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Author Topic: Image Deconstruction  (Read 6947 times)
Anon E. Mouse
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« Reply #20 on: March 27, 2006, 10:27:13 PM »
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For Anon E. Mouse,

Well I could list quite a few people in various arts who incorporate critical thought into their work, among them Paul Klee (painting), Tarkovsky (film), Olivier Messiaen and Pierre Schaeffer (music). Ansel Adams certainly committed many words to paper in relation to his social documentary work but perhaps this falls in the category of metadata. I suppose I would counter your point by saying that a history of art would have to include artists who were comfortable being intuitive and others who were comfortable with a critical process surrounding their work. So I don't believe creating a work "requires" critical thought but I also don't think it is necessarily a hindrance. I don't think intuition and thinking are mutually exclusive.

Which means the art is not dependant on intuition or reasoning, so neither can be used to define it as it could be entirely one or the other or something in between or neither.

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I think most linguists would be surprised at such a narrow definition of language.

Any linguist in particular? Do you know of any spoken language that does not have words?

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I really don't believe that language is just a matter of grammatical structure. If you really want to conflate language with grammar then I will try another term: code. Photographs can be decoded, in fact we need to do this to recognise and read something as a "photograph". Michael's article on  abstraction deals with this to some extent. The case of the tribe who could not see the representation of reality in a film is a famous one. Representations still need codes to allow them to be recognised or read because they differ so markedly from the presentation of the world which our senses normally give us. To "see" a photograph and recognise it as such is to call on internalised codes in order to do so. The whole thing seems transparent or intuitive because it is so commonplace.

I would say you are confusing language or codes with object perception. They are totally different things. I do not need "codes" to see an image. I simply need to train my visual system. This does not require definitions of the object nor interpretations of the contents of the object. I can also percieve a completely alien object - abstract art. I won't have a word for it, but that does not prevent me from from percieving it. But that is not the case with language or coded information.

We are not disputing Micheal has a photograph. What we are taking about is whether there is a meaning inherent in the image and that it can be expressed. (And natually language is more complex than simply grammar; I was using that as an example.) Micheals exercise is interesting, but I think is says more about him than the photograph.

 
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Your example of grammatical order and temporality only works for Germanic languages like English. Other languages have different orders for subject, object and verb.

I think you missed my point. I never said all languages followed the same grammar, I said all languages are temporal in that the order of the elements (words) follow a set of rules. What I said equally applies to German or Japanese. I can give you an example in Japanese if you would like.

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Your example does show that if you stuff up the rules of a particular symbolic system you can end up with apparent nonsense (or poetry) but I would hazard to say that the coded "rules" of photographic images often allow for spatial rearrangement of elements. But what happens if you turn an ordinary landscape photograph upside down rather than just flip it horizontally? The result might look interesting but is it still a landscape or is it nonsense? Or is it still within the coded confines of art?

What are the coded rules of photography and art? I know of none.

If I turn a picture upsidedown, I can recognize it as an upsidedown picture and still recognize the contents. Even with abstraction where there is is no recognized form, the image is not nonsense. Language without form is not language (and you can substitute "language" with "code").

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I agree that inherently images have no meaning. They don't need meaning to exist or even to be registered by our senses. But the same can be said of the marks and sounds which we associate with words. They are arbitrary things to which we have to learn to attach meaning. This is why I can't read Hindi. But it looks beautiful as art if I read it that way.
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Well, it looks like we agree and (perhaps) disagree. It is an interesting topic. Certainly no one has been able to solve it and I doubt we will have any success ourselves, but thanks for your thoughtful reply.
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rfw
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« Reply #21 on: March 28, 2006, 05:37:55 PM »
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Which means the art is not dependant on intuition or reasoning, so neither can be used to define it as it could be entirely one or the other or something in between or neither.
Hmm, not sure on this one . . . is it a baby and bathwater case?

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Any linguist in particular? Do you know of any spoken language that does not have words?

Louis Hjelmslev is one. My university lecturers, too. But then you've specified spoken language - I think language has a broader scope. That's probably the crux of our disagreement on this point.

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I would say you are confusing language or codes with object perception. They are totally different things. I do not need "codes" to see an image. I simply need to train my visual system. This does not require definitions of the object nor interpretations of the contents of the object. I can also percieve a completely alien object - abstract art. I won't have a word for it, but that does not prevent me from from percieving it. But that is not the case with language or coded information.

I don't think I am confusing the two but I am guilty of over-simplification in this case. Looking at an image involves more than just object perception - it's just one layer. I'd argue that abstract art is a good example of this. You have still extracted meaning from it and decided that it falls in the category of abstract art. I think that involved more than object perception in that you've applied aesthetic criteria.

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I think you missed my point. I never said all languages followed the same grammar, I said all languages are temporal in that the order of the elements (words) follow a set of rules. What I said equally applies to German or Japanese. I can give you an example in Japanese if you would like.
It's just you were quite explicit in your example and I took it as a universal. It's not necessay to demonstrate Japanese grammar.   But even spoken language is not strictly chronological as there is a lot of moving backward and forwards - that is where memory comes into play. My point is that the temporality of language is not really so fixed. It's much more slippery.

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If I turn a picture upsidedown, I can recognize it as an upsidedown picture and still recognize the contents. Even with abstraction where there is is no recognized form, the image is not nonsense. Language without form is not language (and you can substitute "language" with "code").
Hmm, I do get your point. But in this case I'd say you are applying a correction. I can also recognise "John Jane kills" as a statement and attempt to correct the grammar. It is not so much nonsense but rather ambiguity that I see here and I'd say that there's a lot of that at work in abstract art, too.

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Well, it looks like we agree and (perhaps) disagree. It is an interesting topic. Certainly no one has been able to solve it and I doubt we will have any success ourselves, but thanks for your thoughtful reply.
Absolutely my pleasure! And thanks for yours. As for solutions、 I agree. The topic has been thrown around for a long time without finding much resolution. Even people I work with on creative projects have wildly varying perspectives on this which can really be a great learning experience if we respect each others approaches.

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opgr
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« Reply #22 on: March 29, 2006, 03:14:30 AM »
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Actually, I didn't mind this "oversimplification" all that much.

While I agree that in practice we use more than object perception to look at (judge) an image, I also believe that "object perception" is exactly the similarity between art perception and language coding.

If I am not able to distinguish different elements in perception, I will not be able to code these different elements in words. It also means I will not be able to understand a coding of these elements by someone else. In other words; I won't be able to "relate to" someone else's experience.

I believe this is true for differentiating any type of experience, be it rational or intuitive, sensible or emotional. Especially the latter is important since most art attempts to invoke some kind of emotional response, or at least tries to appeal to some kind of emotional experience.

We use the rules to order the words, but if we are unable to delineate the different meanings of coding elements, then even knowing the rules will not help.

That's why a prodigy child playing a musical instrument does not usually invoke the emotions as "envisioned" by the composer, even though the execution can be brilliant. So brilliant in fact that it can obscure the lack of interpretation.

For further thought, here is a coded rule of Photography and/or Art:

- A piece of Art necessarily has a frame.

Meaning: there is always a difference between the object and its context. If there wasn't, we simply wouldn't be able to communicate the concept...

- The frame is both spatial as well as temporal

If it wasn't, then we wouldn't know where the experience ends, and therefore we wouldn't know how to differentiate the experience.



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I don't think I am confusing the two but I am guilty of over-simplification in this case. Looking at an image involves more than just object perception
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Regards,
Oscar Rysdyk
theimagingfactory
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