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Visual Essays

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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Soka University Japan - Transcend Art and Peace
Created: September 20, 2003
Latest Update: September 23, 2003

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takata@uwp.edu

Index of Topics on Site Visual Essay Project: Fall 2003

Site Copyright: Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata and Individual Authors, September 2003.
"Fair use" encouraged.

Proposal for Fall 2003 Project:

In most photographic and video essays the subject photographed has little to do with the planning of the photographs, and less to say about their presentation. During the Fall Semester of 2003, we organized a research team to design a participatory photographic essay and a participatory video essay that would permit us to share a planning voice with the subjects.

Topic: Answerability in interpersonal transactions, as those transactions lead to the aesthetic production of community, preferably within an institution or organization..

Methodology: Shared discussion at CSUDH and UWP across classes related to this website on sample selection and methods preparation.

Sample at both UWP and CSUDH of students from Dear Habermas classes who are will put together either a visual essay or video on creating a climate of answerability in an institution of higher learning. We need to think about how we'll show that through photos or art work, and/or hopefully music to accompany the essay presentations.

Although I would expect us to work in groups, this project could include essays done individually. I presently envision that any number of small grooups will take responsibility for an essay, and that these essays collectively will make up the overall presentation. That would seem to fit with the concept of answerability as described by Bakhtin (as explained by Greg Nielsen).

  • Determine how we think answerability can be illustrated visually. For example, a person of title, sitting behind a desk, in an infrastructure that shows some icons of authority, like professional books and papers, name plates, receptionist, physical barriers like counters, etc. might illustrate the monologic non-answerability of heirarchical organization. Sometimes the signs posted help. We'll spend the next week or so being as creative as we can about visualizing answerability, and its icons.

    Consider, for example, my interpretation of answerability in hierarchical organizations Dialogic Answerability in the Hierarchical Institution:

    jeanne's interpretation of dialogic answerability in a hierarchical institution.

    and Quan Banks' interpretation of what he saw in that drawing.

  • We'll want to choose our tools, camera, pen, camcorder, paint brush, bits for a sculpture or collage. Or you may wish to work with more than one. This is about aesthetic process, so you shouldn't feel constrained about your choice of medium.

    We'll want to bring in samples of our visual work for all to share with us, and for discussions, so that each voice is heard at the planning stage.

    I would like to share all the essays digitally. I may have to learn some to do that, and so may you, but I'd prefer that if we can do it.

    Pat and jeanne will share in their planning of what kinds of visual essays they'll bring back from Cuba.

    We'll share in the preparation of the final composite essay, through class discussions, through digitalizing the results, through e-mail and every other tool available to us.

    We'll submit the final composite for presentation at a professional meeting next Spring and/or Fall, depending on how much material we have, and how quickly we can learn to present it.