Dove Evolution [Ad Assignment 1]

Although we have all probably seen this, I believe this exposes and explores the way our culture views advertising in an idealistic way. Also, to pose a question, how does this sell Dove as a brand? What are they trying to associate themselves with?


Vietnam Memorial [Response 2]

“We erect monuments so that we shall always remember and build memorials so that we shall never forget” – Arthur Danto

I visited the Vietnam Memorial in elementary school.  I descended the V-shaped slope, running my fingers tips along the cold stone.  I felt the soft rhythm of the indented names run up my arm.  As I hit the middle of the V,  the slope began to increase so I stopped.  I looked at the dates and began to ponder the implications of the names carefully carved onto the stone.  

My grandmother was accompanying me that day.  Her brother had served in Vietnam as a helicopter pilot.  He flew into the battles to pick up the injured and took them to the hospitals.  He had to choose who to take and who to leave.  As you can imagine, this had serious implications to his mental health for the rest of his life.  When he left for the war, he had recently graduated from an ivy league school.  He was bright, funny, and had a zest for life.  My grandmother always explained Uncle Bill to me this way.  The Uncle Bill I knew lived on the streets.  He refused to move into a decent home, although he had the money.  He slept with a knife under his pillow and stole food from all-you-can-eat buffets.  His eyes were kind but fearful.

Those names changed for me after hearing stories of pre-war Bill.  The names signified the dead while the structure addressed the living.


I love this memorial.  It shows physically the deep dark scar that was impressed upon this country after the war; not only of the dead, but the living and all of the families.  A few years after it was erected, grass began to grow up to the edge of it.  This signifies the country healing, although there is still a scar (which goes along with the quote which says we will always remember).

It was and still is a highly contested work of art.  It was designed by Maya Lin (who was actually in her undergrad at the time of its design).  She was a Chinese-American woman.  My favorite part of the article was how it explained how Maya was considered an “other,” and that is why she could successfully relate with the vets who felt “othered” after the war.

I believe it was most contested due to is lack of a certain “stance,” if you will, on the war.  This goes to further show the ambiguous nature of the war.  It was not a victory, nor was it a defeat.  It was not a unified fight as it was protested, but we did go as a country.

I would like to agree with the article that this monument is not a modernist sculpture.  It has a distinct form for a reason and is site-specific. (Modernists did use quite a bit of black stone and linear designs such as the memorial, but they have a different feel).




Again, I love this memorial.  I believe it embodies how confusing the war was and the “otherness” which came after.


Visual Argument, Birdsell [Reading Response 1]

          There is a strong role of visuals in our lives.   Images are everywhere we look.  This article emphasizes the importance of being able to analyze and reason with visual modes of argumentation.  This article recognizes that some theorists believe that visuals cannot make arguments.  It states that there is limits of verbal persuasion that visual meanings can help hold up.

 This reading can be divided into four sections:

1.Theory of visual argument

CONTEXT- “Context can involve a wide range of cultural assumptions, situational cues, time-sensitive information, and/or knowledge of a specific interlocutor.”

2.Lucidity of visual meaning

 3.Varieties of visual context

4. Complexities of notions of representation and resemblance 

          For the sake of this analysis, I am going to focus my discourse on the first point of the theory of visual argument.  I am an art history major and as such, I strongly believe that the best way to argue is through visual means.

            What struck me as the most interesting part of this article was the emphasis on “CONTEXT.”  There as been a movement in the field of art history regarding context.  By looking at context, one is able to see how the people who commissioned or originally viewed the artwork would have viewed it. 


            My favorite example of this context theory would be the traditional Catholic altarpieces.  Altarpieces are now viewed in museums.  They are placed on a wall next to other priceless works, and are venerated for their aesthetic qualities.  When they were commissioned, (if we put them in their original CONTEXT) they would have been shown on top of the altar at the apex of a cathedral or basilica.  They would have been viewed during the taking of the sacrament and were meant to evoke your contemplation of Christ’s sacrifice.  With the Catholic belief of transfiguration, when you take the bread and wine, you are literally making yourself at one with Christ.  This would then make you view the altarpiece as a reminder of Christ’s sacrifice.  Although beautiful, it would have meant something totally different.    


            I believe we must take into account CONTEXT in order to view visuals in the light of the culture which produced them.  If anyone is interested, I can provide more examples from the history of art.  Below I have pictures an appropriated Seven Sacraments for modern day visual culture.  It is interesting how things change….