*Assignment for April 21 (Part 1)*

Please note that we will have a full Webex class session on April 14. (Spring Break is shortened because of the Recalibration Period.) You should complete the Roland Barthes reading and post your notes before the 14th.

The second short paper, is due on April 21, and there will also be two short texts to read for that class. I will assign the texts in class on the 14th. Please use the time until then to work on the paper and to research your Final Project.

PAPER
The second 2-3 page paper is a response to Roland Barthes’ Rhetoric of the Image. The objective for this paper is to analyze the rhetorical elements of a recent advertisement. Ideally, the ad should be from a print magazine.

The advertisement should use photographic imagery, and should include text. Begin by describing the image in as much detail as possible, examining the characteristics of the objects, models, environment, etc. pictured; and the layout, typography, interaction of picture elements, image quality and composition of the entire ad. Try to identify all of the signs at work in the image.

Make your best attempt to articulate the meaning of the image, using Barthes’ terms. What is the linguistic message? What are the non-coded iconic messages? What are the coded iconic messages? Identify the denotative and connotative aspects, the use of anchorage and relay, the semantic and lexical components, etc. Consider the effectiveness of the advertisers’ rhetoric, and the ideological metalanguage employed.

This response will be submitted as a 750-1000 word typewritten paper, double-spaced in 12 pt. Times New Roman. Include images of the advertisement under consideration and any other relevant illustrations. All references and quotations, including image sources should be properly cited in MLA format. Upload a PDF to a new Post on OpenLab before class on the 21st.

Another Quick Update

I hope everyone had a chance to look at my message (sent via OpenLab on the 27th at 12:24) regarding schedule updates. Please take a look if you haven’t had a chance yet.

Due to the Recalibration Period, there are no classes this week. But if you would like to work on your second 2-3 page paper, I’ll host a short Webex session tomorrow morning to discuss the Barthes reading and the paper. This is optional, but I hope it will be beneficial.

Please also note that we will have class on the 14th, as the timeline for Spring Break has been changed.

There will be a new post with details for the second paper tomorrow morning.

And if you’d like to review the agenda for the rest of the semester, our Syllabus Page has been updated to reflect these changes.

Be well!
Matt

Assignment for March 31 / April 14

Our reading for next week is Roland Barthes’ 1977 essay, Rhetoric of the Image. Here is the PDF: Barthes-Rhetoric-of-the-image

As you read, please make note of all important terms (ie. polysemy, linguistic sign, connoted, denoted, etc.), especially if their meaning is unclear.  Also note important points that you don’t completely follow. And record a list of questions you have concerning the essay. Drop these notes into a post; this will be your written submission for the week. (It does not need to be structured or organized into neat paragraphs.)

The second 2-3 page paper will be a response to this article, and will be due on April 21. In this paper, you’ll critically examine a contemporary advertising image in a manner similar to Barthes’ approach. You will be expected to employ the logic and terminology that Barthes uses in this text. (In other words, this is an important reading!)

Please also consider the advertisement that you would like to address for your essay. It should be an advertisement organized around a single photograph. A full page print ad is preferable.

As you may have seen in my message from last week, I will also hold an optional online session on March 31 from 8:30-9:30 to briefly review this text, and to talk about ideas for the paper. I hope this will be a good opportunity to get ahead on your paper. Please log in if you can!

Please email: Online Class Sessions

Hi Everyone – the following is the same as an email you should have received on Thurs. Mar. 19. Reposting here to confirm that everyone has received and replied.

I wanted to provide you with an update for Tuesday, and ask you to reply with a little bit of info.

First the update: CUNY ended up brokering a deal with CISCO WEBEX to host our online class sessions. There has been a little bit of back-and-forth concerning the platform we’d use, and I apologize if you’ve spent time familiarizing yourself with Zoom. I know that some instructors are also using other platforms. But WEBEX is the platform that is now the standard for CUNY, and we’ll stick with it. Plus it seems like there is some really solid, intuitive functionality, not to mention a reliable APP that will allow you to log on from a mobile device.

You should have just received an invitation to join next Tuesday morning’s meeting via Cisco WebEx.

This leads to the Request for Reply: Please send me an email to mlange@citytech.cuny.edu as soon as you can, including the following:
– confirmation that you received the meeting notification from WebEx
– confirmation that you can attend this Tuesday’s class, or if not, please let me know
– the device that you plan to use to log in, ie. phone, tablet, laptop, desktop, etc.
– any questions, concerns, issues you’re encountering

We want to make sure everyone is properly equipped to participate in these online classes. If you’re at all worried about your capacity to log in for class, please let me know. The department may have some devices available if that is an issue, and we are gauging the need for computer labs if absolutely necessary.

Looking forward to hearing back from everyone.

Assignment for March 24

Please keep the posts coming everyone. They are looking really good. And, again, please keep an eye out for details concerning next week’s lecture. We’ll catch up on the McLuhan Reading and we’ll discuss the next reading, which is a 1969 article by Arnold M. Barban entitled The Dilemma of “Integrated” Advertising.

Here is a PDF: Barban_DilemmaOfIntegratedAdvertising

This article is something of a technical paper, written for ad executives and media strategists. You’ll notice that the terminology is, to say the least, out-of-date. While reading this we might consider the ways that language, tone and biases effect different aspects of advertising.

Your post for this reading will be a little different. Instead of writing 3-4 paragraphs, please identify and document 3-4 advertisements in recent magazines, web pages, posters, billboards, etc. where race, ethnicity, gender or cultural identity play a role in shaping a brand’s message.

Note that identity and race can be used in a seemingly positive, embracing way, or in a cynical, pandering manner; or it may be difficult to tell. The most interesting ads are probably the most nuanced.

Please also use ads that you encounter this week, after completing the reading. We’ve all seen some of the widely publicized missteps from companies such as H&M, Dove, Sony, etc. …these are all very obvious.

Post snapshots, rough scans or screenshots of your selected ads to OpenLab with short captions describing the image and the source from which the image was found. If you’re looking in a magazine, tear out the pages and keep them in your journal.

And, as always, remain healthy and cautious this week, and please let me know if you have any questions. I’m happy to chat online.

 

UPDATE: Distance Learning

Class,

First of all, I hope everyone is healthy, safe, remaining calm, and following recommendations to stay out of harm’s way. These are obviously uncertain times, but I sincerely believe that if we navigate them carefully and thoughtfully we will emerge from them stronger and better than before.

We could make a long list of DO’s and DONT’s concerning how to act and what to believe, and we should all be considering that list. But for the sake of this post,  I will just say please DO keep checking updates from the school, and please DO keep checking back to this OpenLab page for updates specific to our course.

We are all improvising here. That means there may be some delays, changes, and variations to the course. The first of which is that we can expect to not meet in person for the remainder of the semester. This is particularly troubling to me, as our classroom conversations are one of my favorite parts of teaching the course. But I am, like all of your instructors, developing a path forward that will still incorporate our conversations, though in a slightly altered form.

I will continue to update you via this site as that path is developed. For now here are some pertinent items:
– Classes are suspended this week, including Tuesday March 17.
– We will resume classes next week, March 24, as an online meeting.
– Plan to log-in to our next classroom session at 8:30am on Tuesday, March 24. We will plan to use Zoom to conference in. I will create a new post with full details in the coming days.
– Stay on track with your assignments. We are going to continue to follow the syllabus. Your response to the McLuhan reading is still due on the 17th, and the reading for the 24th will be posted on Tuesday morning.
– Please let me know if you have any questions or immediate concerns. Email me: mlange@citytech.cuny.edu, comment on this post, or send a message through OpenLab.

Again, I’ll be posting more updates soon. Until then, be well, be cautious and be calm. Let me know if there is anything more I can offer or share.

Matt

 

 

Assignment for March 17

Our next reading will be a couple excerpts from Marshall McLuhan’s influential 1964 book Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man.

We’ll read the Introduction, Chapter 1 and Chapter 7, all of which are included in the attached PDF: McLuhan_UnderstandingMedia_exc

Please consider the following questions, then as per our usual, write 3-4 paragraphs considering related ideas:
In Understanding Media, Marshall McLuhan describes technology and media as “extensions of man.” How do media extend human beings, or humanity in general? What hazards might technological progress bring for individuals and society in the “electric age” or in the current age? If “the medium is the message,” what role can artists and designers play in creating new ideas?

Extra Credit Option:
Instead of this text, you may read Marshall McLuhan and Quentin Fiore’s experimental book, The Medium is the Massage. You must obtain a hard copy of this book, as the layout is a critical piece of the text. If you choose to read this option, please consider and answer the same set of questions.

Assignment for March 10

Our next reading assignment includes 3 short texts from designers who employed rational, systematic methods in their work. They are as follows:

Jan Tschichold, The New Typography (1928): Tschichold_NewTypo

Karl Gerstner, Designing Programmes (1964): Gerstner_DesigningProgrammes

Josef Müller-Brockmann, Grid and Design Philosophy (1981):  MullerBrockmann_Grid_Des-Phil

Here is this week’s question:
According to Jan Tschichold, Karl Gerstner, and Josef Müller-Brockmann, How should one design?

(Remember, you can answer with 3-4 paragraphs, as per usual, or you can use some of the visual-linguistic ideas discussed in class, or outlined in these readings, to design your answer in a jpeg or pdf file.)

*Assignment for March 3*

While our readings for next are similar to those of the past couple of weeks, the written portion will be the first of the two longer responses to be completed during the semester.

The readings are as follows:

Beatrice Warde, The Crystal Goblet, or Why Printing Should be Invisible (1930): Warde_CrystalGoblet

A selection from György Kepes’ Language of Vision: Painting, Photography, Advertising-Design: Kepes_Language_of_Vision_exc

Requirements for the written portion are included below. Note that you do not need to address this week’s texts in the paper if they are not directly relevant to your topic, but you must be prepared to discuss them in class on the 3rd.

First Paper
Select a design or design object created after 1969 in which the influence of the theories considered thus far can be seen. Begin with a brief description of the object, the designer who created it, and the historical circumstances under which it was made. Considering these factors, examine the ways in which the creator was responding, directly or indirectly, to theories related to linguistics or semiology, avant-garde art movements or Gestalt psychology (ie. any of the ideas that we’ve covered). Discuss the manner in which the design you’ve chosen embodies these theories. Provide direct references to relevant passages from our readings. Locate additional writings using library resources to substantiate your comparisons.

Your goal is ultimately to provide a critical examination, not an account of historical details.

This response will be a 750-1000 word typewritten paper, double-spaced in 12 pt. Times New Roman, printed and submitted at the start of class on the 3rd. Include images of the work under consideration and any other relevant illustrations. Cite all materials researched for historical context, any related writings, and image sources. All sources, references and quotations should be cited in MLA format.

 

Assignment for February 25

Our next reading assignment is 3 short texts from architects/designers/artists affiliated with the Bauhaus. They are as follows:

Walter Gropius; The Theory and Organization of the Bauhaus (1923): Gropius_Bauhaus

László Moholy-Nagy; Typophoto (1925): MoholyNagy_Typophoto

Herbert Bayer; On Typography (1967): Bayer_OnTypography

Here are some ideas and questions you might consider while reading these texts:
Walter Gropius, László Moholy-Nagy, and Herbert Bayer all played critical roles in defining the aesthetics and ideas of the Bauhaus. According to them, what key elements are lacking in art of the past? What is necessary for making art in the future? What should education or “the academy” teach artists about their field? Which of these ideas continue to be important for 21st century art and design?

_______________________________
Please also remember that your first 2-3 page paper is due due on March 3. You are strongly encouraged to begin thinking about, if not actively working on, this assignment. The question and requirements are as follows:

First Paper – Due March 3
Select a design or design object created after 1969 in which the influence of the theories considered thus far can be seen. Begin with a brief description of the object, the designer who created it, and the historical circumstances under which it was made. Considering these factors, examine the ways in which the creator was responding, directly or indirectly, to theories related to linguistics or semiology, avant-garde art movements or Gestalt psychology (ie. any of the ideas that we’ve covered). Discuss the manner in which the design you’ve chosen embodies these theories. Provide direct references to relevant passages from our readings. Locate additional writings using library resources to substantiate your comparisons.

Your goal is ultimately to provide a critical examination, not an account of historical details.

This response will be submitted as a 750-1000 word typewritten paper, double-spaced in 12 pt. Times New Roman. Include images of the work under consideration and any other relevant illustrations. Cite all materials researched for historical context, any related writings, and image sources. All sources, references and quotations should be cited in MLA format.