Kritika Kultura, the refereed e-journal of language and literary/cultural studies of the Department of English, Ateneo de Manila University features a lecture by Prof. Isabel E. Kenny. The event—part of the Kritika Kultura Lecture Series—is entitled “Visual Literacy: How to Read a Film,” and will be on Feb. 20, 2013, 4:30-6:00 p.m. at Social Science Conference Case Study Room in Ateneo de Manila University.
Kenny’s abstract reads: “The International Visual Literacy Association (IVLA) includes the following terms under visual literacy: visual learning, visual education, visual awareness, visual understanding, visual creativity, visual analysis, visual evaluation, visual message encoding and visual message decoding. The lecture begins with a brief outline of the tools of visual literacy (i.e., dot, line, shape, tone, color, texture, scale and proportion, direction, dimension, movement), their conventions and associated meanings and how, for instance, an angle of approach or shot size can affect an image’s meaning. The power of images to communicate, persuade and bring about change has long been recognized by artists and political leaders such as Alexander the Great, who was cognizant of how a carefully crafted image can affect public perception. Rolando Tolentino noted in his Kritika Kultura lecture entitled “Marcos, Brocka, Bernal, City Films and the Contestation for Imagery of Nation” that the Marcoses, in their “reconsolidation of power” after the declaration of martial law “to recreate a national legacy,” embarked on a campaign which “proliferated their images [some mythologized in portraits which borrowed representations from popular folktales] alongside a robust imagery-building of a modern yet traditionally anchored nation.” To gain and maintain power, the Nazis employed images in films such as Triumph of the Will (1935) and Olympia (1938), still studied for their visual impact in film schools. The primary focus of our discussion is an analysis of Lino Brocka’s film Maynila sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag (1975): how he employs the visual tools and techniques to tell the story cinematically as we examine, extract meaning from and interpret the film’s social, cultural, aesthetic and perceptual codes.”
Kenny is a filmmaker and an adjunct professor in the Department of Communication at the Ateneo de Manila University. She has also taught at Boston and Emerson Colleges in Massachusetts, Loyola University of New Orleans and Montclair State University in New Jersey. She was a guest filmmaker-lecturer at the University of California Los Angeles, New York University, University of Washington in Seattle, Old Dominion University in Virginia and the Library of Congress Asian Division in Washington, D.C. She was a television producer-director-writer and on-air talent and later an independent producer for the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) in the U.S. and corporate executive director of programming and advertising for a cable company in the Greater Boston area.