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Re: RE: [xmca] Fwd: Visual literacy?
That is grand thinking and as a person who refuses to grow up (as I type I
wear a santa hat) I appreciate the creative license.
May I recommend a great that has done something along the lines of what
"The 5th Dimension" authored by members of the Laboratory of Comparative
It offers both a nice history as well as current goings on as well as
glimpses into the future.
p.s. i must also note that reading Scribner and Cole's "Psychology of
Literacy" is very enlightening
Larry Purss <email@example.com>
Sent by: firstname.lastname@example.org
12/21/2009 10:25 PM
Please respond to "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity"
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: RE: [xmca] Fwd: Visual literacy?
How tied is that term to "reading" as meaning-making?
If it is part of the same semiotic system then the idea of communication
as a TRIADIC process (self, other, and object) seems to be the foundation
of literacy and includes all forms of interpretation. At the level of
infant development when a mother MARKS the infants objective activity and
interprets it is that "reading" the infant and responding?
I want to make make a far out suggestion for to stop LCHC from dying. It
seems to me that a parallel could be made to the way the Chicago School
has become mythologized as the home of American Pragmatism. LCHC needs to
create a grand narrative that looks into the past and then projects that
past into the future as a narrative that captures the mythological
dimensions of being part of a movement. Of course we would have to dust
off the genealogy map from our ancient past (a few weeks ago) and present
the narrative with a sense of inevitability that we were destined to get
to this point in our history where LCHC is a center of the emerging
paradigm which embraces moral fallibility as a challenge to all the moral
It would have to situate itself historically as existing at that moment in
time when psychology returned to its roots after being marooned in the
20th century in sterile debates about where inside the head the self
I think more than a few books about the beginnings of LCHC are required.
I would look for a grant from one of the large corporations that is
embracing the social and relational shift in paradigms to give a large
grant to create a retreat center and extensive archives where visiting
scholars gather to further the work. (I would start looking for acreage in
the San Diego area right now while the real estate prices are so
depressed. There must be conference centers in the desert or on the coast
that have gone bankrupt.)
Now I want to emphasize that I am being playful and imaginative and
serious all at the same time. We understand play as a stage where we
learn and practice various roles as we acquire the skills to take our
place in the world. I want to propose that play and imagination IS
REALITY throughout the life-span. All the despair about the monolithic
narratives from the lands of moral certitudes must be met with dreams and
fantasies that are as grand and imaginative and as visionary as those old
worn out narratives that are destroying mother earth.
That's what I'm thinking at this moment but in the next moment I may think
I'm crazy and delusional for posting such a crazy narrative to such an
academic and reasonable and responsible group of scholars. I want to
suggest that responsibility can be seen or "READ" as "RESPONSE ability." (
Robert Kegan's The Evolving Self)
There is something in our times that leaves us stuck and unable to
respond. When we frame it as "wars" then it is a David and Goliath tale
of despair. If we could harness the power of playful, imaginative,
visionary fiction AS the foundation of REALITY could we become engaged in
the evolution of LCHC as a conduit to a new narrative.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Duvall, Emily" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Monday, December 21, 2009 6:47 pm
Subject: RE: [xmca] Fwd: Visual literacy?
To: email@example.com, "eXtended Mind, Culture,Activity"
> Such as sculpture?
> -----Original Message-----
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com]
> On Behalf Of Andy Blunden
> Sent: Monday, December 21, 2009 6:03 PM
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: Re: [xmca] Fwd: Visual literacy?
> I'm not convinced by your critique of the broader use of the
> term "literacy", Jay (though I've learnt two new words
> today: adiabatic and agnatic, so I have to thank you for
> enhancing my literacy nonetheless). Do we want to ban the
> extension of meaning by metaphor, just because we think the
> metaphor is not perfect? :) What if you expand semiotics and
> sign use to artefacts in our maleable definition of literacy?
> Jay Lemke wrote:
> > Well, I just reformatted the subject line to the main topic, I
> > But in such a way that the archives will still put it with the
> > posts, I hope.
> > I was asked to do a talk about how the concept of literacy has
> > and thought it through, but never actually did the talk. It
> > requested by some progressive people who found themselves in
> > with some more conservative types who thought of literacy as
> > reading verbal text linguistically (if that), with maybe
> writing as an
> > afterthought.
> > I long ago concluded that you can't reasonably define literacy
> > anything other than the use of semiotic resources in meaning-making.
> > attempts to narrow, except for historical purposes in matters of
> > just don't wash for me intellectually. So math literacy and
> > literacy are, along with text literacy, just different pieces
> of the
> > same pie, as anyone reading or writing a technical document or
> > scientific article will tell you. Indeed it is often really
> hard to
> > separate the three semiotic resource systems involved, so much
> so that
> > became convinced that (a) they have common historical origins
> > ontogenetic precursors, and (b) they really form a single
> > system, even if you can sometimes tease them apart with formal
> > analytical methods.
> > That implies of course that TEACHING them separately is not a
> > strategy. And if we turn to face-to-face communication, then gesture
> > posture and meaning-communicating movement belong similarly with
> > as one functional system, something that some researchers in
> > communication more or less realized long ago.
> > Now "health literacy" as Mike implied, would seem to be a more
> > metaphorical usage. It really means basic knowledge about human
> > and it is about content, not means of making meaning. About a
> > kind of meaning made. On this model we could have railroad literacy,
> > And that means that terms like text literacy, visual literacy, and
> > literacy wind up with double meanings. Knowledge of literature and
> > other genres; knowledge of art works and history,
> knowledge of
> > mathematical theorems, etc. Except that in the semiotics of
> > literacies, a lot of that knowledge can also be mobilized as
> > intertextual resources, which are a special kind of semiotic
> > Bodies of knowledge, however, do not form semiotic resource
> SYSTEMS in
> > themselves. They don't have the characteristic paradigmatic and
> > organization, nor the realization and instantiation relations, etc.
> > can't organize them into minimal contrast pairs. You can however
> > their elements as semiotic units, eg. in quotations.
> > So knowledge literacies can be deployed with and within genuine
> > literacies, and while there may be only one all-modes Semiotic
> > at least in functional terms, there are certainly a large
> number of
> > rather distinct knowledge literacies, however fuzzy the boundaries.
> > makes a knowledge literacy useful, or necessary, is just the
> fact that
> > you can't substitute another one for it in its primary domains
> of use.
> > Once upon a time, to be literate or "lettered" meant to be
> educated or
> > knowledgeable, in general. And the term may just be trying to
> get back
> > home.
> > JAY.
> >> Mike, you write:
> >> "I managed a D+ in my one obligatory art producing class in college
> >> work later exhibited, by some really odd
> >> error, in a show of student art which makes one wonder at the
> >> judgments involved on either side of the
> >> process!). I am a hopeless plastic arts producer. But not
> >> illiterate as a reader, finder of meanings."
> >> It's fair enough to argue that reading and writing are not
> >> forms of literacy. But in this crazy multimodal culture of ours,
> >> reading and writing both require adeptness with design
> >> (remember that even the text we read on the screen is a
> >> product--the 'translation' of code into a specifically designed
> >> format that we can interpret), what we call "visual literacy"
> >> increasingly an essential component of BOTH reading and
> >> Visual literacy goes far beyond what we learned in art class--
> >> color wheel and all that.
> >> In fact, it seems a little strange to link visual literacy to
> >> museumgoing. I bombed art class right along with the best of them,
> >> success in art class still wouldn't have prepared me to
> engage in the
> >> sorts of communications platforms that have become the most
> >> significant message delivery systems. Indeed, design and
> >> literacy (or whatever you want to call them) skills are so embedded
> >> communication platforms that I find myself making design
> >> without a thought (as when I re-formatted the chunk I quoted
> from the
> >> previous email in this thread, because when I pasted it in
> the line
> >> breaks got all funky--distracting for the reader!). I don't
> know if
> >> the fact that visual literacy (or whatever you want to call
> it) is
> >> embedded within reading and writing literacy practices
> strengthens or
> >> weaken the case for calling it a form of literacy; I only
> know that
> >> it's both important and different enough from reading and
> >> skills to deserve its own label, if only so we know how to
> talk about
> >> visually,
> >> jenna
> >> ~~
> >> Jenna McWilliams
> >> Learning Sciences Program, Indiana University
> >> ~
> >> http://jennamcwilliams.blogspot.com
> >> http://remediatingassessment.blogspot.com
> >> ~
> >> firstname.lastname@example.org
> >> email@example.com
> >> On Dec 21, 2009, at 7:06 PM, mike cole wrote:
> >>> The addition of production to definitions of literacy is
> always a
> >>> good move
> >>> in my view, Jay. Reading is not equivalent to writing. In
> the case
> >>> visual
> >>> literacy and museum art, it seems like what is being
> referred to is
> >>> reading half. At least i hope so. I managed a D+ in my one
> >>> art
> >>> producing class in college (a work later exhibited, by some really
> >>> error, in a show of student art which makes one wonder at the
> >>> involved on either side of the
> >>> process!). I am a hopeless plastic arts producer. But not entirely
> >>> illiterate as a reader, finder of meanings.
> >>> There is, a few blocks from you apartment, a show at the SD Museum
> >>> Contemporary Art by Tera Donavan. I think you will find it
> >>> fascinating as
> >>> I did. I plan to take the family during their visit. Donovan
> >>> everyday
> >>> objects (tar paper, straws, cups, and more) and creates
> >>> with
> >>> thousand of only one object aggregated in the most fantastic ways.
> >>> states her goal as wanting to explore the properties of objects
> seens as
> >>> parts of very large populations rather than as individual objects.
> >>> effects she achieves are mind boggling with the play of
> light and
> >>> texture
> >>> over surface sufficient to reorder our perceptions in ways
> we could
> >>> never
> >>> anticipate.Again, art as tertiary artifact, re-admired.
> >>> Since you have written more on time scales, I'll stay away
> from the
> >>> topic in
> >>> general; we have agreed too often here to warrant repitition.
> >>> But quite specifically, our work in creating the "Fifth
> >>> was to be
> >>> able to study changes in a pre-pared system of activity over
> a long
> >>> period (from inception to death) at several scales of time.
> The idea
> >>> part of our interest in the failure of "successful"
> >>> innovations
> >>> to be sustained-- how did they die and why and how did their
> >>> implementers
> >>> enter in to and respond to the process. Still wrestling with
> >>> analysis-- lots
> >>> of 5thD's were born and died but others keep being born.
> Some are,
> >>> today,
> >>> strikingly like their originals in the 1980's, others have morphed
> >>> that
> >>> only a few features remain. The children participants, who are
> >>> impossible to track over time are now adults -- i sometime
> >>> one at
> >>> ucsd. The college participants are parents I sometimes hear from.
> >>> recorded in their fieldnotes written at the time. I have
> some money
> >>> salted
> >>> away so that "when it dies" (or if i can manage to retire
> >>> doing so
> >>> myself) I will have the full range of instances documented
> and a lot
> >>> of the
> >>> data in digital form,
> >>> so that I can look at that object from both ends of its
> history. A
> >>> preliminary report is in the book, *The Fifth Dimension*.
> >>> As to LCHC, that is another matter. It seems to me a
> certainty that
> >>> it will
> >>> die. It had a near-death experience a couple of years ago.
> As a way
> >>> of at
> >>> least marking its passing, a number of former and current
> members of
> >>> the lab
> >>> are in the process of creating a book that traces its
> origins and
> >>> many
> >>> offspring it has generated. THAT collective narrative I hope
> to live
> >>> long
> >>> enough to see come into being.
> >>> Now if Yuan or anyone would like to see LCHC live, proposals
> for how
> >>> arrange that would of course be seriously entertained, and perhaps
> >>> even entertaining! I thought I saw a nibble at collaboration
> >>> making XMCA
> >>> a more powerful medium the other day, but it turned out to
> be a
> >>> mirage. So
> >>> for now, we keep on keeping on.
> >>> mike
> >>> On Mon, Dec 21, 2009 at 12:07 PM, Jay Lemke
> >>>> Thanks for the link, Mike. Was nice to see someone in the mass
> >>>> affiliated with a newspaper no less, arguing for critical
> >>>> 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.
> >>>> 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
> >>>> meaning
> >>>> in images, with or without any literacy education. Maybe
> there is
> >>>> implied
> >>>> emphasis on FIND, in the sense of digging below the
> >>>> which
> >>>> would be better. But more recent ideas in the field put
> >>>> emphasis on
> >>>> visual production relative to interpretation, so I'd
> probably go
> with a
> >>>> definition more like "the skills of making meaning with
> >>>> resources,
> >>>> for your own purposes", and include in that the meaning-
> making we
> >>>> with
> >>>> others' images by way of interpretation, critique, etc.
> >>>> Have you ever noticed that when anyone, docent, tourguide,
> or just
> >>>> speaks authoritatively about a painting in a museum, that
> >>>> bystanders
> >>>> seem to become interested in listening? People generally
> seem to
> >>>> believe
> >>>> that art images, at least, require some professional
> >>>> benefit from having specialist knowledge (esp. historical).
> >>>> also seem
> >>>> to enjoy visual interpretation more than textual. Textual
> >>>> interpretation is
> >>>> seen as superfluous, even obstructing to enjoyment of the
> work. No
> >>>> really reads literary criticism, or book reviews beyond the "it's
> >>>> part. But people are fascinated by the exegesis of visual works.
> >>>> is one
> >>>> basis for the popularity of the DaVinci Code and similar popular
> >>>> And there is not a word about visual interpretation skills
> in our
> >>>> standard
> >>>> curricula (meaning as practiced in schools, there are some
> nods in
> >>>> official standards).
> >>>> JAY.
> >>>> Jay Lemke
> >>>> Professor (Adjunct, 2009-2010)
> >>>> Educational Studies
> >>>> University of Michigan
> >>>> Ann Arbor, MI 48109
> >>>> www.umich.edu/~jaylemke <http://www.umich.edu/%7Ejaylemke>
> >>>> Visiting Scholar
> >>>> Laboratory for Comparative Human Communication
> >>>> University of California -- San Diego
> >>>> La Jolla, CA
> >>>> USA 92093
> >> _______________________________________________
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> >> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
> Andy Blunden http://home.mira.net/~andy/ +61 3 9380 9435
> Skype andy.blunden
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