Anything that seems out of the ordinary or unique about the artifact means something!
The person in the picture is female. This ad is directed towards women. The clock hints at time-management with concern to weight loss. Why only half a clock? To emphasize how exercise is not time consuming! Most interesting, a person who is already thin and fit is exercising rather than someone overweight. What does that say about fitness?
As it turns out, these details tell us something about the audience the artifact is aimed at, the constraints it is negotiating with, and most importantly,
HOW THE ARTIFACT IS PRESENTING THE RHETORICAL SITUATION OR COMMUNICATING AN IDEA
For Example.. Consider a woman at a poetry reading. She walks up on stage and from memory, recounts a poem about certain phases of her love life up until now. With every phase, her situation reminds her of a song, and she sings a few lines of these songs when she talks about how she felt throughout these stages. The audience laughs and she finishes with a smile.
The woman’s poem was obviously not trying to persuade anyone to do anything, so her poem was a cultural artifact
Instead of analyzing the poem as a whole and simply recounting the poet’s journey, I picked out how the music really affected my experience of the poem. It was something I wouldn’t usually notice, because one would see the songs as existing for entertainment purposes, but there was something more
I made something familiar- an enjoyable musical poem ending with smiles and applause- into something strange. This means questioning the meaning of the artifact, not just enjoying its effects For one, I noticed that the woman never made any concrete statements about her love life, she would simply allude to a song. Her situation was communicated by the lyrics and melody.
Now would everyone in the world have been able to understand her through that medium? No. There were assumptions she made about her audience.
They were familiar with American music
They were emotionally susceptible to the tones of the songs.
Another thing: the effect of the music was comical, even though her story ended with loneliness and apathy. Most people wouldn’t even consider why; there are a lot of times when bad situations are made fun of. This is because of the way an artifact presents those situations So once again, I made this familiar mechanism into something strange. Rather than just accepting what was presented, I asked why it was what it was. How does the music (artifact) and the comedy change the story (situation)? Why would the poet want that effect?
The music either over or under-exaggerated her state and desensitized the reality of the event, such as being left alone. She made something that can be as scary as being lost in the jungle funny with a song like “Mellow Yellow.” One can now see how this poet didn’t want to reconjure hurtful feelings, but rather laugh them off, and the music was one medium for doing just that.