Saturday, November 24, 2007


"the arbirtrariness of direction and distance within modern pictorial space bespeaks and confirms the indifference to direction and distance of modern intellectual space; and it perfectly corresponds both chronologically and technically, to that stage in the development of theoretical perspective when [...] it [arbitrariness?] became a general projective geometry" (Panofsky 70).

as i read Panofsky, i keep finding space for vibratory pleasure and intellectual confirmation regarding perspective as "symbolic form," which works for me as a concept capable of articulating (again, for me) a sense of what i try to do w/ images. because even as i want to avoid (over)conceptualizing the images i use and bring into contact with other images and sounds and texts, my situation as a rhetorician compels me (right? doesn't it?) to at the very least have something handy to say about them, about what i do and why, about why it may be useful to work with students via images. and i so often do not want to make this move, this articulation.

i recall that after my PSU presentation "beyond words," in which i wanted to argue for the sharing our our multimodal work absent an overly obvious and carefully structured contextualizing discourse, Geoff Sirc said to me, "that was great. why do you hate your words so much?" (by which i believe he meant to say that my capitulation -- my paper presentation that blathered itself during my screening as a nod to how little we've progressed in our work w/ image-events in rhetoric and composition studies -- well, my nod to how far we have not come was actually quite nicely done. so but thanks, but . . .).

i'm surprised at myself for having avoided serious engagement with discourses on aesthetics for so long. and well, there is a lot to read. but also: this distancing choice, which in itself feels somewhat arbitrary, leads me back to Panofsky's comment (above), which feels as though it's moving in the direction of ambivalence, and that move feels right to me (maybe via homi b.), even if it seems rhetorically purposeless (but is not, i continue to insist or, um, imagine).

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