Instructor: Luciano Frizzera, Ph.D. Student in Communication Studies
Contact: lucaju@gmail.com | Twitter | luciano.fluxo.art.br
Time: Wednesday from 1:15 pm – 4:00 pm
Location: CJ 4.240
Office hours: Wednesdays 11:00 am – 12:30 pm (Office CJ 4.260) or by appointment


Why is there an emphasis on ‘visual’ communication and not the other senses? How has certain media framed how we literally see and experience the world? What kind of cultural practices of seeing have been naturalized for certain communities and why? What is the role of technology in visual communication? What are the visual strategies to communicate an idea? How can we interrupt/intervene on and with such visual practices? These are some of the questions we are exploring in this course.

This course introduces the basic principles of visual forms of communication, and considers the relationship of visual and verbal components within media messages. It also presents various modes of visual communication, considers their place within cultural understandings of representation, and examines the place of the visual within contemporary culture.

The visual is often questionably perceived as one of the most important out of the five senses. As participants, witnesses, consumers, and producers of/to visual mediated experiences, there is an overlaying assumption that the “visual” merely includes things we can see before us. Rarely are we introduced to the diverse ways of seeing, some that include the visible, less visible, and invisible, and how such practices can shift and/or radicalize how to engage with different media. This course will invite students to inquire and reflect on their own practices of seeing, and how such processes have affected their own movement through the world.

We, as citizens, students, researchers, and communication enthusiasts, will explore the ethics and complexities of ‘visuality,’ particularly on issues of cognition, audience reception, personal identity, human relationally, and culture. Over the duration of this course, students will be introduced to theoretical perspectives grounded in Communication and Cultural studies, as well as in Software Studies, Film, New Media, Critical Geography, Semiotics, Games Studies, and Visual Cognition Sciences. Through a series of class-led group discussions, close readings, and media workshops alongside weekly lectures, this course will lend critical ‘lens’ to what we call ‘visual communication’ and its effects on ourselves and the society as a whole.

Course Objectives

– To understand a range of concept and theories applicable and useful in visual communication.

– To explore and analyze a variety of theories on image reception and meaning making.

– To engage in critical ways of “seeing” and evaluate the complexities of what it means “to see’.

– To consider major debates in visual communication and mobilize an ethical response in relation to issues involving visual communication.


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