This short assignment (minimum 800 words, posted on your website) asks you to analyze a digital A/V text. Your choice of text can go in a number of directions. For example, you could focus on something more artistic or experimental, such as the videos we looked at from Basinski and Arcangel (here and here). You could look at a mashup, such as the wildfire/Blade Runner video, or a bad lip-reading video. You could look at texts that use editing techniques to create a particular effect (see examples here and here). You could focus on a text that is only audio or visual, such as a podcast or generative art or memes or something from Instagram, Snapchat, or TikTok. Any digital A/V text will likely work for our purposes.
For our analysis, we want to practice the sort of immersive observation and attention described by Roberts. That is, we want to study our A/V texts at length, with patience, to see what we notice about them through extended observation. We are aiming to gain insight into how digital A/V texts work, what forms of expression they make available, how they can affect us as viewers and listeners. Toward this end, your writing should address some combination of the following prompts and questions:
- Be mindful of how we can draw on the terms and concept from Writer/Designer. What is the purpose of this text? What contexts are relevant to our understanding of it? How might different audiences respond to the text?
- We can also focus on specific design choices. When observing the A/V text, what details do you notice? What specific things do you see and hear? What is the significance of these details? How do they shape your understanding of the text? How do they affect your experience of it? How do they shape its meaning? Recall some of our key terms from Writer/Designer: modes, media, affordances, design choices related to emphasis, contrast, color, organization, alignment, and proximity.
- Orient yourself toward the text in different ways. Focus on its social meaning, how it responds to or takes up ideas, conversations, or other texts or contexts from our culture and society. Alternately, focus on how it affects you, how it makes you feel, and what sort of experience you have observing it – or how it speaks to different audiences. Alternately, focus on its technique, on the actual text itself, how it uses A/V materials, different modes and media, available designs, and design choices (emphasis, contrast, color, organization, alignment, proximity) to achieve a particular effect.
- How does this text fit in with our class readings and conversations? For example, does it help us think about Ennenga‘s attention to selfie culture and the difference between texts that reproduce cultural ideologies and texts that embody some sort of individual authenticity and expression? Does it help us think about Bogost‘s point about how digital recording technologies create new texts with their own reality rather than reproductions and representations of reality? Does it help us think about Ridolfo and DeVoss’s points about rhetorical velocity and remix?