Pentagon Strike is a great example of argument in images, aided by some text, music and fast transitions. It’s a Flash piece that lasts for about five minutes and that uses a lot of images to argue that whatever hit the Pentagon on September 11 couldn’t have been a passenger jet. It’s interesting how this is a kind of visual argument that certainly could have (and probably has) developed for television, but that’s rarely seen there. On the web it’s perfect. It doesn’t take long to watch, it cites eyewitnesses (are we trusting the mass media less and ordinary people more?) and shows us evidence so we can draw our own conclusions. Or at least so we can feel that we’re drawing our own conclusions – I don’t know enough about the subject or who made this piece to know if the images are authentic, and they move so fast I’m not even quite sure if I saw what I thought I saw. Compare this to the other kind of web-based argument: the same argument made in words and links. As Torill pointed out about blogreading, the links are crucial: they not only give a sense of accountability but also genuinely allow the reader to read more and judge for herself – to do her own research. I found this through Kathleen – it’d be interesting to follow the links and see how it spreads. If only I had the time…

3 thoughts on “visual argumentation

  1. yenayer

    A similar performance ( using powerpoint slides and idelogical discourse without any real fact or proof ) has been made by Colin Powell before the UN Security Council and before billions of people in february 2003 .. and the result was the war in Irak .. 🙂

  2. Jill

    Yes. Slick presentation does not guarantee that the argument is sound. And you’re right, powerpoints can do the same kind of stuff, when well used (i.e. without bullets and with a very good speaker) – I never saw Powell’s speech. Actually BILLIONS of people might be an exaggeration given there are only about 5 billion on the planet, aren’t there?

  3. Lars

    Did you notice the graffiti on the inner walls of the Pentagon?
    If I hadn’t followed your second link (to the full text story, which contains some amusing, over-the-top alien invasion stuff near the end), I would have taken this as a comment on our naive assumption that images=truth (which certainly applies to the presentation by Colin Powell).
    Apparently, however, they’re serious, and the missing 757 is still hidden in some extra-dimensional space while aliens are conducting experiments on the passengers.
    Oh. I just noticed that bit was actually removed from the article since I first read it a few hours ago. But Google has a cached version with it still in. Just do a search with an uncommon phrase from the new version. How weird…

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The Machine Vision in Everyday Life project invites proposals for an interdisciplinary workshop using qualitative approaches and digital methods to analyse how machine vision is represented in art, science fiction, games, social media and other forms of cultural and aesthetic expression.