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Re: [xmca] Fwd: Visual literacy? Surf an art museum - Lifestyle - SignOnSanDiego.com
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- Subject: Re: [xmca] Fwd: Visual literacy? Surf an art museum - Lifestyle - SignOnSanDiego.com
- From: Jay Lemke <email@example.com>
- Date: Mon, 21 Dec 2009 12:07:44 -0800
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Thanks for the link, Mike. Was nice to see someone in the mass media,
affiliated with a newspaper no less, arguing for critical visual
literacy to protect us from advertising!
Of course that is an old idea in visual education circles, and it can
build on the widespread folk-skepticism toward advertising.
Unfortunately the more pernicious effects in ads are probably at
subtler levels than what basic visual literacy skills can foreground.
"The ability to find meaning in images" is the definition of visual
literacy used. That seems a little too basic. I think everyone finds
meaning in images, with or without any literacy education. Maybe there
is an implied emphasis on FIND, in the sense of digging below the
surface/obvious, which would be better. But more recent ideas in the
field put more emphasis on visual production relative to
interpretation, so I'd probably go with a definition more like "the
skills of making meaning with visual resources, for your own
purposes", and include in that the meaning-making we do with others'
images by way of interpretation, critique, etc.
Have you ever noticed that when anyone, docent, tourguide, or just me,
speaks authoritatively about a painting in a museum, that many
bystanders seem to become interested in listening? People generally
seem to believe that art images, at least, require some professional
interpretation or benefit from having specialist knowledge (esp.
historical). People also seem to enjoy visual interpretation more than
textual. Textual interpretation is seen as superfluous, even
obstructing to enjoyment of the work. No one really reads literary
criticism, or book reviews beyond the "it's good" part. But people are
fascinated by the exegesis of visual works. The is one basis for the
popularity of the DaVinci Code and similar popular works.
And there is not a word about visual interpretation skills in our
standard curricula (meaning as practiced in schools, there are some
nods in the official standards).
Professor (Adjunct, 2009-2010)
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Laboratory for Comparative Human Communication
University of California -- San Diego
La Jolla, CA
On Dec 20, 2009, at 12:37 PM, mike cole wrote:
The various extensions of the term, "literacy" that we have
recent decades always leave me somewhat uncomfortable, "health
most recent addition. The article attainable below actually has an
definition of visual literacy and I thought others might be
you can ignore the ads!)
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