In this article certain terms and current methodological models of visual rhetorics are introduced, and some examples used in the author’s own teaching are demonstrated. The teaching context is that of the Åbo Akademi University program for Visual Studies, which was founded by Lars Berggren in 2008. Current theoretical and analytical studies of visual rhetorics have been primarily francophone. Research has moved in a direction far beyond the famous initial attempt of Roland Barthes. Important scholars such as the members of the Belgian Groupe μ and Göran Sonesson in Sweden have used a distinction between plastic and pictorial signs in pictures, and developed a taxonomic approach based on classical rhetorics. At the pictorial level of analysis they identify the four kinds of rhetorical transformation – suppression, adjunction, substitution and permutation. According to Groupe µ, an order (ordre) of either pictorial or plastic features may function as a normative background for rhetorical operations at the pictorial level (if plastic order) or plastic level (if pictorial order). Such operations form the basis of a special rhetoric called icono-plastic. In his revision of Groupe µ:s theory Göran Sonesson suggests that the pictorial, plastic and icono-plastic figures identified by Groupe μ could all be subsumed under three general rhetorical dimensions. The first is based on indexicality, the second on iconicity and the third on fictive effects of reality and unreality. As examples of some of the figures, three advertisements are analyzed in closer detail by the author. They are taken from an Ikea campaign in 2009, a campaign for Sinebrychoff’s light drink Kurko in 2008, and a Lancôme campaign in 2004. By identifying pictorial transformations and icono-plastic figures in these examples, the author demonstrates how an ideology of consumption is expressed by visual means. The author concludes that the methodology of visual rhetorics has a value not only as a taxonomy, but also as a tool for ideological criticism.
|Publication status||Published - 2016|
|MoE publication type||A1 Journal article-refereed|
- Rhetoric Arts
- Visual analytics
- Visual rhetorics