After my first class for Visual Rhetoric and Multimodal Composition, my brain literally hurt. There was so much information to take in, so many new ideas and discussions flying around the room, and, of course, that brief trip back in time to 1981 with Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical,” which led to the discovery of the name of our new course blog.
One of the first topics brought up in the readings assigned for the next class was mapping. According to This American Life: Mapping, “creating a map means ignoring everything in the world but one thing.” While I was skeptical of the claim that Denis Wood, geographer and one of the interviewees for the program, brought up that because “a map is a way to describe the world, there isn’t anything you can’t map,” after listening to the broadcast, I changed my mind.
But my thoughts were still fluttering around, and I couldn’t organize them. So, as a way to try to organize my thoughts, I decided to try to map out my thoughts about both this course and the readings for the next class, most of which happen to focus on mapping. As it happens, according to chapter three of Geographies of Writing by Nedra Reynolds, “‘mapping’ is increasingly used as a metaphor for charting, understanding, exploring, or organizing,” so I guess I’m on the right track.
In that same chapter, Reynolds explained that a mental map consists of “the images and associations of places that we carry around in our heads.” Below is my mental map of my associations and thought patterns while I was completing some of the reading assignments. Some of this might not make all that much sense to you, but as Ira Glass says in This American Life, “every map of the world is seen through a different lens.” And this is mine.
While this is only a small portion of the map of the thoughts I had while reading, it does spread into several different areas all within the scope of the initial topics brought up during the first class and the readings, including some fledgling thoughts of semiotics and symbols, hence the Penguin Dictionary of Symbols, available at B&N.com for $13.75 (as well as some browsing around on the web while I was taking a break from reading. For those of you interested in seeing Daniel Radcliffe feeding some South African penguins on the Jonathan Ross Show, take a look).
Another question that was whirling around my mind after the first class meeting was which topic I was going to investigate throughout the semester? Dr. Wolff gave us carte blanche on anything visual, and as I had just finished taking a screenwriting class last semester, I have movies and trailers on the brain. I think exploring the different editing sequences and how they can manipulate the movie will be really interesting; we’ll see how those maps turn out.