in the arts/humanities?
  • What do Barry’s and/or your explanation say about how we ought to value the arts/humanities?
  • Can you name and describe an example of Barry’s ‘image’ concept that is representative of her (or your) description?
  • How is Barry’s understanding of ‘an image’ similar to or different from an idea?

Reading Question

“This ancient ‘it’ is something I call ‘an image.’ By image I don’t mean a visual representation, I mean something that is more like a ghost than a picture; something which feels somehow alive, has no fixed meaning and is contained and transported by something that is not alive- a book, a son, a painting–anything we call an ‘art form’” (15).

–Lynda Barry, Syllabus


Barthes writes in Camera Lucida that punctum makes a photo more than a visual representation. In this passage, Barry seems to be referring to a similar phenomenon, but with an image. Since the referent of a drawing is not the same as the referent of a photograph, how would you describe its transference? What makes an image an image, and not merely a visual representation?