Diagnosing the State of Rhetoric through X-Ray Images

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Diagnosing the State of Rhetoric through X-Ray Images
Bianchi, Melissa M
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[Gainesville, Fla.]
University of Florida
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1 online resource (37 p.)

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Master's ( M.A.)
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University of Florida
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Committee Chair:
Dobrin, Sidney I
Committee Members:
Gries, Laurie E
Harpold, Terry A
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Subjects / Keywords:
Body image ( jstor )
Death ( jstor )
Dialectic ( jstor )
Diseases ( jstor )
Image processing ( jstor )
Images ( jstor )
Origami ( jstor )
Poetry ( jstor )
Rhetoric ( jstor )
Silicosis ( jstor )
English -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
media -- rhetoric -- studies -- visual -- x-ray
The X ( local )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent) ( marcgt )
born-digital ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
English thesis, M.A.


Despite current divergences between approaches to analyzing texts and images, the study of rhetoric need not be partitioned into specific subfields for verbal and visual language. Rather, rhetorical methodology should traverse distinctions between visual and verbal grammars and human sensory perception, focusing on the work itself and the ecology of influences on its meanings and medium. Building on W. J. T. Mitchell’s concept of the imagetext and Ian Bogost’s notion of procedural rhetoric, the analysis of a text’s creation and audience interaction (both mechanically and behaviorally) are vital to understanding the rhetorical efficacy of images and mixed media works. This point is illustrated through an examination of the X-ray image, building on the individual works of Lisa Cartwright, José van Dijck, and Maud Radstake. (Re)Appropriations of the X-ray image in works like Wilhelm Roentgen’s Hand with Rings, Muriel Rukeyser’s The Book of the Dead, Takayuki Hori’s Oritsunagumono, and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment’s Mortal Kombat 2011 are used to demonstrate how rhetorical studies might benefit from a reconceptualization that accounts for visual and verbal communication without the need for a specific subfield for either. By pointing to and demonstrating how procedure (both creative and interactive) can influence the meaning of an imagetext, these X-rays illuminate a space for rhetoric to bridge the gap between visual and verbal analysis. ( en )
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In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
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Includes vita.
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Thesis (M.A.)--University of Florida, 2012.
Adviser: Dobrin, Sidney I.
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by Melissa M Bianchi.

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2 2012 Melissa M. Bianchi


3 To all who nurtured my intellectual curiosity, academic interests, and sense of scho larship throughout my lifetime


4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I thank the chair and members of my supervisory c ommittee for their mentorship and guidance I thank my loving parents and sister for their support and encouragement, which motivated me to complete my study. I would also like to thank Gareth and my peers at UF for making sure that I worked hard and har dly worked in moderation Lastly, I thank Eve and Marra for helping me keep everything in perspective


5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 4 LIST OF F IGURES ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 6 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 7 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 9 2 X RAY ANALYSES ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 14 The First X ray Image: Hand mit Ringen ................................ ................................ ............... 14 The Ekphratic X ray: Reading the Imagetext ................................ ................................ ......... 18 Origami X Rays: The Three Dimensional Art Object ................................ ............................ 22 X Ray Attack Mode: The Rhetoric of Digital Media ................................ ............................. 25 3 SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION ................................ ................................ ....................... 33 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 36 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 37


6 LIST OF FIGURES Fig ure page 2 1 Hand mit Ringen (Hand with Rings). X ............. 29 2 2 Oritsun agumono Eight animal origami sculptures and their unfolded x rays (2010). ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 29 2 3 Oritsunagumono note the colored portion within the sculpture (2010). ................................ ........................ 30 2 4 Close Oritsunagumono note the foreign object in the X ray sculpture (2010). ................................ ................................ ..... 30 2 5 Unfolded X Oritsunagumono (2010). ................................ ...... 31 2 6 Mortal Kombat ( 2011 ) Images of characters performing X ray attacks from. A) Scorpion. B) Mile ena. ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 31 2 7 ray attack on Kabal from Mortal Kombat (2011). ................................ ......... 32 2 8 Sub ray attack. Here, he them with his hand in Mortal Kombat (2011). ................................ ................................ .. 32


7 Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requ irements for the Degree of Master of Arts DIAGNOSING THE STATE OF RHETORIC THROUGH X RAY IMAGES By Melissa M. Bianchi May 2012 Chair: Sid Dobrin Major: English Despite current divergences between approache s to analyzing texts and images, the study of rhetoric need not be partitioned into specific subfields for verbal and visual language. Rather, rhetorical methodology c ould traverse distinctions between visual and verbal grammars and human sensory percept ion, focusing on the ecology of influences on a work s meanings and medium. imagetext (both mechanically and behaviorally) are vital to understanding the rhetorical efficacy of images and mixed media works. This point is illustrated through an examination of the X ray image, building on the individual works of Lisa Cartwright, Jos van Dij ck, and Maud Radstake (Re)Appropriations of the X ray image in works like Hand with Rings The Book of the Dead Oritsunagumono and Warner Mortal Kombat 2011 are use d to demonstrate how rhetorical studies might benefit from a reconceptualization that accounts for visual and verbal communication without the need for a specific subfield for either. By pointing to and demonstrating how procedure (both creative and inter active) can influence the meaning of an


8 imagetext X ray images illuminate a space for rhetoric to br idge the gap between visual and verbal analysis.


9 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION It is undeniable has forced a schism in our theoretical approach to rhetoric between examining t exts and analyzing images. Many rhetoricians like Charles A. Hill and Marguerite Helmers argue that the two modes of communication are far too dissimilar from one another to b e unified under a single rhetorical method, and yet it is still necessary that rhetorical studies address the visual in order to remain relevant to modern communication in the digital age of technology. As a result, the delineation between verbal and visu al language has largely influenced the formation of visual rhetoric as a separate sub field of rhetorical studies Distinct from visual communication and visual culture studies, the study of visual rhetoric investigates broadly how images transmit meaning through mediation and representation. However, Hill and Helmers grapple with identifying a clear ly rhetorical approach for analyzing images drawing on methodologies from as disparate fields as art criticism, semiotics, anthropology, psychology, and neuro science. Such methodologies though they may be useful in certain contexts generally problematize the relationship between visual and verbal rhetoric, devaluing visual rhetoric as while privileging its oral and textual cou nterpart s because images do not perfectly fit the classic verbal model of rhetoric. As a result rhetoric has become an ever diverging field split between the image and the text where either form is valued over the other when focus should be placed up on what W. J. T. the imagetext (89). The imagetext is how Mitchell conceptualizes works of art, demonstrating that media, combining different codes, discursive con ventions, channels, sensory and cognitive 94 95). imagetext acknowledges the distinction between verbal and visual


10 modes of communication, while accounting for the mixing of historical, institutional, and disciplinary influences at play in such works. As a result, the concept of imagetext allows for a unified approach to art criticism that addresses the complexity of multi modality rather than separating verbal and visual language because of their grammatical differences. Similar to Mi offer one possible avenue through which we may consider the rhetoric of multi modal media without privileging either the text or the image over the other and without disregarding the heterogeneous context of such works. I propose that rhetorical study should investigate in part, how procedure and its relation to audience shape all forms of rhetoric My contention draws specifically on the research of Ian Bogost and his concept of procedural rhetoric. In P ersuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames Bogost proposes procedural rhetoric as a method to examine visual media critically in particular video games. While he believes that studying images in all media is a valuable endeavor, he focuses part icularly on video games as a form of procedural media because their on, content anal ysis and semiotics (Rose 30 31) do not address fully the rhetorical implications of Bogost argues that by investigating the procedures of the texts we can address ho w process shapes the rhetorical meaning of a work. Bogost defines procedural rhetoric as the practice of authoring arguments through processes. Following the classical model, procedural rhetoric entails persuasion to change opinion or action. Following the contemporary model, procedural rhetoric entails expression to convey ideas effectively. Procedural rhetoric is a subdomain of procedural authorship; its arguments are made not through the construction of words or images, but through the authorship of rules of behavior, the construction of dynamic models. In computation, those rules are authored in code, through the practice of programming. (28 29)


11 analysis fo r rhetorical studies the rules and behaviors of engaging with a text inform the rhetoric al efficacy of the object. Adding to Bogost, if we conceptualize procedural rhetoric as stemming from both the processes that create a particular work (production) a nd as the rules and behaviors that govern engagement with a text (interaction) w e allow for a more holistic methodology of rhetorical studies that can be used to address verbal, visual, and multimodal media alongside one another Production and int eraction themselves are heterogeneous processes comprised of both mechan ical and behavioral elements, and I would argue that their interrelations in any text determine largely the rhetoric of the object. On a similar note, Bogost claims that procedural rh computational or not that accomplishes its i how broadly the concept of procedural rhetoric can be applied in rhetorical a nalysis by examining the processes of creating and engag ing X ray images as they occur in different media forms. X ray images are ideal subjects for demonstrating the influence of procedure on rhetoric given that they have a well documented history of be ing widely circulated across disciplinary lines, cultural boundaries, and technological media forms to different audience groups ray images is partially regulated by the discipline in which the image and audience co exist, determining which individuals can and cannot see, read, and react to the image. These limitations on visual literacy are highly apparent in both science and medicine, as X ray images are inherently dominated by both the mechanical and behavioral procedur es of these fields experimental process and clinical practice, respectively. The


12 procedural rhetoric of the radiograph is also evident even in its digital art facsimiles created outside of laboratory settings and medical technology. Given this knowledge, I will examine X Hand with Rings Muriel The Book of the Dead Oritsunagumono and Warner Bros. Mortal Kombat (2011) Through my analysis of these objects I hope to determine how and why the rhetoric of the original X ray image has been appropriated by popular medi a. In doing so, I also aim to illustrate that moving beyond traditional methods of examining visual rhetoric such as b y investigating procedure allows for more nuanced readings of how text and images can communicate meaning. My research on the production of and audience interaction with X ray images draws largely on work conducted by Lisa Cartwright, Jos van Dijck, a nd Maud Radstake all of whom have studied medical technologies and diagnostic imaging and their intersections with popular media. Each offer s a different approach to reading diagnostic imaging and its shaping of how we discuss such visuals in relation to rhetoric. In her research, Cartwright claims that the representational conventions of medical and media technologies are not substantially distinct from one another, and that they utilize similar techniques to generate their meaning (137). Van Dijck buil technologies with meaning, looking at how and why medical images are made, to whom they are distributed, and what they signify in particular historical contexts (13). Lastly, Ra dstake investigates how audience conceptions of illness, subjectivity, and objectivity change when media images and medical images are blurred together through technologies that allow doctors and patients to visualize interior spaces of the body (119). I aim to expand upon Cartwright, van on the circulation of X rays by continuing to trace the procedural


13 rhetoric of the X ray image through popular me dia forms, identifying how these images create meaning through attention to p


14 CHAPTER 2 X RAY ANALYSES The First X ray Image: Hand mit Ringen Th e historical processes that led to the discovery of X ray radiation and later X ray imaging machines are evident in the X for scientific experimentation and technological innovation To elaborate, X ray radiation was discovered in 1895 by German physicist Wilhelm Roentgen as he was experiment ing with a Crookes tube and a fluorescent screen painted with barium platinocyanide Roentgen had wrapped the Crookes tube in black cardboard to keep its visible light from interfering with his work, and soon noticed that a faint, green glow had appeared on the screen. He surmised that invisible rays from the Crookes tube were passing through the black cardboard to create the screen glow. The inadvertent nature of coupled with later experiments by Thomas Edison marked the radiograph as a signifier of scientific achievement that would later be associated with techn ological progress as the X oughly two months after initial discovery imbuing the scientific symbol with an element of mystery. ch culminated in a New Kind of Ray: A Preliminary C Wrzburg's Physical where he refers to this newly discovered iation (Cartwright 113). Aside field of sensory perception allowed by the X ray wavelength. Unlike the v isible light spectrum to which hu mans are naturally ac customed to X ray radiation can only be perceived through radiographs by making what cannot typically be seen visible to the naked eye. The unusual


15 by associati on the wavelength and images that it names, by giving them a sense of mystery and abnormality. As a result, X ray technology would later be adopted by the science fiction genre as a signifier of the supernatural or the paranormal. Heroes like Superman ar e endowed with X ray vision as a marker of their atypical or abnormal powers of discernment Roentgen is also credited with creating the first X ray image of the human body which would give new meaning to the X ray image as a representation for a se ries of dialectics (see Figure 2 1). Hand mit Ringen as the first radiograph was called, depicts Bertha Roentgen hand wearing a wedding ring (Glasser 39). Although Mrs. Roentgen ray is not as clear as many modern radiographs, the image reveal s the bones of her left hand and the large dark spot that marks her ring. ray became the first among several X rays taken of among the many physicians who immediately rays taken of their hands covered with jewelry, to il women gave X The popularity of such images was short lived, however, after it was discovered that exposure to X rays was Glasser, when [Roentgen] showed the picture to [his wife], she could hardly believe that this bony hand was her own and shuddered at the thought that she was se eing her skeleton. To Mrs. Roentgen, as to many others later, this experience gave a vague premonition of death (Glasser 39) death. By 1903 the link between X rays and organic injury was well established, evidenced by


16 an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Thoma ray emitting tube close to his stomach during research (499 died after several amputations attempting to prevent the spread of an X ray in duced carcinoma that he (Brecher 163). Given this history of the X ray and the processes of its initial circulation and later effects on the human body, t he first X ray signifies both the dialectic between the subjective and objective and between life and death. Reading the visual elements in the image the finger bones and the wedding ring beyond signifying the relationship between the photographer and the subject the procedural rhetoric of Hand mitt Ringen echoes this union in what ostensibly becomes the nature of all X ray images, namely a marriage. The X ray image represents several processes that are essentially unifications of oppositions: the deadly radiatio n exposure to the documentation of living subjects, and the static, skeletal image to the active, moving body (Cartwright 131 and Dijck 93). T he image is taken up as a wedding gift, emphasi zing the bond T he popul arity of the X ray among women as a means to display their jewelry is indicative of another procedural dialectic inherent to the X ray image, one between subjectivity and objectivity i.e. the truth of beauty (captured in the image) is that it is not simply skin deep. Correlatively, in the X the subjectivity/objectivity graph also combines


17 the process of creation (through experimentation and discovery) with that of destruction the damaging effects of X ray waves on the human body. In previous studies of X ray images, theorists like Cartwright and Dijck have demonstrated that radiographs are visuals that are inherently dialectical The X ray can function as both an object of science and of art, blending the representational qualities of medical and media technologies (Cartwright 107), and perhaps the most obvious process the X ray represents is that of making visual what cannot be observed normally with the naked eye (being able to see the un seeable.) These dualities are inscribed upon all X ray images through the technological process of its creation and through the pro cess of engaging the X ray image as an object, all of which infor m how we read the X ray in the The Book of the Dead Oritsunagumono version of Mo rtal Kombat (2011) X ray images are used to ev oke and/or subvert these dialectic s to generate meaning, and they are effective in that they work with the specific knowledge of the historical origins of the X ray, the visual e procedural methods of the medium itself. M y investigation of these w orks is predicated on the similar function of the X ray image in them and, in part, on the different ways in which the artists in each case develop and manipulate the radiograph. Like the initial discovery of X rays, these works experiment with different medi a to create an X ray image. These texts also rely on the infected and violated body presented in the X ray image as a metonym for larger sociocultural pr oblems, environmental issue s, or the processes of interacting with the art object. In her poetry, Rukeyser addresses the devastating events of the Hawk's Nest Incident in Gauley Bridge, West Virginia, through the effects of pollution on Japan's


18 coastal waterways through the polluted bodies of native animal species. Mortal Kombat (2011) strives for a hyperreal ist depiction of violence enacted upon the interior spaces of the human figure. According to Cartwright, early r adiology films reinvested the X ray image with texts expands upon the flatness of the X ray image (both literally and figuratively) by giving it additional dimensions through technological process: Rukeyser through textual devices such as ekphrasis and dialogue, Hori through the paper folding of origami, and Mortal Kombat (2011) ray through artistic media in these texts ultimately parallels one of the aims of this paper, namely to broaden our understanding of the X art and literature b y inspecting procedural rhetoric The Ekphra s tic X ray: Reading the Imagetext To investigate the rhetorical function of the X must investigate some of the features that are unique to t work, The Book of the Dead is a collection of poems, and the X ray image is featured prominently in Tim Dayton, a prominent scholar of Rukey s ary poem (28). The rhetoric X ray image relies not only on the X ray as signifier, but also on the interactions between lyrical monologues and documentary poems with in the book. Of these two types of poems Dayton explains that the monolog ue refers to a reality that is subjective, in a nonperjorative sense: it time. The documentary refers to an objective reality: it attempts to present the truth of a specif ic segment of historical and natural reality. (69)


19 silicosis. As mentio ned earlier, it is in the nature of X ray images to evoke the dialectic between that silicon miners at Gauley Bridge died from unsafe working conditions that caused silicosis. However, Rukeyser does not simply present audiences with an X ray image of silicosis in the human lungs. Instead, she r epresents the X ray as imagetext through th e process of ekphrasis and dialogue, which problematizes the distinction between history and truth evoked by both the X ray image and the Inci dent was covered up by corporations, rather than specifically unveiling the truth itself. As a result, Rukeyser chooses to describe verbally an X voice rather than feature a visible radiograph of lungs infected wi analysis of the X ray reads, This is the X ray picture taken last April. I would point out to you: these are the ribs; this is the region of the breastbone; this is the heart (a wide white shadow filled with blood). In here of course is the swallowing tube, esophagus. The windpipe. Spaces between the lungs. (83) Here the X from the historical moment she documents. Regarding the interpretati on of radiographs, Dijck


20 Incident. Featuring the X ray image in her poem would put primary importance on the objective ray and his verbal description of it. keyser evokes the moment of resistance or counterdesire that occurs when we sense the difference between the verbal and visual representation might collapse and the figurative, imaginary desire of ekphrasis when we wish for the photographs to stay invisible. (154) shortly ray, and is crucial to the poem because it link s its subject matter to the larger cover up of the silicosis to protect the mining companies from failing to follow safety protocol. In this stanza, readers sh oul devoid of the signifier for the objective truth (the actual radiograph). E kphrastic fear captures our anxieties at repeating a history of concealing the truth, and this is emp hasized by the procedural rhetoric of merging a subjective verbal diagnosis with the objective visual representation (or lack thereof) when they do not necessarily communicate the same thing in this case, the same disease. ray image text as a crossroads between subjectivity and objectivity. Apart from the doctor, there are two distinct characters that speak in the poem: the patient and the prosecutor. The patient in the poem speaks only once in the poem, stating: "It is growing worse every day. At night "I get up to catch my breath. If I remained "flat on my back I believe I would die." (Rukeyser 84)


21 These lines are impressionistic and experiential in nature, detai ling the symptoms of silicosis. As a result, his voice illustrates the subjectivity of patient testimony regarding the symptoms and se nsations of disease (Dijck 99), which allows doctors to purposefully misdiagnosis the causes of S imilarly, the prosecutor is another subjective voice in the poem, and his voice is always the end of the poem the conversation proceeds as follows: It gradual ly chokes off the air cells in the lungs? I am trying to say it the best I can. That is what happens, isn't it? A choking off in the air cells? Yes. There is difficulty in breathing. Yes. And a painful cough? Yes. Does silicosis cause death? Yes, sir. (84) In questioning the doctor it seems as if the prosecutor is leading him to interpret the X ray image ray as evidence of silicosis reiterates the subjectivity i n interpreting the X ray image once more. In esse nce, the use of the X ray imagetext poems, but a compre hensive history that highlights the human elements grief, guilt, and greed which are the subjective truths that color the pa st. Similarly, the X ray imagetext pushes the objective X ray image literally out of the picture, allowing for the subjective inter pretations of its meaning.


22 typical engagement with X ray images as symbols of the life/death dialectic. While X ray images possess the potential to depict life and death (via the process of taking the photograph and its image content, as in Hand mit Ringen s tic representation of the X ray relocates the life aspect of the image to the living patient in the poem. Using dialogue and voice, the audien ray image by the X X ray becomes a backdrop of bones, organs, and disease. By removing the v isual component of the X ray, Rukeyser seems to separate for her audience the living component of the X ray away the miner s p by purposefully misread X rays the X ray bec oming under this condition a signifier for wrongful death. Origami X Rays: The Three Dimensional Art Object Oritsun agumono exhibit relies on several processes that reimagine the implications of radiographs. Oritsunagumono (translated as 'things folded and connected') is exhibited in a large room, illuminated only by the white light of eight square pedestals. Atop eac h pedestal rests an origami animal crafted from translucent paper, upon which the anatomically correct skeletal structure of the animal is printed (see Figure 2 2 ) On these x ray animals, Hori has also printed a colored image of an object typically one th at represents waste or pollution, such as a used syringe that appears in the folded product to have been ingested by the origami animal (see Figure 2 3 & 2 4 ) Mounted on the wall behind each sculpture is the unfolded sheet of paper used to create each an imal. These sheets of paper depict the skeletal images of the


23 corresponding animal sculpture; however, in depicting how the origami paper looked prior to the process of folding, the skeletons of the animals are fractu red and disjointed (see Figure 2 5 ). H rays using origami sculptures and unfolded sheets of paper demonstrates how the meaning of the exhibit relies largely on audience and procedural rhetoric Hori chooses to represent his argument through the process of origami or paper folding because of his Japanese audience, given origami Even for non Japanese viewers, t he unfolded X rays in conjunction with the three dimensional final products, sug gest the potential to create animal life by performing the act of folding that would result in the paper figures The unfolded papers with the dismembered parts invite viewers to imagine how the origami animals are formed. At the same time, the potential for life as it is embodied through three d imensionality is subverted by the nature of the origami X ray images. These sculptures are bloodless, unmoving skeletal images that ultimately evoke death (here, tracing back to Mrs. ray). In creating this juxtaposition b etween the origami process of creation and the stillborn birth of these paper animals, Hori is striking at the heart of a lack of human intervention. If the origami X for ray image delivers the message of the animal subjects. In being able to see in body, viewers can divine the cause of their physiologica l life death state namely, the foreign X illustrate the life thr eatening effects of pollution via their highly visible interiority. The tra nsparency of the X ray allows on lookers


24 from beneath the sculpture illuminates, both literally and metaphorically, the problem w ithin: human garba ge. Dijck explains that X rays were not only credited with penetrating powers they rendered the flesh transparent but they were also thoug ht to have predictive qualities, ody into a transcendent rays as their transparency foreshadows the deaths of Japanese fauna in light of waterway pollution. The color added to the X ray depictions and the presentation of the unfolded animals also the natu ral and unnatural. Color is not a convention of the standard black and white radiograph image, and thus its introduction into the medium draws visual and procedural attention to it. The intrusion of color into the typically achromatic X ray form parallels the foreignness of the against the ominously darke ned room and white skeletons, announcing their unnatural presence. At the same time, these foreign objects are naturalized by color and form the former drawing familiar objects. The exhibit aims to problematize the distinction between natural and unnatural by ecological environment. Likewise, the unfolded origami sheets also evoke a sense of the unnatural by presenting the skeletal bodies as disemboweled parts. While most X rays capture whole, living bodies, the paper sheets signify a state of un being or death. Reading from sculpture to paper (the process of un foldin g as opposed to origami), the exhibit foreshadows the fatal effects of pollution in an The X ray image visible in the folded sculptures sutures


25 of these two elements into the life/death dialectic as seen in the Roentgen and Rukeyser X rays This in conjunction with the colored objects suggests an unnatural death one caused by pollution bodies and joints are disemboweled or dis connected from one another. This act of connecting and disconnecting is the ultimate doing and connected,' emphasizing the consequences of environmental issues going unchecked. X Ray Attack Mode: T he Rhe toric of Digital Media The X ray images in Mortal Kombat ( 2011 ) also rely on the procedural rhetoric of the original radiograph, while at the same time nuancing the meaning of the X ray image through its technological mediation in the video game form. In th is popular fighting game, players must choose to play as one of many characters in the game world and are then either pi t t ed against one to hand combat. The object is to nt using specialized fighting moves activated through sequences of inpu t data from the game controller: t he more elaborate the sequence of controller buttons pressed and joystick shifts required for performing a particular combat move, the more destructive and gory the depiction of the attack. Mortal Kombat (2011) is infamous for its graphic violence, and the latest game in the series relies largely on digital models of character X rays to carry on the X 2 6). Despite some of the more nuanced rhetorical functions of the X ray image in Mortal Kombat (2011) these visuals still rely largely upon the procedural rhetoric from early radiographs. ray models wer e born from experimental processes using digital technology


26 Mortal Kombat Inside the X ray images in Mortal Kombat (2011) seems analogous to the radiographs created by Roentgen the former being conceived through digital technology while the latter relied largely on harnessing chemical and physical processes with tech X ray technology, however, the creation of X ray images in Mortal Kombat (2011) was an intensive multi step and multi media process. Game designers combined digital models, hand drawn animation, motion capture, and cine ma effects to create the X ray visuals, and their complexity is a reflection of the degree of detail and complexity of the visuals and game play of the Mortal Kombat Mortal Kombat X ray Attack Mode requires an intricate series of computational input from the player in order to access such elaborately made visuals. Despite their differences in origin, the procedural rhetoric of both real X ray images and those in Mortal Kombat (2011) still fundamentally rely on the destructive potential of such images for physical and digital bodies, respectively In the video game, X ray models are employed because their visual presence connotes the procedure of physiological destruction that dates back to the physically damaging effects of early radiography experiments performed by Roentgen and Edison. Based on historical and medical evidence, the process of creating X ray images is inherently linked to the process of radiation exposure and its damaging effects upon the human figure. Warner Bros. reaffirms the relationship between damage caused by X ray creation and the X ray image by depicting the rays. It is always the character receiving the damage to its health whose bodily interiority becomes exposed in X ray attack mode and as a result is compromised by the hard impact fighting (see Figure 2 7).


27 As a result, the life and death dialectic of the X ray image is r eiterated here as in the previously described examples. This time, however, the dialectic is invoked through audience interaction with the text rather than through the process of creating the image itself. T he player on the receiving end of the X ray att ack visible, and thus vulnerable, to the other player approaches death. In that same moment, the player delivering the blow is charged with a vitality that makes the attack not only possible, but potent. T he X ray attack in Mortal Kombat (2011) essentially appropriates a basic understanding of the radiograph as a signifier of oppositional themes and processes to emphasize the practices of their gameplay. Unlike other X ray images, the X rays in Mortal Kombat (2011) are predic ated on the t he game s emphasis on player controlled movement is one major factor in the decision to incorporate organ and vascular systems into the design of X ray Att ack Mode. Like captured element in these X rays the moving, vulnerable organ systems are an aesthetic revision aimed at achieving hyper realism in order to problematize the audien with the world in the case of Mortal K om b a t (2011) the digital one Using these detailed X ray models, video game artists attempt to convince players that their interactio ns with the game through the digital avatar world further immersing the playe r in the act of play Additionally, Mortal Kombat (2011) is notoriously known for its representations of graphic violence and dynamic gameplay, and the colored components of their X rays illustrate audience expectations in conjunction with desires for seamless c ontrol and realistic depictions. As procedural rhetoric, physical brutality and fatality is not only evident in the fracturing of the skeleton and the bursting of inter organs while in X ray attack mode, but


28 al so in the depiction of visible mus cular and v ascular structures that are atypical to normal static X rays While most X ray images strip the human figure of its individual qualities by reducing the body to its skeletal co mponents, the X ray models in Mortal Kombat (2011) were meant to flesh out (literally) the body of the digital avatar (see Figure 2 8). For the game, designers created custom skeletal and tissue systems as well as bone breaks, amputations, and other bodily traum as that are unique to each individual character based not only on physiology, but on personality and Mortal Kombat Identity and physical interiority become synonymous within the visual of the X rayed b ody demonstrating that individuality, like beauty in Hand mit Ringen is something that is inherently determined at a deeply, physiological level At the same time, the player inhabits the identity of th e digital avatar during game play, engaging a mediated experience of both inflicting and receiving violence upon the digital body not only through fighting, but from X ray radiation. Here, the physical implications of X ray exposure are kept from affectin g the human subject via the game avatar. This removal from X ray radiation while still being able to view the X ray image, however briefly, allows the player to take pleasure in the act of seeing what should not or cannot be seen without the negative cons Mortal Kombat (2011) titillates its audience through the exposure of body parts without consequence to the human subject itself an exposure of images that would otherwise be hidden or otherwise revealed to some de triment to the individual.


29 Figure 2 1. Hand mit Ringen (Hand with Rings). X Figure 2 2. Oritsunagumono Eight animal o rigami sculptures and their unfolded x rays (2010).


30 Figure 2 3. One of the assembled origami sculptures from Takayuki Oritsunagumono note the colored portion within the sculpture (2010). Figure 2 4. Close Oritsunagumono note the foreign object in the X ray sc ulpture (2010).


31 Figure 2 5. Unfolded X ray sculpture from Oritsunagumono (2010). A B Figure 2 6. Mortal Kombat ( 2011 ) Images of characters performing X ray attacks from. A) Scorpion. B) Mileena.


32 Figure 2 7. ray attack on Kabal from Mortal Kombat ( 2011). Figure 2 8. Su b ray attack. Here, he freezes his oppon them with his hand in Mortal Kombat ( 2011).


33 CHAPTER 3 SUMMARY AND CONCLUSI ON In examining Hand mit Ringen The Book of the Dead Oritsunagumono exhibit, and Mortal Kombat ( 2011 ) I hope to have illustrated the significant rhetoric al differences and simila rities among these X ray images that result from their style and procedures The X rays in this analysis illuminate and problematize notions of life and death, subjectivity and objectivity, the natural and the unnatural, while at the same time gesturing towards their sociocultural impacts. Tracing the X ray image from its historical formation to its iterations in popular media demonstrates how processes like ekphrasis, dialogue, the use of color, origami, and video game play can inform the way we understand and interact with these visuals as art ob jects It is the X image through these mediums that make its circulation and appropriation by different media technologies and popular culture effective for conveying meaning. At its core, however, the X ray is also often adapted by media technologies because of its procedural nature to reveal what cannot be plainly seen. The X ray image is a signifier for the physical problem, and for cannot be accessed by human sight alone. The X the body in science and medicine has been appropriated by popular media into an analogous procedure in which the X ray has the power to lay bare the sociocultural body its current state and issues for viewers. In such contexts, the X ray image functions as synecdoche, its power to diagnose is used to capture or expose some aspect of a larger problem or concept. I have chosen to use X rays and analyze them for the same purpose : to diagnose the dilemmas of rhetoric in dealing with visual and mixed media.


34 Such (re)appropriations of X ray images also reveal how approaches to rhetorical stu dies might benefit from a reconceptualization that accounts for visual and verbal communication without the need for a specific subfield for either. By pointing to and demonstrating how procedure (both creative and interactive) can influence the meaning o f an imagetext these X rays illuminate a space for rhetoric to bridge the gap between visual and verbal analysis Looking at rhetorical studies through the X ray image is at once both damaging and beneficial to the rhetorical body it is clear that curren t methods of rhetorical analysis alone are insufficient for sus taining analysis of the visual. Y et by revealing this issue we can identify the ways it may be remedied, and one solution is to consider procedural rhetoric. Procedure is vital in shaping th e rhetoric of verbal and visual media, and should be examined just as thoroughly as any other rhetorical aspect Procedural rhetoric should therefore be more closely examined as a means to discuss rhetorical similarities between visual and verbal communic ations and rhetorical differences that occur across media forms. By offering a methodology of analysis that bridges the differences between verbal and visual language, rhetorical studies can avoid the pitfall of privileging one mode of communication over the other. Verbal rhetoric is often more valued than its visual counterpart given that it has set the precedent for rhetorical studies through the oral tradition. At the same time, visual communication is often devalued as an exclusionary case of rheto ric because its characteristics are too disparate from verbal language to fit current methods of rhetorical study Neither form of communication is inherent ly more valuable than the other; rather both are languages governed by their own sets of grammar, and t heir only true difference exists in our physiological engagement with them through the senses. Examining procedural rhetoric is one


35 method by which we may analyze the rhetoric of both visual and verba l language without privileging one over the other Moreover, it is imperative that rhetoric develop a means to discuss text s alongside image s given the multimodal nature of most media. My proposal to consider procedure more closely stems from this concern, building on imagetext and Ian conceptions of rhetoric and rhetorical studies to avoid limiting the discipline to a division between investigations of visual an d verbal media. Th eir works interrogate images and mixed media in new and interesting ways that have been incorporated and synthesized in my analysis of X rays to demonstrate the potential benefits o f remediating our perspective of visual rhetoric and the methodologies of i ts study. While I have suggested the importance of procedural rhetoric, it is not to say that it is the only potential methodology that needs consideration For example, Jim Ridolfo and Dnielle Nicole DeVoss the speed an d manner in which a text is recomposed adds another dimension to considering the delivery and circulation of mixed media (2009). Supplements to current methods of rhetorical studies like these are useful in that they can be examined across media platforms without being specific to a particular form of language and its grammar. The study of how we create meaning through images and texts need not be partitioned between the verbal and visual as subfields in rhetorical studies. Instead, our quest to understa nd how meaning is produced in these forms should traverse distinctions between language grammars and human sensory perception, focusing on the object itself and the ecology of influence s on its meanings.


36 LIST OF REFERENCES Bogost, Ian. Persuasive Game s: The Expressive Power of Videogames Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2007. Print. Cartwright, Lisa. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1995. Print. Dayton, Tim. Muriel R ukeyser's The Book of t he Dead Columbia and London: University of Missouri Press, 2003. Print. Glasser, Otto. Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen and the Early History of the Roentgen Rays San Francisco, CA: Jeremy Norman & Co., 1993. Print. Hill, Charles A. and Marguerite Helmers, eds. Defining Visual Rhetorics Mahwah, NJ:Lawrence Earlbaum Associates, 2004. Print. Hori, Takayuki. Oritsunagumono 2010 Mitsubishi Chemical Junior Designer Award: Takayuki Hori Spoon & Tamago: Japanese Art, Design an d Culture. By Johnny Strategy. JPEG file. Mitchell, W.J.T Picture Theory Chicago IL : University of Chicago Press, 1994. Print. Mort al Kombat Video. NetherRealm Studios. Mortal Kombat Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, 2011. Video game. Radstake, Maud. Visions of Illness: An Endography of Real Time Medical Imaging Delft, the Netherlands: Eburon 2007. Print. Ridolfo Jim and Dnielle Nicole DeVoss Composing for Recomposition: Rhetorical Velocity Kairos 13.2 (2009). Web. Roentgen, Wilhelm. Hand mit Ringen 1896. Culture By Lisa Cartwright Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press 11 6 Print and JPEG file. Rose, Gillian. Visual Methodologies : An Introduction to the interpretation of Visual Materials Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications Inc., 2010. Print. Rukeyser, Muriel. The Collected Poems of Muriel Rukeyser New York: McGraw Hill, 1978. Print. Van Dijck, Jos. The Transparent Body: A Cultural Analysis of Medical Imaging Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press, 2005. Print.


37 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Melissa Bianchi was born in Miami Beach, Florida. She and her younger sister grew up in Pembroke Pines, Florida where Melissa graduate d from Charles W. Flanagan High School in 2006. Soon after, Melissa attended the University of Florida (UF), completing both her B.S. in b iology and her B.A. in English in 2010, concu rrently. Melissa chose to continue pursuing her a cademic interests in science and literature through M.A. program. In 2011, she wa s the recipient of both the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Baskin Scholarship and an Outstanding First Year Teacher of Writing Award. As a graduate student at UF, she works for the university writing program (UWP), and teaches Writing Academic Arguments (ENC 1101), Rhetoric and Academic Research (ENC 1102), and Technical Writing for Engineers (ENC 3254). Melissa has a lso presented her work at several conferences, most notably at The International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts in 2011 and 2012 Upon completion of her M.A. degree, Melissa plans to continue her research in an English Ph.D. program