I’ve thought about it and I’d like to give you a choice in terms of the assignment due on Tuesday. The readings are as follows:
1. Hall, Representation (this is your most important reading)
2. Mitchell, “What is an Image?”
Barthes, “The Rhetoric of the Image”
That is to say, you can read EITHER Mitchell or Barthes. It’s your decision. A pdf of the Barthes reading has been uploaded to the eReader section of the syllabus.
Students of both HUM415 and HUM425 ought to take a look at this video installation by Mark Boulos. It’s a remarkable artistic challenge to complacency, a work that in its jarring juxtapositions of images and clash of sound tracks makes the familiar strange and the unfamiliar coherent if not sympathetic. See also a video interview with Boulos here and a print interview here.
What do Marx and Engels mean when they write, “All that is solid melts into air”? If you have an answer to that question then you’ll do well in class on Tuesday.
I’m not saying don’t read the Mitchell, but I would advise that you devote the bulk of your energies to Hall’s article on representation as you prepare for Tuesday’s class. Hall will provide us with some of the tools that we will use throughout the semester. So: take reading notes.
These texts may seem challenging or difficult. That’s good; it means the work is getting done. As my graduate adviser once said, “If this reading irritates you, examine the source of your irritation.”
The Noir City Film Festival runs through this Sunday. It’s a great event for those who like crime films and a pleasurable way to support a local independent theater, The Castro.
I fixed the schedule and the pdf of the syllabus. The first essay is due on Feb. 10. The prompt is under that date in the schedule.
Wednesday we’ll discuss the assigned readings as screen “Yeah, Yeah, We Speak English”. Any questions? Send them to this post.
A few things I neglected to mention in today’s class:
1. It’s important to check in to this blog from time to time. The easiest way to stay abreast of course-related matters is to “follow” the blog for the remainder of the semester. I will always tag posts that are directed at HUM303 students. You need pay attention only to those posts with (HUM303) in the title.
2. We didn’t talk about the soundtrack of the robbery sequence from Killing Them Softly. There are elements of what seem to be diegetic sound in the card room which lend a broader significance to the events that transpire there. Can you guess what they are?
3. Note the formal terms used in class: sound bridge, framing, hand-held camera, shot, sequence, p.o.v. Begin to build your film analysis vocabulary. Consult the Yale Film Analysis Website.
4. Finally, remember that your passport is due on Wednesday. Consult the course information page (303 tab at the top of this page) and the questionnaire page to complete that assignment.