Image Theory I

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RYERSON UNIVERSITY
DEPARTMENT OF FILM, PHOTOGRAPHY, AND NEW MEDIA
PROGRAM IN NEW MEDIA
COURSE OUTLINE FALL 2001
COURSE CODE AND NAME:
CDNM 111 IMAGE THEORY
INSTRUCTOR: PROFESSOR LILY ALEXANDER ([email protected])
CALENDAR DESCRIPTION:
The course begins with a study of image-making within the context of Western culture and
explores the methodologies and theories of communication and semiotics needed to analyze
imagery and sound-image relations in art, advertising and the news. The course draws on
various disciplines such as visual anthropology, art theory, visual theory, and the studies of
new media languages to provide critical approaches to understanding the cultural forces that
shape and are shaped by image-makers.
TEXTS:
Required:
Nicholas Mirzoeff (1999) An Introduction to Visual Culture. New York and London:
Routledge.
Arthur Asa Berger. (1989) Seeing is Believing: An Introduction to Visual Communication.
Mountain View, CA: Mayfield Publishing Company.
Recommended:
Cooper, J.C. (1999) An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Traditional Symbols. London: Thames
and Hudson.
Jean Chevalier and Allan Gheerbrant. (1994). The Penguin Dictionary of Symbols. London:
Penguin Books.
A collection of additional readings will be provided by the instructor.
COURSE ORGANIZATION:
This is a 3-hr per week lecture course, which includes segments of seminar and screenings.
ASSESSMENT and ASSIGNMENTS:
There are five assessments and assignments due during the academic year:
1. Presentation (due according to students’ individual schedules)
2. Take-home test.
3. Web Site Analysis / Critical review of new media.
4. Course Paper (a development of oral presentation).
Each assignment is worth 25%; total: 100%.
According to the rules of the Department, no student can pass this course if s/he did not
attend/submit two or more out of four assessments/assignments per academic term, or missed
three or more classes per term without legitimate reasons. Three ‘lates’ is equivalent to one
‘absent.’ Attendance is mandatory. Dates and topics of the course calendar are subject to change,
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however the instructor will make efforts to follow the course calendar. Any other alteration to the
course, including assignments, tests, grade weights, due dates, or assignment format will be
discussed in class prior to implementation.
COURSE CONTENT AND CALENDAR:
Week 1. Course Introduction. Theories of the Visual. Image, Power, and Pleasure.
PART I. THE ORIGIN OF IMAGE.
Week 2. Discussion of student individual projects. An Auction of research topics and
ideas. The Birth of Image as a Cultural Form. Images, Symbols and Meanings.
Visual and Moving Image.
Week 3. The Anthropology of Art. Image, Ritual, and Magic. Early Religions,
Totem and Image. Diffusive and Undifferentiating Consciousness.
Animism, Animatism, and (Dynamic) Pantheism.
Week 4. Non-Indifferent Nature. Natural Symbols. The Birth of Metaphor.
Metamorphosis and Transformation. Myth and Images. Metaphorical and
Mythological Consciousness.
Week 5. Ornamental Images. Rhythm, Pattern, and Process. Images of/in Time and
Space. Sacred Geometry and the Laws of Beauty.
Cosmology and the Architecture of the World. Images of the Universe.
PART II. THE ESSENCE OF IMAGE.
Week 6. Ambivalent Images and Binary Oppositions. Counterpoint. Contrast. Paradox.
Black and White. Light and Shadow. Dynamics: Moving Image on and off Screen.
Week 7. Understanding Images. Creating Meanings. Bricolage.
Metaphor. Symbol. Sign. Emblem. The Signifier and the Signified.
Week 8. Human Faces and Human Figures. Mask from Ritual Art to Postmodernism:
Case Study. Gods, Idols, and Images. Iconoclasm and Iconophily in the Past and
Present of Culture.
Week 9. The Language of Color. The Color Spectrum: Emotions and Meanings.
Multidimensional Image and Multiple Perspectives.
PART III. THE FUTURE OF IMAGE.
Week 10. Image and Ideology. Technology and the Manipulation with Images.
Week 11. Visual Poetry and Images for Sale. Art for the Sake of Art in the Age of
Mechanical Reproduction. Poetic Image. Artistic Image. Image and Marketing.
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Week 12. The Culture of Visualization. The Crisis of Interpretation.
Week 13. A Content of the Form, or Form Vs. Content. Innovations and Traditions.
Imagery of the Future – A Discussion on New Visual Languages of Culture.
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