IAH 241C: Everyday Life
Assignment 3: “Art into Life”
This is a creative assignment that builds off of assignment 2 by employing a process of defamiliarization.
1) Begin by identifying a commonplace thing or expression with which you would like to work. It may be the same as the one that you wrote about last time, or it may be different. Again, think about the components of the myth. What does the myth say? What is the rhetoric of the myth? What are the formal elements through which the myth is constructed? How does society reproduce that myth? What are the historical and political contingencies that are being elided by its mythification?
2) Come up with a creative way of making that myth visible by making it strange, or introducing disharmony into an otherwise unified or harmonious situation. Techniques might include:
-altering temporality by slowing a situation down or speeding it up through extended description or jarring abbreviation
-undermining seeming uniqueness by introducing repetition
-breaking the seamlessness of an image by juxtaposing or overlaying another content that reveals the assumptions or values of the original
-shifting an affective register: comedy becomes horror, becomes romance, becomes tragedy
-literalizing a metaphor
-altering something that is integral to the object/practice such as color or medium
-shifting a perspective or re-framing
In inventing a process, consider the models that we have looked at in class: those that André Breton describes in Nadja, the fictionalization of ethnography in Moi, un noir or the rupture between image and sound in Reassemblage, intentional misapplication of a tool such as in Martha Rosler’s Semiotics of the Kitchen (on D2L or youtube), etc. Remember, as Shklovsky says, the purpose of defamiliarization is to “make the stone stony.” It is not to turn the stone into ice, wood, feathers, or gold. The original should become more legible through your creative intervention, since the process of defamiliarization should reveal some previously masked truth of the thing in question. The idea here is to create a new thought for your subject, make something that was previously overlooked perceptible, and refresh the habitual.
3) Provide an analysis of your process in a 1-2 page description and analysis that must include relevant quotes from Shklovksy. The style of the paper should be formal. Avoid using “I” and “you,” as well as contractions such as “don’t,” “it’s,” and “aren’t.” Also, please be attentive to singular/plural agreement, as well as general rules of grammar.
This paper—including whatever illustrations, photographs, URLs, etc you may produce—should be submitted as a .doc, .docx, or .txt file to the d2l drop box by 9pm. If there is a component of your work that cannot be submitted to the drop box, be sure to bring it to class by March 10 at latest.
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