COM 2010 Volume 15

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  • ItemOpen Access
    Exploring reaction to subliminal codes in print advertising
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2010) Judeel, Ilse; Mulder, Dalme; Beelders, Tania
    Advertising is a huge industry and has a perpetual influence on any economy. Although visual communication lies at the core of advertising effectiveness, the power of visual communication does not nearly receive the attention it deserves. One of the more controversial areas of visual communication in advertising is called subliminal advertising. In subliminal advertising, covert visual messages/images are used to communicate with the audience. This type of communication occurs below the threshold of an individual’s awareness. However, the question whether subliminal signs do communicate or persuade has been debated for several decades. In this study, eyetracking research was combined with qualitative research to determine the reaction of individuals when being exposed to print advertisements containing subliminal embeds. The study did not aim to explain if, how or why this subliminal embeds might work or not; only whether they can be seen. According to the results, subliminal embeds in print advertising can only be seen once pointed out to the respondents. However, a large number of respondents’ eye-gaze were fixed on the subliminal embeds, even though they did not report seeing it.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Contextualising the sax appeal and the Danish cartoon furores for South Africa
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2010) Jones, Nicola
    This article discusses what a free and responsible press means in pluralistic democracies, focussing specifically on whether that includes the freedom to offend. It argues that there is a distinction between hate speech and offensive speech, as the latter has no malicious intent, but rather occurs in interpretation. The article argues that pluralistic societies such as South Africa need a relatively wide area reserved for controversial speech, so long as it is not hate speech, as toleration of controversial or offensive speech is a difficult but fundamental feature of an open society. This raises the notion of the use of satire in a developing country; where the Sax Appeal cartoons are concerned, the article discusses the wider ramifications of the University of Cape Town pledging to “censor” future student publications, as well as considering the argument put forward by David Benatar, who argues that to pander to “sensitivities” only encourages more indignation and gradually shuts down the range of matters about which we can joke. The article ultimately argues for the necessity of keeping channels of uncomfortable communication open in order to build mutual understanding in a divided society who are ignorant of others’ cultural norms.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The 'visual spectacle' of soap opera and reality television
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2010) Burger, Mariekie
    In contrast to the concerns of scholars that the visual spectacle of television lulls audiences into passive consumption of pre-packaged entertainment, this article argues that popular television formats can address matters of social concern. It is shown that reality television and soap operas can engage the audience into actively taking part in 1) formulating messages for the television serials, 2) reflecting on the media messages, and 3) participating in identification processes. It is this active participation in formulating and reflecting on the televised messages and the identification processes (with the celebrity persona of the programme presenter and/or the fictional characters in the fictional soap opera and/or the authenticity of ordinary people that appear on reality television) that counters passive consumption of pre-packaged media entertainment. Furthermore, if media entertainment is used to enhance dialogue through such audience participation regarding matters of social concern, the assumptions of the latest approaches to social change/development communication are adhered to. In this article four South African television programmes, Soul City, Kwanda, Khumbul’ekhaya and Zola 7, are discussed as edutainment programmes that actively seek to address matters of social concern.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Using visual data to 'save lives' in the age of AIDS?
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2010) Mnisi, Thoko; De Lange, Naydene; Mitchell, Claudia
    This article outlines the use of a digital archive, a data set of staged photos around HIV and Aids related stigma, with educators in two rural schools, exploring their views on using it in their teaching to address stigma. A qualitative research approach, using community-based participatory methodology, was used with educators in two rural schools. The findings suggest that the use of ICT in a rural context can enable educators to access, create and share digital material, which is relevant and realistic and individually tailored, in creative ways to address HIV and Aids related stigma in the school. Technology can facilitate community participation in the production of local knowledge, however, language, computer literacy and access continue to remain a barrier. This work is exploratory and encourages further work around how visual data in a digital archive can facilitate social change.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Copyright issues about prosumer-produced digital visual culture productions
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2010) Pitcher, Sandra
    The way in which culture and society is derived has changed drastically since the expansion of globalisation. The effects garnered by such an expansion have left individual citizens feeling “lost” within a fragmented physical space (Holmes 2005). The Internet and digital technologies have, however, opened an avenue for the discovery of new social networks and communities. Online users have found it possible to navigate the fragmented state of the physical world by engaging with online networks of like-minded users. Video sharing sites in particular give users the opportunity to interact with mainstream culture, while simultaneously offering them the chance to broadcast their own renditions of culture. Problematically, these videos are often seen as infringing on traditional forms of copyright as video creators often utilise various forms of mainstream mass media, and re-mix them to formulate their own alternative narrative. This article, however, explores the importance that such videos can play in terms of cultural development within postmodern society, while simultaneously advocating the need to re-think copyright practices in order to not stifle the continued development of culture.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Cinema and communication: 'cinelogic' and 'cinaesthesis'
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2010) Olivier, Bert
    The article explores the various ways in which cinema “communicates” meaning, making use of the five materials of film, namely three of an auditory nature and two of a visual nature: dialogue, soundtrack (music) and noise on the one hand, and images and graphic elements on the other. This is not all there is to it, because all these materials are unavoidably appropriated by filmmakers in the guise of various signifiers, each with its own signified, along the trajectories of two signifying axes of meaning, to wit, the syntagmatic and the paradigmatic, respectively, on both of which certain codes are audiovisually inscribed. But even a thorough overview of these elements of meaning-generation is not sufficient to understand the way that film communicates – one has to follow Deleuze in his radical philosophy of the cinema, and scrutinise the difference between the cinema of the movement-image, and the cinema of the time-image. This article claims that this complex intertwinement of signifying elements is the way that film communicates. Relevant films will be discussed to demonstrate how this happens.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Kuns en die kommunikasie van andersheid
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2010) Roodt, Anton
    Abstract not available
  • ItemOpen Access
    Third screens, third cinema, third worlds and triadomania: examining cellphilm aesthetics in visual culture
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2010) Dockney, Jonathan; Tomaselli, Keyan G.
    This article discusses cellphilm aesthetics and their resultant effect for visual culture in the 21st century. The new media have impacted traditional analogue structures with profound effects. The cellphone, for example, has become a part of the film and television industries. Accessibility and relative ease of use have ensured their popularity. The article operates from previous work on cellphilms and establishes an argument for the social value that cellphilms have and their attendant social impacts. What becomes important is not so much their comparative aesthetic qualities, but what these qualities mean for their users and the social contexts. The article discusses aesthetics based on work on many cellphilms including Shane (WFC 2009a), Trains (WFC 2009b), The Sacred Orchid (2009), Pussy G’awn Crazy (2010), and Aryan Kaganof’s SMS Sugar Man (2008).
  • ItemOpen Access
    Reflective visual literacy: far more than meets the eye
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2010) Jordaan, Danie
    The commonly accepted notion that a picture is worth a thousand words paradoxically places greater communicative value on images than on spoken or written language. Ironically, a lingering precedence of letters and numbers over images still characterize “enlightened” contemporary discourse, in spite of many claims that we live in a society dominated by the visual. This article explores the hermeneutics of photographs and visual images on a conceptual level, touching on issues such as validity of interpretation, the fallacy of a universally understood and pictorial language and the distinction between functional visual literacy and nuanced reflective visual literacy. Finally it makes a case for including visual literacy as part of the formal curricula at school and at tertiary level.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Strategies for stabilising pictorial meaning in a low-literate target group
    (Department of Communication Science, University of Free State, 2010) Gaede, Rolf. J
    The article discusses the process of developing a nutrition education calendar for an elderly, low-literate target group in Sharpeville. This occurred in three phases: (a) an ex-post evaluation of the existing nutrition education material to identify communicative defects (n=140), (b) pre-testing a sample of semantic units drawn from a draft version of the nutrition education calendar (n=102), and (c) checking whether the target group would like to move away from the adopted illustration approach approximately one year after it was disseminated free of charge in the community (n=106). In all three phases questionnaires, completed by a research assistant in the presence of the respondent, were used as the data collection instrument. The main findings were that (a) several shortcomings relating to object recognition and the logical fit between the caption and the visual image were identified in the first phase, (b) the preferred degree of visual abstraction emerged as the main issue during the pretesting of the draft nutrition education calendar, and (c) during the third phase the respondents opted to stay with the illustration approach, rejecting the possible introduction of alternative illustration styles. Taken together, the three phases of the study illustrate strategies for stabilising the notoriously unstable visual communication component of nutrition education materials.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Visual communication - a transcendental empirical-perspective
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2010) Strauss, D. F. M.
    The recent pictorial turn, succeeded by a visual turn, led to a new appreciation of visual communication in human culture. Communication is normally associated with subjectsubject rela tions. The qualification “visual” entails an important demarcation and restriction for it mainly concerns (lingual and non-lingual) signs, sketches, tables, typographi cal designs, and so on. What is taken for granted are the spoken and the (electronically or non-electronically) written word. Attention is given to the remarkable differences between animals and human beings regarding their visual capacities within the visible world. It appears that ani mals select only a limited section from what is available to them within their visible world. Yet, there are animals that can register supersonic waves, see ultraviolet rays as light, fish can sense electrical fields, and birds use the magnetic poles of the earth as navigating devices – all senses lacking in a human being. Within the human visual field human beings are capable of perceiving many more things than what they are actually noticing. This coheres with the absence of inborn activating mechanisms in humans. Given the mysterious complexity of the eye, the important difference be tween animals and human perception is found in the distinctively human capacity to discern, to locate, to be attentive to something within a person’s visual field. This ability to be attentive is indeed decisive for visual communica tion. It is argued that the difference between oral and visual communication actually may serve to provide a criterion to distinguish between the science of ethnology and the science of history.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The current state of research in the social sciences
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2010) Mayekiso, Thoko
    Abstract not available
  • ItemOpen Access
    Visual dimensions of academic discourse in higher education
    (Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2010) Archer, Arlene
    This article explores the visual nature of academic discourse within Higher Education in South Africa. It provides insight into the increasing influence of the visual in academic writing – arguing that the materiality and visuality of writing be considered alongside cognitive dimensions. The visual design of writing includes considering aspects such as spelling, typography, emphasis and layout. The article also considers the affordances of images and writing, the function of the visual, and the relations between images and writing. The aim is to create awareness in order to assist students in becoming conscious and active designers of meaning in a multimodal environment.