Archive for November, 2007

Meanwhile, a few programs over…

November 26, 2007

Last week (Nov. 12-16), a few of us from the RCID program attended “Meanwhile, a few inches apart,” the Clemson University Master of Fine Art thesis exhibition by

Jillian Ludwig, Molly Morin and Elizabeth Snipes.

All three have attended various RCID gatherings in the past, which drew us to the exhibition even more strongly. Though they had planned no uniting theme, the three exhibitions complemented each other quite well.

Jillian works mainly with pencils on paper, meditating on themes of life,4.jpg death, and rebirth, normality and abnormality, and nature versus culture. On piece in particular drew my attention, “Freud’s Death Organ.” In the center, a knot of internal organs, simultaneously human and plant-like, stares out as though rip[ing through the page itself. Dead dandelions release their seeds just below the organ. On the margins, stems, leaves and flowers rise vertically playing back and forth from mimetic representation to stylized china pattern. Other works play upon gravity. Jillian’s subjects seem at once to drop violently and float above. Though her works often represent the entropic death-drive, the act of representation becomes a kind of negentropic revelry in the eros and life.

morin.gif In direct contrast to the more traditional media of her colleagues, Molly works with computer modeling programs to create pieces full of symmetry and complexity. The printed pieces look like Technicolor, Spirographic flowers. Others are laser-cut paper works of intricate origami, repeated over and over. The viewer becomes enmeshed in a three dimensional fractal forest. The most interesting of all, however, were those that negotiated two and three dimensional spaces. Traditional origami figures reappear throughout the show, but now their juxtaposition with the computer-generated flowers creates a more organic composition. Swans trade places with benzene rings, hovering above the petals of a swirling computer-generated vortex.

Elizabeth complements the two technological extremes by working with a traditional medium and focusing on technological remediation. She depicts pixilated web-cam images through oil paints. One of her pieces, “Encounter,” features snipes.gifa woman turning back toward what may be an art studio with her hand hovering just a few inches from the web-cam through which we see her. Is she about to turn it off or has she just turned it on? Does she know that we can see her? The interplay of oils and pixels causes the viewer to alternate in an advance and retreat from the picture. Throughout her pictures, we are given the impression that we are looking at a fragment of a larger story, much like Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Film Stills. Her pieces often portray two images simultaneously, one a surveillance-oriented, busy store scene; the other a ghost image flitting across the panel.

Throughout the exhibition, technological differences construct a complex discussion of repetition and difference, nature and culture, self and other. For more information, see the Lee Gallery site and the artists’ website:, where you can find information on purchasing their art.


~ Jason Helms


The NCA Annual Conference, 2007

November 20, 2007

Chicago lived up to its title as “the Windy City” this November 15-18 for the National Communication Association Annual Conference. This year’s theme was “Communicating Worldviews: Faith-Intellect-Ethics.” RCID-ers Keith Morton, Alicyn Butler, and I attended and presented papers at the event. It was certainly a fun time of year to be in Chicago: The stores along Michigan Avenue’s “Miracle Mile” were all unveiling their holiday displays (indeed they are all rich texts for rhetorical analysis) and on Saturday night, the Chicago parade and lighting of the trees down Michigan Avenue added another glimpse of the upcoming holiday season.

keith2.jpgThe NCA Annual Conference boasted over 1200 sessions of quality papers and presentations covering rhetoric and culture, mass communication, pedagogy, and methodology, to name a few. Sessions focused on the communicative aspects of everything from political discourse to health promotion and the Biltmore Estate to Second Life.

On a personal note, this conference afforded me the opportunity to mac.jpegmeet and interact with the top scholars, leading researchers, and journal editors in the field of instructional communication, many of whom are listed among the references in my dissertation. Clemson University and the Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design program were well-represented at the conference.

RCID Student Papers:
Alicyn Butler presented a paper entitled “Encouraging Eating Disorder Interventions: The Role of Symbolic Modeling and Verbal Persuasion on Self-Efficacy and Behavioral Intentions.”

J.A. McArthur presented a paper entitled “Engaging Information Design: Re-considering the User’s Experience.”

Keith Morton presented a paper entitled “Accommodation of People First Language” as part of the Disability Caucus.

RCID Faculty Papers & Presentations:
Andy Billings‘ paper “Conveying the Olympic Message: NBC Producer and Sportscaster Interviews Regarding the Role of Identity” was selected as a Top Four Competitive Paper by the NCA Mass Communication Division. Dr. Billings also presented two other papers entitled: “Producing the Olympic Games: A Theoretical Account of NBC Interviews on Storytelling and the Conveyance of Identity-Oriented Messages” and “Gendered Discourse in the Olympic Telecast: A Longitudinal Analysis.”

Bryan Denham presented two papers entitled: “Ordinal Response Measures in Health Communication Research: Logit and Probit Analyses as Alternatives to Ordinary Least Squares Regression” and “Headlining the Head-Butt: Zinedine Zidane/Marco Materazzi Portrayals in Prominent English, Irish, and Scottish Newspapers.”

Kate Hawkins presented at a short course entitled “Communicating Science: Making Connections and Exploring Collaborations” and as a roundtable participant in ” ‘My Freshman Year’ – Revisited: Student Culture, the Public University and American Culture.”


~ Mac McArthur

RCID: Knowing, Doing, and Making

November 8, 2007

A Sampling of Making (Producing)….

In the Core and Cognate seminars all students are expected to work in different media. While there is always a major project of a 20-page paper emphasizing knowing-doing (theory-practice-producing exclusively in print cultures), students are also expected to work in multimodal genres, i.e., with re/mixes of analog and digital audio, print, and visual cultures. Often students will “write” a book review or a short-paper assignment in a multimodal genre. And at times in a whimsical, yet nonetheless serious manner! Recently, the first-year students in RCID 801, Histories of Rhetorics, produced some brief works–three of which we spotlight here.

Instead of just expecting students on their own to produce work in these multimodal genres, we schedule first-year students to take RCID 805 (two sections), Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Technologies: one with Tharon Howard, another with Cynthia Haynes.


Two of the three students below chose to work with PowerPoint and Adobe Presenter while the third one chose to work in Photoshop +.

nichols.jpg – Randy D. Nichols
On Sitting Down to read the Nicomachean Ethics Once Again
PowerPoint to Presenter (audio)

wu.jpg – Wu Dan
PowerPoint to Presenter (audio)

andyhurley.jpg – Andrew Hurley
When in Greece…” On the Nicomachean Ethics
Graphic Comic of Andrew and Aristotle, made in Photoshop.

There’s some more on the way….