Edited By András Benedek and Kristof Nyiri
Mediarhetoric: Complex Visual Literacy: Petra Aczél
Mediarhetoric: Complex Visual Literacy Petra Aczél “The humanities/posthumanities/literacies must relinquish semiconscious resistance to pictorial communication and its technologies.”1 “Any line of inquiry, any field of interest, any subject matter, then can be taken as a rhetoric or as a set of rhetorics.”2 Prologue Media effects, usage and performance have been in the focus of social scientists, cultural critics and communication theorists for almost a century. While infor- matics, semiotics, sociology, psychoanalytics and cultural anthropology gained considerable role in the study of media providing terminology and methodology to understand and interpret media phenomena, rhetoric has only been thought of as relevant in cases of persuasion or manipulation. Platitudinous and problem- atic as they are, media manipulation and persuasion could not promise much in- tellectual challenge for rhetoric and limit the faculty to function in its narrowest definition as an art of persuasive speech. Rhetoric, however, is not merely the technique of suasory communication, the verbal ornamentation of elite speech; a pack of tricks or a method of textual arrangement. Originally worked out as the universal science of public life it has much more to offer to and much more to recognize within media studies. This theoretical essay aims at throwing light upon the almost hidden capacities and interpretations of rhetoric that could contribute fruitfully to the understanding of media and expand the field of visual theory. Discussing four subdomains – the visual, the spatial, the procedural and the aural – the complex, integrated liter- acies rhetoric includes will be concentrated...
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