Basic Background: My focal topic is ending solitary confinement. The purpose of my project is to shed light on the issue of solitary confinement and the mental constraints it puts on prisoners. I would also like the project to be online on social media, to be hanging around peace and justice centers, to be hanging around court buildings, and to be printed on clothing for people to make statements by using fashion. I would like it to reach an audience that is not constantly thinking about the subject, so it can be fresh on someone’s mind, and maybe they will take action. I hope the visual-textual assignment will reach radical/progressive college students. It could be printed and posted around campuses, near courthouses, in peace and justice centers across the nation, and on social media or organization’s website, such as ACLU and the Catholic Mobilizing Network. It could also be sent out to their subscribers in an email to reach an audience that I know cares about the subject.
Process: When given this assignment, I was contemplating whether to my project on police brutality on POC in America, ending solitary confinement, and one other thing that I can’t remember but will had to my final reflection. I knew I wanted my project to be a social issue that I cared about, but I also wanted it to be a bit radical as well – something that other people wouldn’t do. When I started looking for an image, I already had something in mind but could not find what I wanted, so I had to go for my next best option. The image I chose was a bit antique but I think it gets the purpose across. I allowed my project to be looked at by classmates and incorporated the following feedback: later I will look at what I wrote on my feedback blog and add to this.
Rhetoric: I chose my audience based on organizations I know that would support this work but also those who may not know much about it. I sort of assumed that people who are advocates of the ACLU and Catholic Mobilizing Network would also support this work. My project does not really use kairos. Solitary confinement has been around for ages but people aren’t really talking about it now and only a few are talking about ending it – specifically ending solitary confinement for children. Maybe this could start the conversation.
Design/Visual Rhetoric: I chose a photo that was black and white and held strong somber emotions because that is part of the message I want to get across. I wanted the word “end” to be the focal point of the project, so I used a large, bold font. I also wanted viewers to know the exact purpose of the project, which is why I wanted it to be specific in saying “end solitary confinement.”I edited the gradient/transparency of the photo to make the wording pop more. I also included a fake organization at the bottom. I wanted to give the project credibility, so I made up a website and put “.org” at the end. I also defined what the website was so viewers would know.
Copyright/Fair Use and Digital Ethics: For my visual-textual project, I am using an image from Creative Commons that can be manipulated, instead of using an image from Google images. By using Creative Commons, I can be sure that my piece is not a form of copyright infringement. To make sure I do not violate copyright laws, I have to make sure that the photo I use from Creative Commons is one that can be manipulated. On their site, these images are labelled as “Labeled for reuse with modification.” Although this project will be used for educational purposes, knowing about copyright laws and applying them are important principles to learn.
Successes and Areas for Improvement: If I could change anything, I would want to change the image to one that is more modern. It was very difficult to find a solitary confinement photo let alone one with an actual person in it. I understand that the privacy of prisoners is important as well, so it may not be appropriate to take pictures of them. However, I would have liked a wider variety to choose from.