Reading Question – 2/13

The workings of power, the force of ideology, the transmission of values, and other abstract ideas have no specific visual form, even if they work through a material social world (22).”

“An eye looking at a line drawing a round shape that nearly closes on itself will tend to see a circle under many circumstances, just not all (48).”

“For a humanistic approach, these have to be designed as rhetorical arguments produced as a result of making, a poetics of graphical form, not in the reductive or abstract logics of Boolean algebra (54).”

The interpretation of visual forms will likely vary from person to person and culture to culture. We do recognize that many of these forms will be seen in common ways though. Knowing the commonality of visual forms has led to the desire to find a formal system of interpretation. We have found that this quickly breaks down. For one group a swastika can denote “well-being,” while for another “genocide.” Despite this, Johanna Drucker goes on to say that “the systematic analysis of ‘graphical language’ remains crucial,” though it cannot be the final focus (53).

How does a novice of “graphical language” begin their understanding of how these forms create knowledge? Is it useful to approach any language in the abstract as a beginner? Do we require building blocks, phonemes and coloremes, to lay a foundation for “nuanced solutions” to interpretation? Or does this miss the reality of how we become fluent in language altogether?