Mom always said to finish your plate

FullSizeRenderInitial reaction

Eat. it may be a literal word but the image displayed actually brings a new depth to a standard practice we incorporate into our lives everyday day for survival. Eating is one of the behaviors that spans all cultures in our world. As humans we have social constructs and associated disorders relating to this behavior. “…Images are not static representations of objects but are active sites in processes of Communication.”(Finn, 1) The initial reaction to this piece of work was comforting to me as a reminder, because on caffeine filled and over scheduled days many of us do skip a meal more often than not.


“Images have immediate, affective, and even universal communicative values that words do not.”(Finn,7). After seeing it truly and taking the picture, other questions come to light;  the actual piece itself is full of a myriad of potential “signs” that jumped out at me when assessed the picture with an intent to define it as a cultural artifact.Through brief structural analysis of the image it almost seems as if it is a big red button, calling attention to the action but not necessarily intending for the button to be pushed. Does the piece display any signs to you? Does it make you feel hungry or question your latest consumptions; in all areas of life rather than just your last meal?


I often find myself settling in for a long stretch of work on my laptop in the Java’s attached to the Wallace center. The environment comforts me in its capacity; the space is usually always filled with people collaborating or working solo, a full staff and a great playlist in the background; while it does not seem like an inherent place of focus it offers my mind a place to wander when it needs a short break from what I am working on and more visuals to consume or people to interact with in my process.


I like to think of Java’s as a cultural hub both in the rochester community and RIT. “Culture is multiple and mutable”(Finn, 1) With its melting pot style of art, music, events and people the coffee shop is a great forum to identify the fundamental basis of American culture, wherein diversity we thrive. I find myself thinking that, in a sense, we are all students and scholars of the visual just by participating in the human experience.

-Clarissa Brown


2 thoughts on “Mom always said to finish your plate

  1. I find it interesting that you say this image looks like a button. When I first looked at the image, my focus was on the white circle. Then I saw the red word, “Eat”, at the center of the circle. After seeing the word, I automatically assumed that the white circle was the representation of a white plate. The color white used for the circle\ plate reminds me of the word “openness”. When I say “openness”, I mean, open to anything or to eat anything you want. Did the creator use the color white for this purpose?

    Assuming that the white circle represents a plate, I noticed that my mind started to see the image from a different point of view. I see the image as though I was sitting at a table, looking down at my plate. Did the creator also intend the viewer to see the image from this point of view as well?

  2. I really like your point on how this simple sign potentially can be interpreted as many different signs. The sign itself is simple but the fact that the word eat can have a universal meaning gives the sign a lot more depth to it. For example you say that when you see this sign you comforted as a reminder to eat however when I see it I automatically think of the gym and working out and the food associated with it. I think the fact that we were able to come up with two very different meanings shows the power of this sign.

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