237130_A2_Wk4_Task#4_Part A_Visual Literacy/Visual Analysis_Video review_28/04/16

1. Visual Literacy and Critical Thinking
2. Martin Scorsese on the Importance of Visual Literacy

These two videos – although they both address the topic of visual literacy – seemed to me to have rather different points. The first video seemed like a visual embodiment of a dictionary definition; for the most part the speakers simply explained their own interpretations of what visual literacy means. The Martin Scorcese video, however, was more personal; Scorsese brought his own individual experiences to the table. The clip was less about what visual literacy is, and more about why it’s necessary, how it broadens our minds, and how we must incorporate it into everything we do.

I definitely found the second video more engaging and would recommend this to others over the first clip, because it felt like I could connect on some level to what Scorcese was saying. His exploration of various ways we can become visually literate, and why we should do this was more interesting to listen to than the first clip’s authoritative summary of what visual literacy is. However, I do feel like the first video was more effective in clarifying the term ‘visual literacy’ for me, due to the straightforward, concise points being made.

Key points/ideas/quotes I gathered from each video

Video 1

  • “Caring about visual literacy is caring about knowing” (Yenawine)
  • “In terms of visual literacy and critical thinking, images can be very powerful tools for communicating messages, and people need skills to be able to interpret these messages and have thoughtful responses” (Reid).
  • “In contemporary culture it’s become all too endemic to take things at face value” (Yenawine).
  • “Most people, they take in millions of images, and they don’t think about most of them… The process of vision is the engagement of what it is that we are looking at… It’s not critical thinking if just don’t notice anything that you see” (Kennedy).
  • The purpose of visual literacy is to employ examination in order to understand or interpret something (Yenawine).
  • “…someone who is visually literate is capable of accommodating multiple interpretations” (Levine).
  • “Being visually literate matters because we live in an increasingly visual world” (Nessa).

Video 2
(all quotes attributed to Scorsese)

  • Scorsese’s films embody the violence he witnessed around him as he was growing up. He doesn’t make his films for the purpose of providing a “pleasant” experience for the audience. He says; “The world I come from… that’s the human condition, and it’s tragic. It’s set up in such a way that it will do us in as a species if we don’t learn about it”.
  • “In the stories I’m trying to tell… I don’t know any other way to show it.”
  • “There are certain tools you use [to create visual literature], and those tools become part of the vocabulary, that’s just as valid as the vocabulary that is used in literature.”
  • “How do you point the audience’s eye to look where you want them to look, and to get the point, the emotional and psychological point that you want to get across to them?”
  • “You need to know how ideas and emotions are expressed through a visual form.”
  • “So much of today’s society is done visually and even subliminally.”
  • Visual literacy tells a story; “it’s a very powerful tool”.
  • “Visual literacy should be taught.”
  • “Images are very powerful. We have to begin to teach younger people how to use them; at least to begin to understand, to interpret them.”
  • We must “train the eye and the heart of the student” by getting them to look at a film from various perspectives and pointing out different aspects/ideas to them (Scorsese). When you do this, “you’re training them to think about a story that’s being told to you in visual terms in a different way”.
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237130_A1_Wk2_Task #4_Visual text analysis_An excerpt of an artwork (imagery from the Left Bank mural)_16/03/2016

The above image is an excerpt from the Left Bank Graffiti Wall. This was painted for visitors to the 2015 Wellington On a Plate festival, as a promotional device that would continue to mean something of importance to Wellington citizens long after the festival had finished.
I believe it was intended for the audience to see it as a celebration of Wellington’s cultural diversity, however I see it as a representation of something different.

The image speaks of how our lives have begun to revolve so much around food that we have begun to lose our identities as individuals. We are now only seen as the cultures we belong to and the specialized cuisines of these cultures. We have stopped existing as singular beings and have become one of many who are represented by the food most consumed by their populace.
The integration of vegetables into the hair of the figures in this image is suggestive of the idea that we are letting our appetites define us and dictate how the rest of society sees us, while the covering of the eyes with fruit is symbolic of the suppression of our identities as individuals.

237130_A1_Wk1_Task #4_Writing Response_A response to Walker’s ‘Writing From The Gut’_09/03/2016

The author feels that the Maori race is “delegitimised” by Pakeha, and that in the act of trying to connect with the Maori, Pakeha are only complicating this problem. ‘The problem’ is that Maori are seen as an uneducated race. The author believes that the only reason this perspective is held by Pakeha is because their methods of education differ to those the Maori use. To change this, she wishes to educate the masses of delegitimised Maori using cultural methods they are familiar with.
I found this text compelling as it was written in first person, but the author spoke on behalf of an entire race, and on behalf of anybody who felt their own identity was also suppressed by the academic system. She uses personal pronouns when describing the Maori race and their customs, as she feels she is acting as a representative for everyone who identifies as Maori. This point of view is effective in communicating the purpose of the text; people must unite within their ethnic groups in order to retain their cultural values and traditions. The indignant tone of voice used throughout the text forces us to think about the issue at hand and why it is indeed an issue. I appreciated that the author used her personal experience to bring to light the struggles others are also facing.