My problem with visual culture is that it is not possible to convey complex ideas through the use of images. This is probably a common complaint. But its true. Words are so much better at specifying relationships and categories. Images have their place. But they can't do everything. I think what will happen in the future is that there will be a literate elite which retains the use and power of words. They will be in charge of everyone else whose education will consist of movies, Youtube, etc. Kind of bread and circuses. ya know? But the weird thing this time around is that the educational establishment is holding up circuses as higher intellectual activity.
nah, the ideas conveyed by images is very complex. it's the representation with words that is unpredictable. and the same goes for the other direction. words can express a complex idea but the translation into image is unpredictable.relationships and categories are just as easy to convey with both -- but relationships and categories are varied. relative position, size, impact, balance, focus, etc are probably only represented visually.it's an individual's commentary evaluation of the relationships that we do better with words.and categories -- is it easier to categorize food and drink vessels by verbal description or by visual organization? the verbal description is if anything, just an argument for similarities that need not be argued if seen.
I kinda agree with you, Michael -- I think of this as a neutral switch in culture. Indeed, I think of "complexity" as a neutral term. But I do wonder what it means for the immediate future of literacy... how long will universities believe that they're serving their students best by making them taking a survey of American literature, when they could be taking a survey of Andy Warhol?
"the ideas conveyed by images is very complex. it's the representation with words that is unpredictable."Then are the representations really conveyed? Sure, images MAY convey thousands of possible ideas. But if they cannot convey any specific idea with some degree of reliability, then I would say that it can't really be said to convey anything in particular. Which goes back to my original point: words are better at conveying complex ideas better than images.I would agree with the examples of food and drink vessels or size, impact, balance, etc. are probably better represented visually. But I don't think those concepts really qualify as complex ideas. In fact, I would say that "x object placed above y object" is a pretty simple idea to convey. Whereas a treatise on securities law or macroeconomics would be pretty hard to translate into visual images.Although i guess it would be interesting to try.
Post a Comment