Oh, the things they make!

By Justin Hodgson


Image: “Mediations” by Jaeheuk Jeong, Indiana University

One of my favorite ‘multimodal’ pedagogical practices involves having students create images in Adobe Photoshop in which they use only visual elements (with minimal text) to represent, demonstrate, or explain concepts/practices/theories from the course readings. This not only forces them to work in a different conceptual mode, but asks them to genuinely consider the relationships at play in their very ways of understanding a topic, structure, or lens. At a class-to-class level, the images help generate/facilitate discussion about course materials, but every now and then I extend the activity into a course assignment. When this occurs, as it did recently in my Introduction to Digital Rhetoric course, the assignment asked students to focus more on their own explications and understandings. Now, each time I include this assignment, there is always at least one student who makes something that I can’t seem to shake. This semester has been no different. Over the past few weeks, my students have been creating an image that responded, in some capacity, to the guiding inquiry for the course: “What is (y)our relationship with technology?” These responses, of course, were meant to be informed by course readings, which included a range of texts, from selections in Bolter and Grusin’s Remediation and Stafford’s Good Looking to Virilio’s “Third Interval” and Haraway’s “Cyborg Manifesto.” And while all the students produced interesting work, the image above (reproduced with permission from the student-author) is something I felt compared to share.

Jaeheuk Jeong’s image, “Mediations,” may operate with a minimalist aesthetic, but it speaks volumes to how he/we (and Bolter and Grusin) think about current practices of mediation and remediation. That is, in a simple image composite, Jeong has demonstrated not only how remediation functions, but how it can become the very focality by which we understand a person, place, thing, event.

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