Browse Exhibits (23 total)

Facebook: A Place for the Social

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Facebook is currently undergoing an interesting transition. It is transitioning demographically from young to middle-aged users in part because the users who initially joined Facebook in their teens are aging and in part because of the expansion of Facebook beyond the university population. With this shifting demographic, Facebook's purpose is similarly in motion evolving from the casual social media site which hosts conversations between college students towards an easy to use communication platform utilized for a variety of purposes. While many users have personal opinions as to what is appropriate to post on Facebook, besides the monitoring of explicit content, the site is a merger of many kinds of statuses and posts. This exhibit is intended to feature the different kinds of everyday writing that appear on the social media site, Facebook.

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Wedding Invitations

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Here, you will find a collection of wedding invitations created between 1999-2015.

The creators of these artifacts used a couple different techniques to craft and personalize their wedding invitations. Some creators started their wedding invitation by using a format and then made modifications to the wording, layout, and/or paper. You can see examples of these invitations by selecting "Cusomized using Templates" in the right menu. 

Others crafted their invitations from scratch and had complete control over the design, wording, layout, and paper. You can see examples of these invitations by selecting "Created from Scratch" in the right menu.

Each of the creators have written a description of the customization process of their wedding invitation, which can be found next to their invitation. 

Lists: Organizing Everyday Life

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To-do lists, reminders, schedules, and shopping lists help individuals remember tasks to be completed, items to be purchased, upcoming meetings and events, and the order in which these things all need to happen. 

As these various examples demonstrate, list-making is not a process that happens once and is then finished. Whether composed in print or digitally, lists are meant to be viewed multiple times, and altered as needed with each viewing. Some writers do this with checkmarks, others by crossing items out. Some items appear in lists multiple times, as tasks from a previous day remain incomplete and need to be added to a later date. Still other lists are adjusted to show progress made on a task, or to approximate how much time or work still remains to be done before the item can be fully "checked off the list." 

This exhibit is organized into three categories: schedule lists, task lists, and shopping lists. Though each category serves a distinct purpose, all three categories demonstrate the writers' needs to organize their thoughts and their lives by writing things down. 

 

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Graffiti: Writing Nicely With Others

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This exhibit is composed of pictures of graffiti on multiple walls and doors of an abandoned, unfinished building in Tallahassee, Florida. The exhibit has been designed to take a closer look at how composition happens in a shared, public space by many different composers.

A highly material practice, this graffiti shows that space (and what I think of as "prime real estate") on the walls is very important to the artists. Most of the graffiti takes up the lower portions of the walls: the first people see, the easiest to see at eye level, the most impressive because of the perspective of people who may come in and realize that the letters are as tall as they are. It would be very difficult to get up higher without a ladder, which would be difficult to pull off without being seen. This building is in the backyard of four apartments, and very visible to them.

When I first thought of this idea, a few months ago now, I had visited the space without taking photos. Upon returning to the building with the purpose of taking pictures for this project, I found that the walls were very, very different. Stencils that I had seen on these walls, and on stop signs, electric boxes, and other walls around Tallahasse, as well, were now completely covered and nowhere to be found. Art that seemed to be amateur (sketches of elephants, stencils of the faces of Marilyn Monroe, Zach Efron, and other celebrities, poems written in freehand with no design, just normal handwriting) were the pieces that were covered by new, extensive pieces by more experienced artists.

Instead of remixing other work, artists paint over other work, taking space for themselves, differentiating their work from all others with distinct backgrounds and borders as well as distinct style choices. The outside of one door is tagged with work that could be found inside the building, almost like a name on a mailbox, signifying ownership, like a flag in the soil.

This world of composition is constantly changing; I would not be surprised to return to this building and find it even more covered, even more transformed.

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Vintage Postcards: Curating Social Bonds

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This exhibit brings together four different types of postcards to illustrate the evolution of epistolary communication in North America between the late nineteenth century and the mid-twentieth century. They trace a progression from cards that weren't intended to house written messages to cards with dedicated space on the back specifically for that purpose. As the genre of the postcard evolved, users interacted with it differently. The stereoscopic card, likely the oldest in this exhibit, seems to have been repurposed as a notecard, even though it was probably a memento of some sort in its first incarnation. The later postcards show an adherence to the conventions of the genre--in the 1914 card, the handwriting becomes smaller and more cramped as the writer attempts to constrain her message to the space alloted by the division. (There is a note in the same hand on the address side of the division, but its angle and fragmentedness might suggest that the note was scribbled later, after the card had been sent.)

The postcards that were mailed circulated in an era preceding more formal rules about addresses, for the addresses are minimal:

Mr. Oscar Groginger
Mt Carroll
Ills
Route 5

Mrs. E. Moran.
c/o Menona Hotel.
Bay City.
U.S.A.

These evidence the very distinct stages that the mailing process underwent during the early part of the twentieth century, for it was not until the 1960s that five-digit zip codes were developed. 

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Tattoos: Remediation & Inked Identity

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Tattoos exist in a liminal space. They mark the boundaries between conceptions of identity, bodies, and even communities. While profoundly personal at times, they often exist within the public sphere. In choosing to get tattooed, individuals acknowledge the way their bodies function as “sign vehicles” and the fact that bodies are imbued with meaning by the perceptions of others. So thoughtful (or not so thoughtful) decisions about marking one’s body with text become ways to construct the signs by which individuals and others construct meaning. This exhibit showcases a collection of photographs of tattoos along with the motivation behind the ink. In doing so, the exhibit encourages a conversation about the role of tattoos and remediation in identity formation.

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Everyday Writing's Impact in WWII Letters

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The Institute on World War II and the Human Experience is an extensive set of collections housed at the campus of Florida State University. The institute collects letters, diaries, memorabilia and other comparable items in order to index them in a fashion conducive to research. More importantly, the institute is committed to preserving to histories of the individuals that created each artifact.

Their artifacts are unique samples of everyday writing because they reflect a specific period in world history. Phone lines where extremely unreliable so letters became the primary form of education between the soldiers and their loved ones. It is important to realize that despite being such a common form of communication, the letters still conformed to some traditional conventions. These everyday writings reveal the emotional struggles of the author. More importantly these struggles where shared by thousands of other soldiers also.

This analysis involves the investigation of three letters all written in 1945, during the ending year of the war. Each account provides insight into how the war shaped the psyche of the individual, representative of many more. The first letter by Sidney Rochelson exemplifies how some simply ignored the emotional difficulties and told no one of the atrocities. Wayne Coloney reveals another societal trend, anger and desensitization towards the enemy. Lastly, John portrays a man on the brink of defeat, desperately clinging to the thought of his wife Betty for motivation to continue. Each letter illustrates a common form of coping during this period, even though none of these concepts are directly discussed in the texts. Analyzing everyday writing sheds light onto society in areas not directly mentioned by the authors. 

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________ Was Here!

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This exhibit focuses on the printed names seen on sidewalks, desks, walls, and anywhere and everywhere else. The exhibit is designed to take a closer look at the nuances of these namesthe reasoning behind their placement, their functionalityand examine how and why people are so inclined to mark their names anywhere at all.

This exhibit will also highlight paired couple names and initials, marking their significance as tools for permanent (or semi-permanent, depending on where the couple decided to place their names) expressions of love.

The action of tagging names can also be viewed as a way of marking presence or ownership, and both ideas are emphasized within this exhibit. These concepts, along with legality, all factor into the effect name-writing has on those who participate and studying them helps to understand why name-writing is so common and so overlooked as significant instances of everyday writing.

Graffiti in Men's Bathrooms

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This exhibit is focused on graffiti in men’s bathroom stalls in the southeast region of the United States, ranging from Tallahassee, FL to Athens, GA. 

Memes: Cultural Snapshots

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The Internet has transformed everyday writing. No longer is everyday writing restricted to physical vehicles such as letters or papers. Through technology, digital writing is at the forefront—and even more ephemeral in the fast paced technological landscape. Out of this fast turnover, one medium has managed to survive long enough to become a cultural staple: memes. Memes, in a literal sense, can be defined as combining text and images in order to relay a message, however in a broader, more figurative sense, they can be described as cultural snapshots. Richard Dawkins coined the term in his 1976 book The Selfish Genre defining it as an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture. This spread of memes creates a general understanding of them amongst us, thus giving them a communal sense.

Everyday writing is a facet of writing that includes works of a casual nature—meaning the purpose of such writing is not for professional means, but rather means of convenience. Everyday writing embodies the everyday, from grocery lists, annotated notes, jotted down details, etc., it is a style of writing that captures the moment of its creation. There are memes that reference cultural phenomena like elections, celebrities, societal issues, and more, giving people a glimpse of the time they were created in. Memes fit into this category in two ways. One of which is that they can be created by anyone. All they require is an image and some text. The second way is that they too capture the moment of their creation.

Memes change as fast as the world around us, and people are becoming quick to create new ones to address these changes. People even use them as a means of communication (i.e. sending a meme or a GIF as opposed to a standard text message). Perhaps the reason behind the longevity of memes is how relatable they are to the millennial generation. Memes are shared so much and through so many channels that tracing them back to their original source can be a daunting task—cementing them as forms of everyday writing. In most cases, the source of a piece of everyday writing is unknown to all except the composer, so in this sense, memes are able to continually exist in the space of our lives. 

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