WEEK 5.

CONTEXTUAL UNDERSTANDING

Task 1- Visual Literacy

MIND MAP2NEW

https://www.mindmup.com/#m:a16e6f9c50e66901330ca56b5bfc36c655

 

(Levy, Don. “The Power to Tell the Difference: Visual Literacy in a Visual Age”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f09ybYDJoSE. TEDx Talks. 16th April 2015. April 2016. Internet)

One idea I have taken from the presentation videos is how connected we are as beings, mentally and physically. How we have developed worldwide connections, how powerful humans have come to think of new ground breaking ideas and technology to industrially improve living on our planet. This idea of connectivity and development is a good link to my visual text “Sun and Planet Steam Engine” designed by James Watt. His design of forming a machine that uses steam from burning coal to power production, indicating human achievements and additionally transporting production through networking, connecting the world together for trade and survival.

 

 

Task 2- Contextual Understanding

What stood out to me in this text was how the photographer was able to capture two different sides of people’s reactions to a crime scene. Weegee’s amazing ability to capture emotion in action, where he also shows how different ages react to scenes. The photograph of the mixed crowd ‘The First Murder’ (Struken, Marita, and Lisa Cartwright. “Images, Power and Politics”. Practices Of Looking: An Introduction To Visual Culture. :New York: Oxford Univeristy Press, 2009. P. 10. Print), draws attention to the contrast between children and adult take on the death of a person, the older women are more shocked and delirious, and the children are more fascinated and wonderstruck by their first experience of a crime scene. These images photographed by Weegee are compacted with a mix of jumbled emotions which make us want to read the image as a whole and better comprehend by looking around every corner of the visual text. The first time I looked at this, my eyes were drawn to every face, reading all their expressions to understand.

 

 

 

 

Task 3- Essay Topic Research

  • (Mirzoeff, Nicholas. “The Changing World” How to See the World. London: Pelican, 2015. Print. ‘Figure 70 — Monet. “Unloading Coal”. 1875. April 2016.)

monet

Coalmen from Belgium and France are transferring coal from factories to ships to be transported overseas. The viewers eyes are being drawn to the people, the lines are diagonally leading down towards the boats, creating a sense of travel and destination of the coalmen. The bridge in the background above the workers weighs down and almost confines the workers below, making the link between the landscape and the figures, as they are all based on industrial production. The genre of this painting is impressionism, using colour and light to show the feeling of the landscape at the exact moment. His ability to blend colours into each other are very good, the sky and the land blend well to show the link of nature as a whole, and the black figures acting as a link to nature. In building context, some main points would be how industrialisation occurred in Europe during the time, the conditions of workers and what networking systems they had transporting goods. The context of this work will allow me to better contrast shipping goods and labour then and now.

 

 

steam engine.jpg

This is an image of “The Sun and Planet” steam engine designed by James Watt. This visual text links to my ideas of the ‘Industrial Revolution’, global warming and conquest of nature. The idea of an engine that burns coal symbolises the beginning of a new era of machinery in both industrial and agricultural formation and development. The creation of this machine allowed people to pump water from coal mines much faster, but could also be put to other uses to quicken material productions, this being a good representation of our changing world. The steam engine also suggests the idea of global warming as more natural resources, such as coal, being taken meant more gas emissions through industry production and causing the rising temperature and damage of our planet and all species too, examples of smoke rising from factories, bigger cities and denser populations, railroads could be seen in many places in Britain. With continuous growth of developing machinery, humans have taken over almost all of nature and used its resources to help ourselves, our survival in expense of a doomed planet.

 

One idea I have taken from the presentation videos is how connected we are as beings, mentally and physically. How we have developed worldwide connections, how powerful humans have come to think of new ground breaking ideas and technology to industrially improve living on our planet. This idea of connectivity and development is a good link to my visual text “Sun and Planet Steam Engine” designed by James Watt. His design of forming a machine that uses steam from burning coal to power production, indicating human achievements and additionally transporting production through networking, connecting the world together for trade and survival.

 

(Ruskiewicz, John J., Daniel Anderson, and Christy Friend. “Reading Texts.” Beyond Words: Cultural Texts for Reading and Writing. 3rd ed. Boston: Pearson. C2012. P.10-15; 54-57. Print)

This process has helped me focus on my essay direction by allowing me to recognise what is missing, looking deeper into the larger image, “noting where you look first and then asking” (Ruskiewicz, p.11). As any painting was cropped to tell a story, this reading has taught me to look further and better comprehend what is ‘outside the box’, what is happening outside of the image, what is behind us from our perspective of the visual text. Also being able to look through different perspectives and think in various ways, instead of having one impression of the visual text, to help expand knowledge, become open to more possible ideas.

This process has helped me develop my understanding of contextual knowledge through reading about different types of genres and media used for individual visual texts. “Each medium makes its own demands on your imagination and senses” (Ruskiewicz, p.29), this makes me understand the necessity to research the background of a visual text, the history at the time to expand my contextual knowledge, allowing me to comprehend the reason for why the creator of the visual text has chosen to work on a certain medium to get his message across to us, his audience.

When making visual texts in design practice, the process of researching further into ideas I am interested in will allow me to express my feelings even more, the power of transcending a message will have deeper meaning once I know what I am aiming to tell people. The relevance of contextual knowledge is very important in making a visual text, this allows people to appreciate how it works or means.

 

 

Task 4- Demonstrate Visual Analysis

(Cynthia Stokes Brown. “Fossil Fuels, Steam Power, and the Rise of Manufacturing”. https://www.khanacademy.org/partner-content/big-history-project/acceleration/bhp-acceleration/a/the-industrial-revolution. Khan Academy. 2011. April 2016 Website.)

steam engine

This is an image of “The Sun and Planet” steam engine created by James Watt and Matthew Boulton during the 18th century in Birmingham, Britain. This is a visual text of a working sculptural machine engine built in 1776 for the purpose of using cheaper materials to power production in Britain and the world. Prior to the creation of the steam engine, “people there had used up most of their trees” (Cynthia Stokes Brown), becoming more difficult to transport. Harvesting the planets mineral wealth for fuel and power was cheaper for Britain as coal was closer to the surface of their land. However, using coal to power a machine and create steam and drive a water pump was a ground breaking invention that would change the lives of workers and generations to come. “Leading member of the Lunar society” (Black, Jeremy), Matthew Boulton, invested his money in exchanging finance with creative ideas, “Boulton agreed to fund development of a test engine at Soho” (Wikipedia), of Watt’s revolutionary ideas. Transforming use of energy, creating an industrial and urbanised country, the 18th century being crucial history to the entire world, helped set motion for how we live today.

 

WORKS CITED:

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