Mark Making and The Graphic Narrative

Faculty: Kenneth B. McFarlin




This course in Graphic Design will look at the various ways in which video artists and citizen journalists have employed public access television, public platforms, and new technologies as “a witness and a weapon,”(1) a medium and a mode of distribution. We will look at early video art and activism for television, alongside the work of contemporary artists and thinkers, who similarly engage with new technologies and new stages to address contemporary concerns. We will practice thinking graphically about language; the form it takes, parts of speech, oratory traditions, the translation of live events into “recorded” images, and all this, while discussing the various platforms (social / personal, physical / virtual) on which ideas are currently circulated. 



The primary objective of this course is to situate the student’s work in a lineage of others working with the juxtaposition of image, language, and meaning in the public realm while giving them tools to create a visual rhetoric of their own. By becoming increasingly savvy viewers, with a palette of gestures, the students are meant to become more aware of their audience, the context in which their work is situated, the cultural centrality of design, the nuance of form,  typographic connotations and the various registers in which an idea can be dispersed. 



Alongside readings and through weekly assignments, the students will practice making in a variety of aesthetics and tones. This graphic work, coupled with conversations and responses to said readings, will culminate, at the end of the semester, into a collective publication (digital or print, TBD) distributed at the school and to a wider audience. Our reading material will, in fact, pull from pop culture, as much as theory, philosophy, criticism, fiction, and poetry. This course will be lead by a faculty member who will be partially on the West Coast. We will use remoteness to our advantage by using new media platforms to communicate, dispatch, broadcast and perform to each other. The remote lectures and critiques will test the work on its effectiveness to exist in the public realm and on virtual platforms; in life, on air, and in print. 

(1) Deirdre Boyle from her book “Subject to Change: Guerrilla Television Revisted” 1997