English Subtitles for TEDxRochester - Andrew Perry - 11/07/11

Subtitles / Closed Captions - English

what's the first thing you think of when i say comics it's super heroes isn't it

it's it that that comics are simply for kids in fact this past friday i was talking to a colleague and I was recommending fun home by Alison Bechdel which is a graphic memoir that i highly recommend and I handed her the book and she opened it up and she said I can't read this and she handed it right back to me and I said well why can't you read it and she said because I don't know where my eye is supposed to go next and I thought exactly two comics have their

own visual language they do are they transgressive they are do you need to be literate in comics to actually understand them it helps how do you get literate in comics i'm going to show you a visual literacy is the ability to interpret information delivered in the form of images rather than simply text along it's based on the idea that images can be read like language and that meaning can be

communicated through the process of reading them but not everyone is on board each step in the evolution of literacy often carries with it the suspicion that each new generations ability to effectively communicate with one another is somehow eroding ask yourself how do you feel about young people's relationship with the internet with video gaming with social networking and I won't even ask about wearing pants

halfway down your rear end let's take literature as an example the privacy of poetry began to be replaced by novelists around the middle of the 19th century can you name a single living poet today I said can you name a single living poet today Nicki okay some people can I thought I heard some dead people being mentioned

most people can't because poetry is no longer the primal the dominant social force cultural force that it once was and most of us are no longer literate in the form how many people here on an e-reader anyone has it changed your book purchasing habits have changed the number of books you read it once or has it changed the way you actually think about and understand them to e-readers

make us literate in a whole new way today text only narratives are being challenged by the incorporation of visual elements just as printed paper texts are being challenged by digital texts by turning to a number of conventions unique to the comics medium a growing number of writers and artists are embracing graphic narratives this hybrid form of text in images is pushing the boundaries of what text can do reshaping how we read but most

importantly it is enlarging our world view over the last hundred years or so comics have developed enough of important innovations speech balloons are probably the most recognizable this is the one thing that everyone will instantly say oh I know what that is and as you can see they've been around for quite a long time speech balloons provide characters with life they provide characters with a voice the next

convention is the verbal visual blend an image contains an inherent sense but when wedded to a caption the synthesis of the to create something more dynamic than its individual parts can alone the verbal visual blend reaches its greatest expression in gag cartoons particularly in the new yorker narrative breakdown is the succession of panels it provides pace rhythm and suspense in the grammar of comics images are the nouns while narrative breakdown is the verbs closure

is mentally completing that which is incomplete in comics it is the agent of change time and motion in film closure occurs continuously 24 times per second and makes the audience a willing participant in the narrative the gutter is the seemingly empty space between the panels which is where closure actually occurs here in the limbo of the gutter human imagination takes two separate images and transforms them into a single idea no matter how seemingly unconnected

they are placing panel side-by-side causes the human imagination to create a sense of connection the first artist that i would like to discuss today that many of you have probably heard of his art spiegelman in 1992 mouse won the Pulitzer Prize which will brought a lot of attention along overdue attention to the literary potential of the comics medium Spiegelman subverts a familiar the

familiar comics trope of cats and mice by telling a very important story about the Holocaust some of you probably read mouse if anyone his reading graphic novel it's always mouse which is a good thing spiegelman represents history through an innovative use of space and time and in fact if you look at this particular panel with my laser pointer that's not working

you'll notice that we have the past and the present inhabiting the same physical space on the page together Spiegelman tells the story of how his father taught him to pack a suitcase to use every available centimeter a paranoid sense that he represents in the cramped layout of his comics pages as he said I'm literally giving form to my father's words and for him that has to do with panel size panel rhythms and the visual structures of the page and as you can

see this is very stunning image with the photos bleeding off the bottom of the page the second artist I'd like to discuss today is my personal favorite Chris where where is a scholar of the history of comics and freely admits that he shamelessly steals from the early masters he's deeply influenced by winsor mccay is Little Nemo in Slumberland which one of my students at all i've played that video game

that was for the atari thoughts very old Charles Schultz's peanuts who he calls his hero Frank Kings gasoline alley which is also a very old strip and you can see how visually experimental the strip is and my personal favorite George Harriman's crazy cat which you may or may not have heard of crazy cat was so popular in the nineteen twenties and thirties that there was actually a crazy cat ballet that was performed and i would love to have seen gasoline alley

in particular made him realize that the emotions of a comic come from the way the story itself is structured and in fact when you put these two strips side-by-side you can really see the visual echo between the two of them in the way that they're structured where's work often uses homemade entertainment that you can cut out such as the use of cutout dioramas that he then deconstructs with a sense of desperation and failure and in fact if you were to

cut this out and create this mobius strip this is the image that you would actually see and in fact in another work of his I think it's in Jimmy Corrigan as well you can make a second one which when you create when you make the mobius strip and look at it what you see is an image of an obese astronaut changing the channels on the TV his style has been called maniacally precise composed frost eNOS every line

either perfectly straight or perfectly curved a counterbalance to his stories emotional brutality his most famous work is Jimmy Corrigan or the smartest kid on earth which came out near 2001 critic called it the most physically beautiful book ever written about loneliness a recurring theme and Jimmy Corrigan is the deconstruction of the superhero through Jimmy's perception of his long-lost father

and if we look closely here up in me and I would circle it with my laser pointer on the upper left corner we see Superman preparing to leap off the building and then in the closure between the two panels we see the results of Superman leaping off the building this is the view out of Jimmy's office window Jimmy Corrigan is full of froth silences and painfully slow passages of time an entire scene can pass where the only action is a single drop of water where

uses what he calls Pictou linguistics trips not to simply depict emotion but to actually create it his work is not merely the intersection of words and images but rather words that act like pictures and pictures that act like words he often likens comics to music and this is what i find most interesting comics comics are also divided time and rhythm we experience them beat by beat is our eyes alight on

panel after panel think of music think of comics as sheet music you breathe life into a composition by playing it you bring a strippa live by reading it ultimately where says drawing is a way of thinking it's a way of seeing the world so what should you take away from all this first the next time you hear the word comics don't just simply think kids stuff

secondly you should start reading graphic narratives immediately and out in the lobby at the break I i have a very lengthy list of books that you can have recommended titles that you can begin reading and i would love to talk to you about them we've come a very long way from the comics care of the late nineteen forties and early fifties when comics were blamed for juvenile delinquency when

they were investigated by a Senate subcommittee giving birth actually to Mad Magazine and numerous communities throughout the country held mass comic book burnings like this one in binghamton new york a society understands itself through its cultural expression which in order to remain vital must constantly reinvent itself today's graphic narratives are powerful literacy tools that provide readers with complex visual communication they are

also transgressive new forms of literacy that are reshaping the way we understand images what we are experiencing is a transition to a more visual digital world that we need to learn to experience with do we need to learn to navigate with a more experienced I to think differently to see the world differently we must frequently challenged ourselves to reinvent the structures that we use to represent that world

thank you

Video Description

Andrew has worked at Rochester Institute of Technology for the last eleven years, where he is the Associate Director of the Writing Center in R.I.T.'s newly formed University Writing Program. He regularly teaches Writing Seminar, a Graphic Novel course, and occasionally a Native American Literature course. Andrew also teaches writing in R.I.T.'s College Restoration Program, in the Higher Educational Opportunity Program, and oversees the Online Writing Lab (OWL). He has presented numerous papers at professional conferences and has been nominated three times for R.I.T.'s prestigious Richard & Virginia Eisenhart Provost's Award for Excellence in Teaching.

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