Tag Archives: understanding

Does language dictate our relationship with/in technology?

Perhaps by applying user terminology to our experiences with the internet we are setting ourselves up to be ‘used”? Does it also place more emphasis on physical vs. psychological acts of being? When we hear the word ‘use’ do we first think of the physical, concrete world over an imagined reality? Language can hold us back from meaningful understanding, thus meaningful creative responses to those understandings…How might our understanding of these experiences and ourselves change if we were to call ourselves ‘participants’ and ‘players’ acting on or within rather than ‘users’ or ‘subjects’ of the digital world…

Questions are more interesting than answers. I think this is the case for all artists who incorporate any kind of conceptual pursuit into their work. In a similar line of thought, the dialogue that emerges following a critique is often more interesting, and definitely more in-depth and revealing, than the critique itself.

Yesterday I skimmed over a book review on Rhizome for Digital Folklore Reader, a new book edited by Olia Lialina and Dragan Espenschied. The authors seem to explore ideas I am considering within my own work, however, I can’t decide  whether to fork over the money to have it shipped to me from the UK. I went back to the review today and saw that a new comment was posted by a fellow reader. The comment inspired me to actually read the full review. Through the questions posed by this commentator, I became much more engaged with the review itself because I was encouraged to develop my own thoughts about the content of this book. Read the book review and my commentary here >


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Visual Literacy & Visual Language in a Digital Culture

Newton Virus, Prototype, 2005/2007

This is a blog entry in response to readings and discussions in a graduate course at UBC: Theory and Research in Digital Literacy…

In “Visual Aspects of Media Literacy” (1998), Paul Messaris discusses why those who are highly educated and interested in visual media seem to be unaware of paraproxemic devices by hinting towards a broader conclusion: “If we ask why paraproxemic devices are so transparent to the average viewer, a likely answer might be that it is precisely their analogical quality, that is, their nonarbitrariness, that makes them transparent. Because they appear to be simple extensions of our everyday, real-world perceptual habits, we may interpret them without much conscious awareness or careful scrutiny.” (p. 74) At the end of the article Messaris suggests that the aim of education about visual literacy should be to “denaturalize” visual syntax and for students to realize how they have accepted the implications of that syntax and how they can apply this understanding to their work: “A visually literate person can use these properties either as tools of creative thought and expression or as foundations for resisting the potentially negative influences of visual media” (p. 77). I incorporate these ideas into how I teach art and design. I may not use the exact same language as Messaris (paraproxemic, denaturalize, syntax) but usually everything I teach in art involves breaking the image/text down to the components that create the composition in order to understand its affect on the human psyche. Continue reading

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