Lexi Yost. “Rhetoric in Digital Forms.” Dublin. Ireland, 2016
Digital forms are found everywhere in our daily environments, and Ireland was no exception. Billboards, brochures, brand logos, storefront ads, and building plaques just barely brush the surface of instances I saw every day in Dublin and Galway. But while visiting Dublin’s Archaeology Museum, I noticed how 3-D maps, artifact coding, and even the layout of certain objects could also be seen as digital forms. There’s this stigma of assuming that rhetoric involves written and oral words only. But, in this class, we’ve learned that rhetoric is made possible when an individual is able to persuade an audience while adapting to appeal to them and the context of the situation.
In the picture above, the tour group and myself were gathered in front of one of Loughcrew’s many centuries-old passage tombs. The conservation team that maintained the tombs and the grounds were proud to share the history of the monument. (They were also very happy to answer questions, which I took full advantage of after the tour). Using laminated models of the back of the tomb and the nearby “Hag’s Rock” stone, visual indications, and the Irish wit and humor, the team was able to share the monument’s story in a fun way. Walter J. Ong explains in his article regarding literature and its many diverse audiences,”Tradition and the Individual Talent,” that: “A history of the ways audiences have been called on to fictionalize themselves would be a correlative of the history of literacy genres and literary works, and indeed of culture itself” (Ong, 4). Every place, like the museum, tourist sites, or even the lesser-known tours such as the Loughcrew one, must consider their audiences before writing speeches, indication symbols and references to artifacts, and signs telling about bigger tourist sites.
In Galway, like Dublin, centuries-old buildings were transformed so that they would be able to serve a different purpose. Like the picture above, this pub used to be the site of the Galway council; the courthouse where decisions for the (much smaller then) city were made. Historically, King Charles I was beheaded in front of the building, and the pub took full advantage of the past event and coined the building “The King’s Head”. Because of the King’s beheading, and the indicating name, the old council building has been repurposed into one of the most famous and visited pubs in Galway City. Another example is Lynch Castle, the building pictured to the left. The exterior still sports the Lynch’s crest and family molding, but it now serves as an AIB Bank along Dublin’s main walk. The History is boasted by a plaque on the outside wall, but the repurposing of the building into a functional financial institution helps bring in local customers, and is added to the map of must-see buildings in Galway. Just like the buildings were repurposed to serve other functions, we had the opportunity to repurpose digital writings into other forms as well. For our repurposing assignment in the Theory and Practice of Writing course, I transformed an old paper on zombie culture and lore into a magazine cover and article page. Though it is different than a building repurposing its function to another business with the same external form, I was able to explore repurposing within different forms (from literary paper to a pop-culture magazine medium). This, like the buildings’ repurposing, attracts different audiences, and functions within a different context than the one it was previously in.
Lexi Yost. “COFFEE.” Ireland, 2016
Anyone who knows me knows I love coffee. And not just love it: LOVE it. It is crucial to every morning for me, and sometimes late afternoons as well. In Ireland, I was more than
excited to try different kinds, and explore different brands and businesses of my most favorite drink. Throughout the four main cities we went to, I sampled countless cups of coffee and numerous coffee shops. To remember my ‘coffee experience’, I took a picture of either the cup or the business, and added it to my photo collection. While thinking of different digital forms, I realized that these coffee brands are a great example of them. The logos and brands not only display unique design-work, but in doing so, add a rhetorical spin onto the business itself. It’s no secret that design work is appealing to the customer, and every logo and visualization is meant to signify the brand/business, and to attract potential buyers. But what I found unique about the Irish coffee cups is that they not only used visual design work, but also used certain fonts and literary sayings to brand their product (a rhetorical strategy). Diana George, the author of “From Analysis to Design”, says: “Throughout the history of writing instruction in this country, there has been some attention to the visual nature of written composition… to emphasize the importance of handwriting or penmanship as a visual representation of the writer’s character” (Miller, 1439). The “writer” can also apply to the coffee shops owner, as they want their design work – the scripts, drawings, and fonts – to successfully reflect the wanted atmosphere and personality of the brand.