A/V Analysis

One of our main goals throughout the semester is to practice analysis, a critical method for offering insight into the texts we read and how they work. This assignment asks you to produce an analysis that draws on concepts we have discussed and texts we have read in our A/V unit and applies them to an A/V artifact (an image, a video, a podcast, a meme, a mashup or remix, a YouTube celebrity, etc.). Your analysis should be 700-1000 words, make substantial use of at least one of our class readings, analyze an A/V artifact, be posted on your class website, and address one of the following prompts.

  • Aaron Bady’s discussion of commercials helps us attend to the role of ideology in A/V culture. Drawing on Bady and our class discussions about ideology, analyze a particular A/V artifact in terms of how it embodies, addresses, or critiques a particular ideology. What ideology does it embody or address (how would you describe the ideology)? How does it embody this ideology (what specific details from the text help us see this ideology at work)? How does this understanding of ideology fit into our larger culture (how does the text relate to or comment on a broader social and cultural context)?
  • Jerry Saltz’s analysis of photographs taken of an assassination takes up questions of the relationship between images and reality. Drawing on Saltz and our class discussions about hyperreality, analyze a particular A/V artifact in terms of how it embodies a particular understanding of reality, how it challenges or confuses our understanding of reality, and/or how it presents an alternate reality. What sort of reality does it embody or present (how would you describe its sense of reality)? How does it embody this sense of reality (what specific details from the text help us see this sense of reality at work)? How does this understanding of reality fit into our larger culture (how does this sense of reality relate to or comment on a broader social and cultural reality)?
  • Jennifer Roberts’s discussion of art helps us attend to questions of attention and patience. Drawing on Roberts and the thinking behind our Art Analysis assignment, analyze a particular A/V artifact in terms of how it shapes our attention or comments on attention and the pacing of our contemporary world. If you are focusing on how the artifact shapes our attention, address the following sorts of questions: Does the artifact ask for deep attention or surface level attention? How so (note specific details)? How does our understanding of the artifact change depending on how much attention we give it? How does the artifact compare to other texts in terms of how it shapes our attention? If you are focusing on how the artifact comments on attention and pacing, address the following sorts of questions: How does the text shape our understanding of or comment on the attention we give things and the pacing of our experience? What details from the text communicate this understanding? How does this understanding of attention and pacing compare to our normal lived experience, to the attention we normally give things and to the normal pace of our days?
  • Ridolfo and DeVoss take up remix as both a specific cultural practice and as a broader condition of all creativity. Drawing on Ridolfo and DeVoss and our class conversations about remix, analyze a particular A/V artifact in terms of how it participates in remix culture or otherwise remixes various other cultural texts and ideas. What is the purpose or message or effect of the text (what does it achieve or communicate)? What specific texts and ideas are being remixed (what are the source texts) and how do they contribute to the purpose or message? How does this text fit into a larger cultural context (how does the text contribute to a larger cultural conversation)?

Grading

This assignment will count as a short assignment, but it can also contribute to your A/V Project grade.

  • A. The analysis is excellent. It offers a close reading of one or more of our class readings and an A/V artifact in a way that addresses the prompt and adds new insights to our understanding of the reading and/or the artifact. This grade earns you credit for the short assignment and 5 bonus points on the Social Media Project grade.
  • B. The analysis is good. It offers a close reading of one or more of our class readings and an A/V artifact in a way that satisfactorily addresses the prompt. This grade earns you credit for the short assignment and 3 bonus points on the Social Media Project grade.
  • C. The analysis is acceptable. It shows some engagement with one or more of our class readings and an A/V artifact and attempts to address the prompt. This grade earns you credit for the short assignment.
  • D. This analysis fails to address the assignment. It might be too short or fail to effectively address our class readings and/or the prompt. This grade translates into an incomplete on the short assignment.