Karl Stolley

An art of emergent visual rhetoric

Karl Stolley

  • School: Purdue University (0183)
  • Degree: Ph.D.
  • Date: 2007 pp: 168
  • Advisor: Sullivan, Patricia
  • Subjects: Design (0389), Rhetoric (0681), Composition (0681), Mass Media (0708)
  • ProQuest Document Number: 304840828
  • ISBN: 3291225
  • UMI Number: 3291225

Abstract:

This study describes an art of emergent visual rhetoric aimed at the production of networked digital artifacts in the digital medium. Although “visual rhetoric” often refers to a type of critique and rhetorical analysis applied to particular (electronic) genres, the present study examines visual rhetoric with respect to production in the digital medium. By focusing on medium, the study describes production concerns that are potentially shared by all digital artifacts, regardless of genre. To achieve this, the study presents a conceptual model of “networked digital production” that utilizes digital communication technologies’ ability to assemble, and not merely store and retrieve, artifacts at the moment readers access them. The Web medium, which the study treats as a representative part of the larger digital medium, highlights visual rhetoric emerging from and amidst other digital production concerns, including accessibility, sustainability, and extensibility. Networked digital production enables visual rhetoric/design to emerge in a negotiation between a digital producer’s instructions written in various Web languages and a reader’s technological conditions and physical abilities. Specifically, networked digital production on the Web relies on the separation of structure, presentation, and behavior into multiple files or “quanta” suggested by the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) “recommendations” or standards for Extensible Hypertext Markup Language (XHTML), Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), and JavaScript. A closer look at the Web medium through the lens of “networked digital production” and “Web standards” further suggests the rhetorical, “symbolic labor” of engaging in digital production at the level of code/languages of the Web medium, rather than relying on “what you see is what you get” (WYSIWYG) Web editors—a live demonstration of which is offered in Chapter Four. The study concludes by suggesting means by which teacher/learner/producers can adjust their extant digital production practices and pedagogies oriented around discrete digital production of all-in-one files like Microsoft Word documents or Adobe Acrobat PDFs to gradually shift towards code-oriented, networked digital production.