Chriscore's Weblog

in response to photographic essay

October 2, 2008
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Chris Magiet

INFO 390

Mark Barnes


Picture Messages of Text Messages

In this photographic essay, the focal purpose was to call into question the contexts in which many of us find ourselves using text messages. Many of us can certainly agree that the use of text messages has exponentially increased over a few recent years, but it seems as though sometimes we overlook the precarious situations in which we use the silent form of communication (and at times elusive or secretive). It is in these situations I cannot help but wonder: Do we need to text now?

As I thought about this concept, I began to tinker with the possibility that text messaging could function on contrast to the general goal of communication. Perhaps texting at some point becomes a form of anti-communication. The factors that seem to contribute to this notion include the ability for text messaging to allow delay between responses. Since the rhetoric of text messaging is almost exclusively conversational, text messages appear as a fragmented telephone conversation. While e-mail possesses the same concept of delayed thought-out response, text messaging carries with it the expectation for instant response. Very often, this expectation for instantaneous response gets corrupted by factors of deception of location, activity, and time. These factors seem to fragment the aspired fluency of communication.

As much as there are inconsistencies in communication through text messaging, the contributing factors also exist in the environment around the text-messenger. I tried to exhibit this in my photographs. The potential breakdown of communication that lingers in the act of text messaging is evident countless times a day. Perhaps someone is trying to communicate through speaking to some who is text messaging. Since the text message can usually wait, the speaking situation is flawed. I have found that this breakdown is rooted in somewhat of a social gravitation towards isolation in a growing world of presumed person-to-person connectivity via technology.


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I Hear Something

September 30, 2008
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In “Sound Matters,” McKee speaks a lot about the role of sound of voice in multimodal texts.  It seemed to me like she was referring to recordings as voice sounds, without really addressing the issues of recordings.  We’re really hearing (at least in her examples) recordings of sounds.  Doesn’t environment (i.e. where you sit with your laptop and headphones) play a large role in perceiving multimodal texts involving sound?

Isn’t there a huge difference between watching a multimodal presentation online, and going to a poetry reading at some location with physical writing in front of you, and a speaker moving around and performing?

Can the expanding use of multimodal/audio/visual essays lead to a clutter of information?  Does this bring us back to the question of quality vs quantity?  With this question I think about the cluttered screens of CNN and ESPN.

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Drucker and Elkins….reminds me of elks

September 23, 2008
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Drucker refers to the differences put on written language in advertising and businesses saying, “this is not conversation, this is commerce” (92).  We are all familiar with the use of puns and altered language to creaty witty phrases, but don’t we usually recognize that businesses do this for a reason, that we are not being genuinely fooled?

“Language of Evidence”:  Drucker addresses in this section of her article that some messages are cryptic of “enigmatic,” and that we don’t always know what they mean. Even though we see all of this language around us, don’t we make choices about certain messages on whether we care or not?  Depending on whether or not the messages pertain to us, don’t we make some sort of choice as to the amount of thought we put into interpretting (or just brushing) what is out there?  We must possess some sort of selective dialogue with the messages coming at us.

Elkins:  Is Elkins just romanticizing the composition of stamps, when mainly (at least in today’s society) their purpose is perdominantly monetary and functional?

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Picture Frames

September 18, 2008
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When McCloud reaches his point about the wide expanse of iconography available for us to perceive, he claims that comic artists invent new symbols all the time.  Are these symbols really being invented, or just built upon and modified from other symbols?

Does remediation then become invention when geared towards a creative outlet?

McCloud also claims that in image and drawings, every line has “meaning” or “meaninglessness.”  Does this binary really work?  Can’t aspects of images be enitities of referential function instead of meaning/meaninglessness?

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On Tagging…

September 16, 2008
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Stencil Art Project

The stencil art project required a great attention to detail regarding visual perception. In actually cutting the stencil(s) a lot of attention needed to be directed towards the influence of negative space on the plane. In my project, I chose to use the picture of a well-known female celebrity, Shannon Elizabeth, looking over her shoulder and smiling. I wanted to make sure that once I made the stencil and painted over it that the viewer could make the inference that it was an attractive woman. It would have been extremely detrimental if the picture ended up looking like a frowning, a-sexual figure. In order to make sure that the context of the image was clear, I needed to experiment with what lines, edges, and various contours of the face needed to show up besides the eyes and mouth. After experimenting a little bit with the image on Microsoft Windows Paint, I decided to just print out the image and physically experiment with scissors and a mini-utility knife. I tried to make lines in the hair to emphasize the presence of strands, as well as a cut to show the jaw line. I practiced with a pencil and some cardboard to see how the negative imaging might turn out.

Once I decided on the content of the image, I almost instantly knew that I wanted to use pink spray paint. Pink seemed like a great color to somewhat mildly mock the image of a female celebrity in pop culture. Pink seems to carry a connotation of glamour, and I wanted to use that stereotype. I then had the idea to juxtapose a contrasting blue X somewhere on the picture. The outline and other features of the celebrity silhouette projected rather organic, humanistic features. Placing an image like a solid-colored X would provide a strongly contrasting connotation, as if it was not supposed to be there in the first place. The X might indicate straight firmness, and perhaps serves as a mark of disapproval. Ironically, the colors seem to complement each other nicely, but the images themselves disagree completely.

Lastly, besides the two stencils I used a black Sharpie marker to write the word “celebrity” across the side of the image. If the face were to stand on its own, it would appear to be just a picture of a smiling girl, but the simple addition of a geometric shape and a word completely changes the connotations of the entire work. The word “celebrity” indicates more so something regarding the content of the image, pretty much defining what it references. The X seems to tell us how we should perceive the image, perhaps how we should judge it.

If I were to actually tag these images on the side of building, for the side of a building would most definitely be the most suited location for stencil art, I would look for some place like a Best Buy. Best Buy seems to represent the commercial availability and apparent consumer obligation to gravitate towards the celebrity. Best Buy advertises for all the big movies and CDs, and uses the image of the celebrity to boost sales. Another good location might be a newsstand, where all the fashion magazines and women’s magazines promote the image of the celebrity. If possible, I would even try to find the publishing building for one of these magazines, but those buildings probably have substantial security. The positioning of the stencil piece would show a direct disapproval of the relationship between that building and the celebrity image mocked in the picture.

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The Stencils

September 16, 2008
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September 9, 2008
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Thinking about your audience: an artist may think about who they want to address as an audience when creating a work, but after completion is there really much control over who the audience really ends up being?

Is the “audience” really just an abstract, ideal goal in producing art?

If art is supposed to serve as a mode of communication, then how do the varying interpretations of the consumer of the art complicate the “message”?

How do we tell whether content or form is the dominant or driving factor in a work?  Are they always completely mutual?

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about robots painted in alleyways

September 9, 2008
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Responding to Graffiti in Champaign

In response to the graffiti quest, there seems to be just as much to say about the process of looking for it, or just happening to come across the spectacles (or pieces lacking anything spectacular), as there is for the artwork itself. I set out towards a couple locations where I thought graffiti might present itself, but I did not have an exact idea of a particular spot where I knew I would catch some graffiti, new or old. This sparked me to think of how the factor of location plays a huge role in graffiti art, whether that means tagging words, phrases, miniature figures, or expansive murals.

Perhaps some of what factors into the location of graffiti is strongly related to the legality of some of the work. Perhaps someone wanted to tag a portrait of an influential figure, but the artist did not want to risk getting his tools ripped from his hands, and replaced with handcuffs for vandalism. From another perspective, perhaps a cutesy robot profile may stand perfectly on the wall of a barely accessible alley between coffee shops, serving as a hidden gem amongst rocks, garbage, and generally ignored space.

Reverting back to the issue of legality, I wonder then how certain general forms of graffiti are perceived as acceptable, such as using chalk on the sides of buildings to advertise University sanctioned organizations. Graffiti “art” is more permanent, and not as easy to dispense. Graffiti art will not wash away so easily and it is put in view to be noticed, for when it becomes unwanted someone will go to annoying measures to remove it or cover it up.

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from the can to the web

September 9, 2008
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Send Me Those Pictures

September 4, 2008
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So in thinking about remediation, I think most of us can grasp the concept that mediation/remediation has existed since communication began to function as a tool of humanity.  One thing that comes to mind is that while the central purpose(s) of remediation have remained pretty much unchanged so far (as far as I can contemplate right now) the rate at which we participate in remediation has changed incredibly in recent history.



Here’s an example I just thought of.  Let’s say some sort of news occurs

within an institution, say a mob of people on the quad or green street after a game.  Before the University or the newspaper or even the police can respond with a message (whether through the web, e-mail, or procedure) news of the ‘event’ and a reaction to it spreads wildly by means of cam

era phones, text messages, and facebook posts throughout the campus.

While we see technology initially as the driving force behind this informational phenomenon, I think this process of remediation still depends on an entity that behaves practically independtantly from raw technology.


The University could have a massive computer system at its disposal with formal procedures and policies to guide its use to ensure the most rapid line of communication to the student community, but that authoritative community is much smaller than the student population.  The massive sense of community within the student body seems to allow for this rapid communication, even though it has no formality or procedure behind it.

It seems here to me that community rules over the mere presence of technology as far as how the remediation unfolds.

You could say the same for pictures sent over and over of the same thing.  The same event or image captured with ten different camera phones, digital cameras, and video recorders, then sent to a thousand friends depends more on community than technology.

Does this idea of remediation depending on community rather than our new media technology make sense?

Does the remediation of a message or image gain or lose meaning depending on who does the re-mediating?

Does the rapid nature of new media remediation a more accurate, raw sense of our surroundings, or one that becomes more and more misconstrued?

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About author

Chris Magiet is a blog editor for TrainSignal Training, writing about the new things going on at TrainSignal. He brings news on training releases, industry updates, and more exclusive content. A recent Liberal Arts grad from the University of Illinois, Chris joined the TrainSignal team to support a great experience for the users of TrainSignal Training.