Friday, September 12, 2014

A Nebulous Design

In this project, I will be using a combination of text and images to achieve my purpose. For my pictures, I have considered using natural objects which are easily accessible, such as fruit, so that I may denaturalize them (illustrating the artificiality of their representation, and/or the relative arbitrariness of their categorization), thus jarring my audience and evoking thought. I have also thought about the potential uses of light and shadow. The “natural light of reason” is an allusion to Descartes that I could use to demonstrate the necessarily perspectival element of knowledge (the “light,” after all, belongs to an individualized consciousness in a particular locale). Darkness naturally lends itself as a symbol of ignorance and of the unconscious (those seemingly uncontrollable elements which seep into one’s communication). Focusing on photography, I will, in at least one instance, use both my laptop’s webcam and a camera to capture the same shot in order to isolate the influence of the medium.

I hope to establish an ethos that is authoritative yet relatable; that is, I would like to exhibit my knowledge without coming across as pedantic. I must try to raise serious academic questions in a lighter, more playful manner through images that will be intriguing but not frustratingly difficult (for I do not have the space to explain all the minutiae, as much as I would like to). Accordingly, In regard to typeface, I will select a font which is neither too ornate nor too dull, but elegant and at least semi-formal.

I would like my pathos to be bizarre and disorienting, to challenge any complacency. I might do a tribute to Magritte’s “The Treachery of Images.” However, this might be off-putting unless there is some levity. Humor could be used to bring philosophy down from the infamous “ivory tower;” for the audience, unfamiliar with the jargon, would not yet be able to participate in or critique that type of discourse.

My logos will follow this pattern: in the beginning, I will emphasize divergent perspectives; at the end, in order to refute the idea that the only possible conclusion is relativism, I will suggest the complementarity of differing viewpoints (hence perspectivism). Thus, I could properly denounce dogmatism by refuting both extreme fundamentalism as well as skepticism, while simultaneously providing an array of perspectives and insights that the audience could examine themselves. A second possible strategy I may use will involve the use of a secondary language—French—to challenge the idea that there is a 1:1 correspondence between words and objects (words possess different values in different languages). A third approach I’m considering would be to invert the visual hierarchy endemic to the West by presenting text and images in order from right to left, bottom to top.

I will have a title slide, a beginning slide which will contain the narrative, and a more extensive concluding slide to summarize. Because I’m trying to introduce a different perspective, I might do well (in the body of my essay) to juxtapose two pictures on some slides. I could present one ordinary image, and then a second which undermines its “ordinariness.” Still, I will want some (purposeful) variation. A group of three photos could be used to both introduce the notion of negative differentiation and suggest the limitations of dualism (Truth, especially God, must transcend opposites, which are inextricable from the phenomenal flux and necessarily interdependent, whereas Truth/God must be supra-historical and independent). Yet another alternative would be to use one frame which contains multiple images, to express the self-referentiality of signs (apparent in the irreducibility of linguistic signs to images and vice versa).

Testing will occur between my classmates and me. This will help show if my conclusions coherently follow the narrative produced by the images, or if I need to elaborate on certain points; if my piece is leading others to reflect or is simply confusing them. 

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