ALeath

The Euphoria of Inclusion:
The Digital/Pictorial Shift and its Influence on Obama’s 2008 Election


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Introduction

Senator Barack Obama entered the political scene at a time of political distrust and unrest. As a Democrat, Obama was decidedly ahead from the start in his campaign for President of the United States based on public sentiment about Republican politics (Abramowitz, 2010). Abramowitz, author of The Year of Obama: How Barack Obama Won the White House states, “in order to win the election, Obama merely had to unify and energize the Democratic base,” (p. 95) which, though not a task deserving of the qualifier “merely,” was much less than what Republican candidate John McCain had to do to win the nation’s support.
The 2008 presidential campaign happened in a time of a tense political climate. Obama incorporated the idea of “change” as the central theme of his campaign. logo.jpgBecause of this, the Obama campaign created many images around the concept of change. His use of literal symbols, such as the characteristic “O” symbol used to refer to his name, tied his visual rhetoric to his verbal messages. Strong, classic symbolism and signs such as the American flag present in campaign imagery, assisted in linking American principles like patriotism to his campaign. Though these may seem like rather obvious aspects of a campaign for President, the way Obama presented them and the public received them was unique because of the method by which the messages were transmitted. The political rhetoric used by Obama had an impact in the political landscape and he succeeded.
Barthes (1975) explains the intertwined nature of a meaning and myth. He states, “myth is a type of speech defined by its intention much more than by its literal sense; and in spite of this, its intention is somehow frozen, purified, eternalized, made absent by this literal sense” (p. 124). He describes the myriad forms myth can take, including photography and advertising, and how the material is prepared so that the myth needs no further work to be communicated. In summary, he states, “for what we grasp is not at all one term after the other, but the correlation which unites them…” (Barthes, 1975, p. 113). Barthes mentions the fundamental character of a myth is to be appropriated by its creator. By applying Barthes’ explanation of image formation and its incorporation of myth, a new perspective on Obama’s campaign emerges.

nytimesobama.jpg

As Obama’s image became more prevalent in American society, many realized the potential for inclusion through the internet, new types of social media and unique forms of entertainment. This essay will examine the modern-day creators who volunteered their various skills to promote Senator Obama in his campaign for President of the United States. During this campaign we were privy to a “pictorial shift,” a term coined by W.J.T. Mitchell, a professor of English and Philosophy. He describes a pictorial shift as “a diagnostic tool to analyze specific moments when a new medium, a technical invention, or a cultural practice erupts in symptoms of panic or euphoria (usually both) about the visual” (Mitchell, 2002, p. 173). It is my intention to describe how this particular political campaign was a euphoric event for those supporters active in the online world who felt at once included, necessary, and excited by the campaign, its accessibility and empathetic nature. The works of Mitchell, Barthes, Derrida, and many other writers and professors are employed to illustrate this study of three pop culture sensations that appeared during the campaign: “I Have A Crush On Obama” by ObamaGirl (Amber Lee Ettinger), “Yes We Can” by will.i.am, and the screen print posters done by Shepard Fairey.



Coin_of_the_Roman_emperor_Augustus.jpgHistory

Ancient Roman history offers political artifacts to be studied. Those living in the time between the collapse of theaugustus.jpg Roman Republic and the beginning of the Roman Empire (44 BC to 31 BC) saw the rise of Caesar Octavian, the successor and adopted son of Julius Caesar, Rome’s previous leader. During his rise to power, Octavian had to prove himself worthy of this position, else risk a revolt from the public of Rome. Octavian, once he had established full leadership of Rome, was awarded the honorary title “Augustus” and was henceforth known as “Caesar Augustus” (Zanker, 1988). Though eventually Augustus was in a position of sole power, the only way to regain Rome’s strength was to gain public support across the Empire (Taylor, 2003).
The new leader found many means by which to spread his message of change, security, and hope for a new Empire. The combination of literature, speech, and art to communicate meaning created a sophisticated system of successful political communication. Augustus turned to visual means to communicate many of his political messages. He commissioned statues and portrait busts to be replicated and sent to the far reaches of the Empire (Zanker, 1988). He also circulated coinage displaying his visage and political symbolism (Evans, 1992).

PF7003~Che-Guevara-Posters.jpgJumping forward in the timeline of political imagery, it is easy to make aesthetic parallels to the screen print poster of Che Guevara that became the proliferated image of hope during the Cuban Revolution (if even for those outside of Cuba) and continues to be sold on t-shirts and posters today (Margolin, 2009). Because of this obvious visual connection it is no longer possible to separate the gazes of these two political figures: the shared horizons they were envisioning became the public’s goal.






In Reference to Visual Culture Studies:

In the sense that the ideas prevalent in the process of visual culture studies cross-reference the study of mediology, those examining objects must recognize that the codes apparent in one form of visual culture apply to all others and vice-versa. The objects to be studied in this essay are obviously layered in content and occur within the context of the Internet, the political sphere, and are received by a certain type of audience. That visual culture studies necessitates an institution helps in determining which objects should be studied to come to a conclusion rather than a mere conglomeration of observances about three media objects. Nicholas Mirtzoeff’s definition helps to explain why visual media studies excludes text and focuses on that which is not necessarily static, that which speaks more than just words. He says visual culture is “a tactic for studying the functions of a world addressed through pictures, images, and visualizations, rather than through texts and words” (Irvine, 2011).
The historical examples above (Guevara poster and Roman coin) are frequently studied in an academic institution in the context of “art history.” As the three modern examples to be studied have not yet entered the sphere of academic art history (which begs the question: will they ever?), the method for studying and interpreting them will fall under the visual culture studies methodology.

history.jpgVisual Culture and its Relation to Art History:
W.J.T. Mitchell, among others, speaks of art history and its multi-sided relationship to the study of art history. He describes the two sides as an “inside-out phenomenon,” which means that visual culture studies can be related to art history via two disparate views: a deep inside or a novel outside. For the purposes of this essay, the objects studied will be viewed from the following (inside) viewpoint:
“…visual culture may look like a deep inside to art history’s traditional focus on the sensuous and semiotic peculiarity of the visual. Art history has always been necessarily more than a history of works of art; it has always had to rely on more or less well-theorized models of spectatorship, visual pleasure, and social, intersubjective relationships in the scopic field.”
- W.J.T. Mitchell, 1995, p. 542
This approach leans more toward the idea that the study of art history can be appropriated to study anything visual, not just objects classified as “high art.” In this sense we are able to borrow his words, “…spectatorship, visual pleasure, and social, intersubjective relationships…” (Mitchell, 1995, p. 541) and apply them to the works at hand, the works that occur outside of art and inside of the visual.


The “Pictorial Turn” – When & Howpic_theory.jpg

The pictorial turn is a phrase coined by W.J.T. Mitchell. Though not a unique idea, his method of explaining and applying this idea makes the most sense in the context of these media objects. He seeks to explain the use of visual culture as a way to study the ever-emergence of new media in reference to what already exists. His article also explains what visual culture studies should not be used for, such as a definitive repertoire from which one can draw explanations of constructed visual symbols. The interpretation of the visual must come from a multi-dimensional approach and not fall in line with the conclusions of past interpretations, as these are affected by entirely different cultural events and suppositions. He describes the pictorial turn as follows:

The pictorial or visual turn, then, is not unique to our time. It is a repeated narrative figure that takes on a very specific form in our time, but which seems to be available in its schematic form in an innumerable variety of circumstances. A critical and historical use of this figure would be as a diagnostic tool to analyze specific moments when a new medium, a technical invention, or a cultural practice erupts in symptoms of panic or euphoria (usually both) about the visual. The invention of photography, of oil painting, of artificial perspective, of sculptural casting, of the internet, of writing, of mimesis itself are conspicuous occasions when a new way of making visual images seemed to mark a historical turning point for better or worse. The mistake is to construct a grand binary model of history centered on just one of these turning points, and to declare a single great divide between the age of literacy (for instance) and the age of visuality.
- Mitchell, 2002, p. 173


He mentions the internet as a vehicle for a pictorial turn, which makes perfect sense when recognizing a simultaneous panic/euphoria about the Internet in the field of the political. When the pro-Obama wired generation realized that the Internet was a veritable tool for Obama’s success, there was at once a panic based on vying for inclusion followed by euphoric feelings of recognition. Mitchell’s conclusions were again explained by Moxey (2008) in his article “Visual Studies and the Iconic Turn,” as he states:

W.J.T Mitchell, for example, has dubbed it the ‘pictorial turn’ (Mitchell, 1994). Rejecting as reductive the semiotic analyses of images that were a feature of the 1980s because they depend on a linguistic model, Mitchell argues that pictures should be considered independently of language – as having a presence that escapes our linguistic ability to describe or interpret – even if they are inextricably entangled in its coils. Intimately related, words and images are orders of knowing that can nevertheless not be equated with one another. Pursuing this argument in a book interrogatively entitled “What Do Pictures Want?” (2005), Mitchell suggests that depictions have ‘lives’ and that these lives are only partly controlled by those who gave them birth. We may create images but, in doing so, we endow them with human characteristics, including the anthropomorphic power of agency. Their second-hand life enables them to proliferate and reproduce themselves.
- Moxey, 2008, p. 135

graffnews.jpgIt is important to note that the three pro-Obama media sensations being studied were not created by those working under the Obama campaign. These three young people, in three different groups in society (unknown, known by a cult-like following, celebrity), used the same tools (in the form of pre-existing material broadcast by news corporations of media outlets in company with their own interesting assets) to create products that first entertained and then energized their followers.





The Spectacular Nature of YouTubeobama-yes-we-can2.jpg

Debord (1967) wrote about the idea of the spectacle, far before Obama decided to run for president and even further before YouTube became a legitimate vehicle for political discourse. The videos being examined in this essay were released through YouTube and gained popularity based on the scales of YouTube’s viewer count. The spectacle, as Debord approaches it, is an approximation of all things produced in the modern age, after the pictorial turn that happened when technology allowed for the reproduction and appropriation of images. The following sentence, from Society of the Spectacle, more than justly describes how YouTube is this generation’s pictorial turn & most obvious system of spectacles: “The images detached from every aspect of life fuse in a common stream in which the unity of this life can no longer be reestablished. Reality considered partially unfolds, in its own general unity, as a pseudo-world apart, an object of mere contemplation” (Debord, para. 2, 1967).
He mentions the images, which in this sense can mean anything that we see. For, after all, video is little more than a stream of images that outpaces our eye. Next he uses the term “common stream,” which, any YouTube frequenter would attest, speaks to the nature of the beast – the videos present themselves in a stream to facilitate back-to-back viewing and an inability to close the browser. The word “unity” is used twice as a way to describe the programmed way in which the singular spectacles (the videos) reveal themselves through this institution and through this revelation the viewer is allowed a glimpse into this “pseudo-world,” which fully supports the idea that this is a spectacle rather than a real-life occurrence (Debord, 1967).
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Input or simply contemplation?
The sentence ends with the phrase “…an object of mere contemplation.” Taken as a whole, YouTube can be seen as this. Yet, there is a discourse allowed within the confines of the media player, for the public delegates the content and is allowed to comment on it. What further validates this claim is the idea of release; that once the video is placed in the YouTube frame, the person behind the video disappears (even if this person is in the video). What is left is a representation, a replication of a person that is now subject to the codes that the viewers have come to expect when watching a YouTube video. And although the viewer is allowed to have some mark of response or input via commenting and sharing, it is arguable that those actions are more masturbatory than productive. The act of placing a comment on a permanent and, in its state, unchangeable, is to publicly contemplate what has been offered.



1910wo_obama-420x0.jpgObjects to be Analyzed

The three objects each represent an opinion expressed through the expert (in a time-sensitive sense) combination of available recorded events, through collecting, repositioning and producing. The original screen print image by Fairey comes from a still image of Obama at a press conference which was then re-colored, stylized and placed within the confines of the text he chose to print upon the image. These choices by the artist, the layering of the existing image, the historical codes, and the political message created an image that can no longer be studied as a picture, but rather an enormous chapter in grand sphere of Obama’s election.
The second object, “I Got a Crush...on Obama,” is a video that premiered on YouTube (the institution speaks volumes about the impact and reception of the video) and obgirl1.jpgcontained existing Obama media as well as myriad cultural codes such as sexuality and humor as well as a reliance on existing codes in the context of YouTube videos. Its popularity can be accredited to many aspects, such as the star’s use of her looks as a way to increase viewer traffic or potentially the musical merit of the video (the video is constructed as a music video). The star, Amber Lee Ettinger (who is, to this day, known as “Obama Girl”) became a media sensation and was featured throughout the campaign in other media outlets. Ettinger aside, the video’s rise to popularity can be credited, as well, to the pictorial shift that happened when YouTube, whose content is delegated and mediated by the public, was introduced as a viable source for opinion and information.
william_yeswecan_obama.jpgWill.i.am, of the pop music group The Black-Eyed Peas, became very active in the campaign and was received promptly because of his existing celebrity status. His song, “Yes We Can,” is similar to Fairey’s image in that it is a completely stylized interpretation of an existing campaign component: a speech performed by Obama during his campaign. The speech, as it was, contained memorable rhetoric and was written in a way that translating it into song did not seem forced. Will.i.am not only effectively expressed his allegiance to Obama’s position, he also presented the actual words from the speech in a way that accessed different demographics and created a more memorable message for those not interested in a news broadcast. As this video gained viewership and response on YouTube, it is worth arguing that those listening, viewing, and remembering ingested the message and used it like fuel, propelling them toward the imaginary horizon.
These objects, to reflect back on Mitchell’s description of the “inside view of art history,” are a modern representation of the “spectatorship, visual pleasure, and social, intersubjective relationships” that occur throughout our new mediums of transmission; the Internet and YouTube. To start, I will examine that which rose to popularity as a physical, tangible object because of its existence on the Internet. For the following two objects I will investigate how YouTube enhanced the reception of two very different videos: the first from a no-name producer and model/actress, the second from a popular celebrity.


shepardfaireyandhishope_2.jpgFairey’s creative appropriation that became a nation’s optimism

Fairey developed his image employing what we interpret as American symbolism, when upon closer inspection (destroying the myth) the viewer can see how the symbolism treads heavily on the line between ironic and incorrect. The color scheme is muted and, though recalls the classic red, white and blue, does so in a uniquely rebellious fashion (Sturken, 2009). When one chooses to create an image representing change it makes little sense to have it exist within the lock-in of traditional patriotism; a term with which Americans were battling based on their feelings about the government in general. When Fairey constructed his image, the self-consciously subtle iconic image of a face gazing into an imagined horizon automatically recalled in our culture a need for that horizon, it translated a message of urgency.
As a screen print, Fairey’s poster was usually seen as a static image. It was the appropriation of the image that gave it a multi-media vibe and an ease of diverse acceptance. The fact that it could just as easily appear on a refrigerator magnet as hanging in the middle of downtown Chicago as plastered on the background of your café neighbor’s PC allowed it a ubiquity that is generally only awarded to stop signs. It was a pictorial shift that allowed for this ubiquity, a near panic about the political future in combination with the visual technologies available produced an image that was at once deemed popular, cool, and requisite.
So, what constitutes this poster as a pictorial shift? Sturken (2009), in her article The New Aesthetics of Patriotism, explains the change as follows:
This is, in many ways, an entirely new aesthetic for American political discourse, and its circulation out of art circles into the political mainstream has been stunning. It went from being an unofficial poster in support of the campaign to an official Obama campaign poster in an updated version (the campaign was reluctant to adapt the original image that had been illegally postered, and so it asked for a new version, with the word ‘HOPE’). The poster became the source of an enormous number of knock-offs, from refrigerator magnets to the Obamicon website at which users can insert themselves and their own slogan into their own poster version.
- Sturken, 2009, p. 170

obamicon_sample.gifIt comes as no surprise that those interested in the image/poster found the personalization of the image very appealing; the new generation of voters had grown up with such specialized options and interests. The following aspects set it apart from past political visuals: it was not created from a position of authority, there is no monetary involvement, and it was not own-able. This fit into the world of peer-to-peer perfectly and aided in the spread of Obama’s message.
Of the three examples, this is the only one that can be separated from the world of the two dimensional computer screen. In an elementary chicken-or-egg scenario, it is somewhat difficult to separate the image file from the printed poster in terms of which became a hit first. Was it the ubiquity of the image or its send-ability? Was it the seemingly appropriate nature of the printed image for any purpose, political or not, or the ease of resizing and personalizing the image?
To answer these questions, it is essential to view the image within the confines of the pictorial turn, or, what set it apart from the previous political visual rhetoric. In the words of Sturken, we were “witnessing an aesthetic shift is derived from the ways in which new kinds of style became an official part of the campaign…” (Sturken, 2009, p. 171). This new kind of style, the kind that allowed for us all to play our part in the assimilation and distribution of propaganda, was the main reason for the success of the image and the euphoric response it received.


“I Got a Crush… on Obama” & ObamaGirl’s “everyman” appeal







This video contains all the elements of a perfect YouTube sensation. It’s funny, cliché, catchy, timely, and contains an attractive girl. At the risk of sounding critical while attempting to remain neutral, the lyrics are decidedly more for laughs than to actually make political commentary. When the lyrics are removed, however, the viewer is left with an elaborate system of signs that flicker across the computer screen, contained by the frame (institution) of YouTube.
Considering that one is not entirely absorbed by the star’s beauty (and scantily clad body), it is easy to see why this video caught on with the pro-Obama crowd. Ettinger ‘s actions throughout the video are not dissimilar from that of everyone else – she works in a small office, has a sparsely decorated apartment, and rides the New York subway. She fits the mold of an average city-dweller, just the same as many video viewers. This realistic video was supplemented by an Obama-oriented montage that featured many formal news clips and images. The video personalized Obama in a new way, superimposing his campaign onto the life of a normal girl. Ridiculousness aside, the appeal of the video was consistent with the campaign’s warm-and-fuzzy vibe and the response from viewers matched.

obama-girl-viral-video.gif

YouTube is the vehicle for this lighthearted message that affected the campaign in a serious way. As an object for contemplation, the video can be approached many ways. It can be simply viewed and dismissed, absorbed (as fact or fiction), or neither but still passed on. YouTube makes these options almost mindlessly easy, with “share” and “comment” buttons accessible at every turn. The video player also functions to direct the viewer to other similar videos, such as other videos by ObamaGirl or videos featuring Obama in general. This way, the viewer has no option to completely eradicate the experience from his or her mind; there will be some sort of take-away from entering the spectacular pseudo-world of YouTube. And this phenomenon, quite possibly, may have garnered quite a few votes for Obama.




Will.i.am and the speech that became a song that became an order







Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas spoke out early as an ardent Obama supporter. He gathered many celebrities to create the collage-style video, released on YouTube in 2008, that became the theme song of the election. Though the lyrics were a direct copy of the words from a speech Obama made earlier in the campaign (the audio of the speech was actually used as well), Will.i.am succeeded in creating a video that contained many cultural codes that, generally, elicit a sympathetic response and call for action.
The video was in black and white and was generally split into panels, all showing different layers of the complete audio effect. Those who were speaking were shown, as well as the original speech-maker (Obama). The video, though optimistic, is not composed to express happiness or perkiness. The shadows are enhanced and the faces are somber. The featured elite are not dressed in flashy clothes or wearing expensive jewelry. They are attempting to elicit the same response that the producers of “I Got a Crush…On Obama” did, that though they may be famous, their votes count the same as the viewer’s vote. Will.i.am’s choice to release the video directly on YouTube added to the positive response it received. If he had released it in a more “traditional” method (as a music video on television, as a single on iTunes), the authority placement of the video would have minimized the appeal. The view count reached 21-million before the election, facilitated by the ease of sharing presented by YouTube.
yes-we-can-sm.jpg
This video, as with the poster, was manifested in real life, though not in an entirely tangible sense. Will.i.am and John Legend performed the song live at the Democratic National Convention in 2008 as a capstone to the public’s outcry for support for Obama’s campaign. The song, in its origin only available through YouTube and other online sites, burst into the “real,” but left behind the prior message supplemented by the affected video containing cultural codes. It is the video that made the impact, not the song or the performer (though the video would not exist without them). The combination of characters, images, and sound that we have become so familiar with in the frame of a YouTube video- the pause-ability, the ease at which one can share or embed, and the privacy under which one can interpret it were all factors in its success.


Conclusionobama-hope-poster.jpg

The 2008 campaign was the first time that there was such a level discourse between the political authority and the voting public. In a time of unrest in the political sphere, many sought a change. To express that a change was on the horizon, a collection of images and symbols were shared by Americans across the country, by means of the new technologies available (the Internet, YouTube, e-mail, etc). The three individual objects discussed were not created by the Obama campaign, but they were adopted by the public as three pillars of support in his ultimately record-breaking public appeal. Barak Obama, the real-life singular person, had nothing to do with the creation and spread of these media objects. His visage appeared in them and his message was plastered throughout, but he did not exist within them. Somehow, though, the public learned about Obama through them. As people accepted these objects, they accepted Obama as a means to an end, the road to hope and prosperity for America. Radhakrishna, in his analysis of Obama’s campaign image, summarizes:

Unlike any of the earlier Presidencies, Americans now are looking at Obama both to recognize him and be recognized by him: there is an intriguing imaginary mirroring going on here that, when it works, seems to bracket the troublesome realm of the symbolic with its uncomfortable question: ‘in the name of what?’ In the name of what self-evident or a priori interest or anchorage are Americans looking at Obama in the reciprocal hope that he too would look at them in quite the same way? There is the post-political expectation, which can also be unpacked into the post-racial, post-class, post-gender, post-partisan that, even though strictly speaking, Obama cannot be every one’s ally, particularly during times of crisis, somehow in a transcendentally human way, he will be there for each and every American. The Obama image has become the ultimate Rorschach that will unite us all as Americans in crisis: he will be my Obama, and yours, and his and hers, and theirs and ours. To put it differently, the media have built around the Obama image a psychological verisimilitude that does not really have to be backed by ideological or political coherence…
- Radhakrishna, 2009, p.153

could.jpgAnalyzing these objects revealed a truth behind the curtains of the campaign in 2008: Obama’s victory had little to do with what was proposed by the President-elect and everything to do with which words were chosen to accompany the spectacular images and videos that emerged from creative supporters. The words “hope,” “change,” and “Yes, We Can,” became popularized through the visual, all of which were housed in different forms of the Internet, or, this generation’s institution for visual culture.
Radhakrishna’s point begs repeating, that “Obama cannot be every one’s ally, particularly during times of crisis, somehow in a transcendentally human way, he will be there for each and every American.” This impactful statement places Obama in a god-like role, assuming that he can rest so deeply within the American people that many he becomes part of their existence. It may seem impossible until, of course, one is to consider the Obama that is shown through the three objects studied. He is Ettinger’s Obama, he is Will.i.am’s Obama, and he is Fairey’s Obama, so why can’t he be mine?







Bibliography

Works Referenced

Abramowitz, A. (2010). How Obama Won and What It Means. The Year of Obama: How Barack Obama Won the White House. L.J. Sabato. USA, Pearson Edition Inc.

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Cartwright, L., & Mandiberg, S. (2009). Obama and shepard fairey: the copy and political iconography in the age of the demake. Journal of Visual Culture,8(172),

Debord, G. (1967). Society of the spectacle.

Evans, J. (1992). The Art of Persuasion. Ann Arbor, MI, The University of Michigan Press.

Irvine, M. (n.d.). Introducing visual culture: ways of looking at all things visual. Retrieved from<http://www9.georgetown.edu/faculty/irvinem/visualarts/Intro-VisualCulture.html>.

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Mitchell, W.J.T. (1995). Interdisciplinarity and visual culture. Art Bulletin, 78(4).

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Mitchell, W.J.T. (2002). Showing seeing: a critique of visual culture. Journal of Visual Culture, 1(165).

Moxey, K. (2008). Visual studies and the iconic turn.Journal of Visual Culture, 7(131).

Myers, J, Willsdon, D, Yarborough, E, & Berlant, L. (2009). What happened in vegas. Journal of Visual Culture, 8(161).

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Rowe, J. (2009). Visualizing Barack Obama. Journal of Visual Culture, 8(207).

Stallabrass, J. (2009). Obama on flickr. Journal of Visual Culture, 8(196).

Sturken, M. (2009). The new aesthetics of patriotism.Journal of Visual Culture, 8(168).

Taylor, P. (2003). Munitions of the Mind. New York, NY, Manchester University Press.

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"Yes We Can." Wikipedia
. Wikipedia, 23 Apr 2011. Web. 9 May 2011. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yes_We_Can>.


Websites Referenced


2008 Presidential Election results: http://elections.nytimes.com/2008/results/president/map.html
Obama Campaign logo: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obama_logo
Image glossary of Augustus' circulated statues, busts & coins: http://www.romanemperors.com/augustus.htm
"Pictorial Turn," referenced online version of Mitchell's book Picture Theory: http://www.scribd.com/doc/30841638/Mitchell-W-T-J-The-Pictorial-Turn
Obamicon.Me - Put yourself in the Obama poster: http://obamiconme.pastemagazine.com/
Text of the speech from Obama's campaign: http://www.culturekitchen.com/liza/blog/text_barack_obamas_speech_in_new_hampshire
List of celebrities appearing in Yes We Can: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yes_We_Can#Guest_appearances
Democratic National Convention, Yes We Can live: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CoE6864ToRk



Photo credit:

Official portrait of Obama: http://change.gov/newsroom/entry/new_official_portrait_released/
Obama campaign logo: http://www.signatureillustration.org/illustration-blog/2008/12/obama-mccain-2008-art-polotics/obama-logo/
NY Times image of Obama and crowd: http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2007/07/02/us/02obama-600.jpg
Statue of Augustus image: http://godzdogz.op.org/2009/12/characters-of-advent-caesar-augustus.html
Mitchell's book Picture Theory image: http://www.tower.com/picture-theory-essays-on-verbal-visual-representation-w-j-t-mitchell-paperback/wapi/100978604
De-constructed Obama graffiti: http://www.graffnews.com/2008/06/obama-in-the-buff/
Yes We Can still image: http://myaimistruth.wordpress.com/2008/08/29/yes-we-can-live-william-and-john-legend/
YouTube comments: http://www.chrisfinke.com/2007/08/28/filter-youtube-comments-by-spelling-mistakes/
Original photo by AP, used by Fairey: http://blogfordarfur.org/archives/185
Still from "I Got a Crush...On Obama": http://kara.allthingsd.com/20090120/shes-still-got-a-crush-on-obama/
Still from Yes We Can by will.i.am: http://soupytrumpet.com/?p=481
Poster image/original: http://www.overoll.com/Content/I-lied-poster-artist-admits/2009/10/18/87321.news?from=gimage
NY Times, Fairey and his Hope posters: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/culturemonster/2009/02/shepard-faire-2.html
Obama Icon-Me http://www.chictip.com/affordable-design/obama-icon-me
Screenshot of ObamaGirl's YouTube page: http://go-digital.net/blog/category/social-networks/
Yes We Can Obama image: http://www.celebolitics.com/category/musicians/
Man holding Obama poster: http://www.tripbase.com/blog/want-to-be-a-part-of-obamas-inauguration-go-for-free/