My specific contributions to your project team this week:

  • I took all of the refined logos and color palettes and put them into a single PDF for submission to the client.
  • I also am attending the Austin video shoot today to conduct duties as Video Art Director.
  • I provided support to the Project Manager to facilitate communications.

What’s going well:

Our team feels solid and our communication is free flowing. The logos were refined and sent over, things are slowly getting accomplished bit by bit.

What is not going so well:

Thursdays in class do not provide nearly enough work time for this project. It is difficult to commit another night a week to work on this project as a working professional. St. Joe’s is slow to respond and we are awaiting their logo selection(s). I find frustration in both the limited class work time as well as the client’s inability to respond in the time we had hoped. We are getting down to the wire time-wise and my concern is that we will not complete our project and end up turning over what we have to St. Joe’s.  But maybe that will be acceptable to client.

Goals for next week:

Ideally, if this tape can then get logged on Friday, perhaps Monday night the St. Joe’s group (or at least the video portion of the group) can reconvene to watch both film rolls and take editing notes, as  Since St. Joe’s expressed that the logo will need to be decided on by a board and it may not happen in a timely manner, our group needs to discuss alternatives and hypotheticals as well as a decision on the music bed for the video.

What resources or help do you need from your project team, class, or instructor?

As it was discussed last week, I do not think that I would have enough content to fill a 10-paper final paper for this class. If each person in our group wrote a page or two on their personal experience and responsibilities of this project, incorporating the theoretical connections required by Michael Moore, perhaps we could turn in a collective and complete report that covers everyone’s perspective in addition to presenting our project to the class. It would be great to re-discuss the final paper situation and get a solid decision so that notes and outlines can begin to be constructed.


The Humboldt Park St. Joseph’s visit went well last week. We met with Lisa and Mickey and discussed their needs and what file types and deliverables we would ultimately turn over to them: a disc with the editable film files, the files of all the collateral and print and a standards manual with their new logo.

The B-roll footage had been conducted at the Austin location, but we will need to schedule the actual interview at Austin once Brian C. talks to the ladies today, as it is filming day for the St. Joe’s Humboldt Park facility and interview of Lisa Sullivan there. Unable to attend this filming, as Video Art Director I posted a PDF of points to the Basecamp wiki for those people to take with them. The film is tentatively scheduled to be logged by Sean on Friday as he has the time to get to the lab that day. Progress is being made, slowly. With only 5 weeks left, I foresee a tighter schedule being given to us from Project Manager Amelia for deadlines, which she has done a great job overseeing.

My concern is that we will not be able to utilize our class time editing and getting this video together outside of class if we are required to be there for attendance and discussion each week. Not everyone is available to collectively work outside of Thursday nights and so striking a balance between “agency worker” and “student of this class” is tenuous at this moment.

In class this Thursday, we plan on narrowing down the logo choices to 3 – 5 drafts to e-mail to St. Joe’s. We hope they will make their selection ASAP once this happens to that we can get the graphics and standards manual team – not to mention the website graphics folks – rolling on their individual projects.

I look forward to pinning down an Austin date for filming and then I will feel better about the timeline of this project. The sooner things get done, the better. The client has virtually given us carte blanche with regards to designs, but I hope they are decisive enough to decide which logo they like the best — and soon.

As the Video Art Director for the St. Joseph’s Services project, I created a rough storyboard, which I brought to the last class and which everyone graciously gave input and collective group changes were implemented (removal of certain frames, re-arranging the order slightly). I uploaded the storyboard to the class Blackboard (view the storyboard here.) On Sunday, a few people from our group visited the Austin location and took photos.

This week (Thursday) the St. Joseph’s group is visiting the Humboldt Park facility to meet with the director and square away some video time, as well as photograph the facility and get a feel for the overall project in order to tweak the storyboard and get moving on filming.

What is Going Well? As a group, we seem to be able to communicate well outside of class using Blackboard. The volunteers who went to the Austin location went on a Sunday, so we have people going above and beyond, which is great. I think our Project Manager, Amelia Noyes, is doing a great job by posting task lists and keeping the questions rolling.

What’s Not Going So Well? With a single project like this, my concern is that there are so many of us involved that there will not be an equal distribution of work for everyone to feel “fully immersed” in this project. I think as far as criticisms, we all feel an overt sense of politeness as to not upset the apple cart. This may change as the deadline nears. We all don’t seem to be on the same page as far as time and bullet points to cover in this project, as there are so many points to cover, but I have faith that the most important points will surface during editing.

My goals as Video Art Director for next week is to have a filming schedule in place and a more refined storyboard to post.

I think if project team continues to communicate their thoughts via Blackboard (or wiki, which is preferable) for Thursday so that we can all get organized for the trip over to St. Joe’s, we’ll be good. It may take a couple class times to complete filming and then time will need to be spent editing. As far as editing goes, I am wondering if it might be possible to have a projector available so that the designated editor can edit while the project team gives input during the editing process.


By Sarah McNabb – Text & Image NMS 504

Trying to give the “satellite view” of my interpretation of Kress’ argument with human agency (the photo of my face) being central to the creation of communication (the modes of communication being those circles which intersect with the center circle of human agency), I wanted to create a 3D piece that spins as an interactive metaphor on Kress’s idea of “movement, motion and pace”.

Kress mentions “shifts in representation” so I allowed this piece to shift visually and physically. Kress also says “Modes and media exist in culturally and historically shaped ‘constellations’”, I wanted the project to embody this idea and so I arranged a celestial-inspired format with circular shapes and rotation.

“A multimodal social-semiotic approach assumes that all modes of representation are, in principle, of equal significance in representation and communication, as all modes have potentials for meaning.” (Kress) Therefore, the old and new “mode circles” are the same size and equally spaced apart, as are the smaller “example” circles in between.

“…social interaction and interchange around meaning, oriented to the processes of making and remaking meaning through the making of signs – simple or complex –  in representation.” (Kress) I tried to portray this by playing with arrangement of back-to-back modes that can be seen when the project is rotated clockwise (for the older, original modes) and counter-clockwise (for the newer modes). Focusing on a look of  “modular-ness” I wanted my advocacy of Kress’s theory to be something a person can engage and physically interact with.

“This model of communication rebalances power and attention, with equal emphasis on the interpreter of a message-prompt and the initial maker of the message, the rhetor.” (Kress) To communicate “balance”, I created literal balance with equally distributed weight and a point of rotation and each of my circular “modules” tends to demand the same amount of attention.

“…social dimensions of meaning” (Kress) I worked to re-create social dimensions historically and with the evolution of technology in the images in my piece, that in and of itself has 3 dimensions.

“Linking of entities – humans with humans, with places, with objects; objects with objects; objects with processes; processes linked with processes – is a major resource for making meaning.” (Kress) The old modes are in black and white and are back to back with the new modes which are in color, with examples of each mode (both in color and in black and white) in between them and each mode is arranged to technologically and/or historically link to the next.

“A frame defines the world to be engaged with; it excludes and it includes; and in doing that it shapes, presents the world according to the interest and the principles of those who frame.” I wanted a project with which a person could engage on a physical level, which is demonstrated in the video. The circular “modes” intersect with and frame the central agent of communication represented by the photo of my face surrounded by black and white images of the ways in which a human engages in communication – singing, talking, typing, listening, etc.

By Sarah McNabb – Text & Image

Appropriately enough, I understood Kress’ meaning, theory  and explanations so much better when they were accompanied by… images. Go figure.

Kress points out that intertwining social, cultural, economic, and technological changes shape the world of communication and that many of the older terms point to shaping present communication purposes, however we should re-examine these terms, for example, representation.  Adequate (presumably new) theoretical tools are needed to address present social, economic, political and cultural conditions for semiosis (meaning making). I agree with this. One cannot measure the outreach of the Internet by treating it exactly like a telegraph. New modes of communication call for new treatments of communication theory.

History affects language, which in turn affects communication and the reach of modes. Trying to gain Kress’ “satellite view” of language by seeing it as one means of among many is very interesting. I agree with Kress’ view that there are some general semiotic principles common to all human communication. For example, everyone smiles at some point and that smile indicates some degree of happiness or gladness or pleasure, just as tears are a common communicator of some form of pain or that throwing up is the body’s way of communicating that something should be expelled for its own good.

I really liked his assertion of an “epistemological commitment” in terms of image representation. As in the cell example, the nucleus has to be drawn in the cell somewhere, but in the spoken or written response there is no commitment about placement (or size or shape). However, when spoken or written, “cell” and “nucleus” have separate names AND a relationship of possession between them that is described and so epistemological commitment takes place. This helps me view the spoken word and image completely differently and identify their relatioship to epistemology within this concept.

Kress’ discussion on authorship and its need to be theorized was also enlightening and pertinent to the times we live in. I think he is right – “plagiarism” seems to be a dated term whereas his description of “cutting and pasting” to create new communication and therefore a redistribution of power in communication is something that should be continually theorized. At what point does one describe “cutting and pasting” as “repurposing”? I think of Andy Warhol’s soup cans or Marilyn Monroe images. He took someone’s pre-made “pieces of communication” and changed their modes and meanings completely. I don’t recall that being widely accepted as plagiarism.

I also found it interesting that he mentions the use of images were not originally as broadly used as they are today. “- from the dominance of writing as the main or at times sole carrier of meaning to an increasing reliance on image.” In looking at old ads from 1920’s on for different products, they certainly used many more descriptive words than images. Today, even one image (such as the Nike swoosh, or the Apple symbol) can condition one to call to mind that company’s slogan without even having it be actually written in the ads (Nike – “Just Do It”, Apple “Think Different”).

I found it interesting that Kress used Noam Chomsky two or three times in his examples and that he was able to explain using semi-made up words to communicate his message when describing his child’s interpretation of what a car was by drawing a series of wheels: “For him, the criterial feature of car was its ‘wheel-ness’; it had many wheels.”

What I found particularly useful in terms of theory was Kress’ discussion on his question Is Layout a Mode? Positioning on a page from left-to right reading direction, right-most position and left-most position creates different meaning-potential. I like the idea that the information hierarchy on a page can carry with it a sub-relationship of meaning to the viewer.