ACT UP brought together people from all races, genders, sexualities, classes, and professional backgrounds. They were united in a common purpose: to force people in power who were ignoring HIV/AIDS (and the deaths of hundreds of thousands) to acknowledge the epidemic and, most importantly, to use their power to help save lives. Graphic designers, visual artists, and writers played a major role in ACT UP. They envisioned and shaped the visual identity of AIDS activism, or the “brand” of the movement, if we want to use that word. Below I have pasted images that were designed for ACT UP campaigns. This week I am asking you to analyze the visual rhetorics of one these major images, and I will comment on your writing. This assignment will still count as part of your weekly assignment grade. However, now I know you better as writers. : ) I want to seize the opportunity of this little bit of knowledge that I have gained so far to comment on your efforts in the weekly writing assignments.
Your assignment is the following:
- Look at all of the images and choose the one you want to write about. (In order to look at them more closely I recommend dragging an image to your desk top and then opening it to enlarge it).
- In a 250-word paragraph, analyze the visual rhetorics of your chosen image. Remember to DESCRIBE then INTERPRET, drawing clear connections between your descriptions and interpretations. You may choose to refer to anything you learned from the first half of the documentary How to Survive a Plague, which we viewed on Thursday. Ultimately, I want you to use your rhetorical analysis (your description, your connection-making, and your theorizing) in order to advance an argument about the intended effect of your chosen image. What did the creator want people to feel, do, or avoid? How is the image working upon people’s visual and verbal perceptions in order to persuade them accordingly?
- Revise. I will print and comment on these writings, so invest as much time and effort as you can in editing. That said, I will not grade them a letter grade. Your substantial completion of the task will be logged into the weekly assignments and will weigh evenly with the others.
- Last, I realize that we have not discussed basic information about HIV/AIDS transmission and other health-oriented facts that are essential to your understanding of this unit. If you want clear info, I encourage you to read the following: https://aidsinfo.nih.gov/understanding-hiv-aids/fact-sheets/19/45/hiv-aids–the-basics