Visual Literacy (English)



we are surrounded by images all day but we choose to see them or not on advertising billboards in the newspaper on television and the Internet also in science imaging becomes more important student in availa the extramural lectures Department at ETH University asked 10 researchers of various disciplines to talk about visual literacy to be visually literate means knowing how vision works how to interpret images and put them into context to be aware of manipulations and the fact that we all hold highly personal views of the world every scientific discipline has its own visual language what happens if they engage and address the question what visual literacy is and how it can be taught first we have to define what is an image what happens when we watch according to art historian Jerome Stumbo the essence is that we always seem to be able to tell the real object apart from its representation to distinguish between image and reality is crucial at the same time image only works if we know what it represents at a glance a few brushes of paint represent the total complex nature of a horse without us having to think what it is what arises register is very much dependent on physical properties according to physicists jung-geun delink optical illusions can be very strong and some things are perceived in a certain way because our eyes are custom to similar images even if the picture shows something quite different Asha slider grabs tricks the eye even though we know what we see is impossible in reality apart from our eyes being physically prepared for certain observations our minds are also predisposed psychologists Francis Patton and linguist at Samos explain the existence of the so called mindsets a brain is programmed to interpret images in a certain way our expectations shape our observations reading images is very comparable to reading text in both cases meaning does not result from observation meaning comes first and colors our observations vision literacy means being aware of these mindsets a further characteristic of images is that they are made knowledge of the creation process is important in order to interpret images for instance in the medical sciences images are becoming more and more important after the invention of the x-ray technology in 1895 it was no longer necessary to open bodies for internal examination max view confer radiologist explains how an x-ray image is a representation of the amount of radiation that is absorbed by the body the higher the absorption the whiter the image we think we see the whiteness of the bone however it is a mere convention doctors might as well agree to show the bones in black we are tricked into believing such a medical image as a direct print of the body and therefore provokes the illusion of being objective however there's no such thing as an objective image but see she tells us the Philosopher's points out that there is always a maker between the image and the object that is portrayed this person chooses what to record and what to represent to us and especially in the medical sciences enhancement or manipulation is often necessary to construct a useful image for diagnosing when speaking about visual literacy we have to realize our sensory organs all work together to interpret the world peace of air poor Bern build simulators for airplane pilots and military purposes he emphasizes sound air pressure tactile impressions and smell or taste all influenced visual perception also emotions are important in suggesting what we see is real the study of films can further guide us to see how images work early movies were advertised as illusions film scientist Frank Kessler explains the way in which the directness of film works that suggests to the viewer that what we see is real even though everyone knows that in photography and documentary manipulations are common especially after the advent of Photoshop however strictly speaking every images are cutting from reality just a short to say an image lies it's nonsense there's no such thing as an objective image however the story that is told by the image can be untrue images can be used by cultures and those in power images reflect world views literature professor and Whitney looks how certain visual icons are recycled in collective memory those images determine how we remember they write our history the power of images is twofold the picture and the context of this picture what it stands for in a cultural sense visual literacy should go hand in hand with other forms of literacy especially if images are icons often in ideology cartographer Franklin art studies maps of the world based on measurements and figures maps and atlases seem to represent the world in its most objective way the alternative map of the world UNICEF produced shows otherwise we hardly recognize continents and countries as it differs so much from the outline map of our school days something we take for granted proves to be a cultural product our image of the world is literally tied to an ideological position also in this broth a sense images and the ability to read them has to fulfill what we define in the beginning an image has to be recognizable at a glance the image has to speak for itself even if it tells a thousand words at the same time there is always a sharp distinction between image and reality the definition of an image is given by your Buddhist temple a representation and clearly not the real thing remains this is where to focus on images are mediated by our eyes and our minds the producer and his instruments by psyche and personality in our search for visual literacy we discover determining factors cognition meaning and the creative process someone made the image and placed it in the world it enters our eyes is recorded and processed by our brain meaning is attached to it and it starts its never-ending journey in the world being used and reused in our highly technological and media dominated society visual literacy is indispensible it requires constant attention since the nature of images and their use is constantly changing want to learn more and watch all the web lectures go to our website

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