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How do you read [this image]? – pete rorabaugh

pete rorabaugh

father | atlantan | cyclist | educator | scholar | union member

How do you read [this image]?

Reflections in class . . .

  • Memes: the same images (Obama/Biden pictures) can be spun from two different ideological perspectives depending on the text associated with them (ex: “everyone gets a participation award”).
  • The intention of an image (specifically it’s connotation) as certain but porous.
  • Fitzgerald’s quote from The Crack-Up: “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”

Leads to a discussion of Barbara Kruger’sĀ UntitledĀ (2000) which reads “Everything will be ok …” and the multiple ways in which it can be read. Katherine and Alex lead the discussion on how the image (pictured above) can be seen as pessimistic, earnest, whimsical, etc. depending on the details one lifts out to “support” that reading. I kept wanting to read the image as ironic and/or pessimistic — why? I think I figured it out when I Googled an image search of Kruger’s work (see here) and her proclivity for attacking/critiquing figures of power.

And while looking for a web-friendly version of the Kruger image to post, I came across this Tumblr post from an Agnes Scott alum citing the print, missing the print, and remembering a lecture about the print. Genius.






2 responses to “How do you read [this image]?”

  1. Chris Avatar

    “Hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function” – this is the key to dialectical behavior therapy, isn’t it?

  2. Nell Avatar

    How wonderful to see that tumblr post!!

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