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Friday, February 05, 2010

Visual understanding 

I was sent this YouTube link by a Twitter friend. A Ukrainian sand-artist, Kseniya Simonova. How’s that for unusual? Apart from the fact that it’s just a little bit too long, it’s pretty impressive. For me it played into that recurring debate about what the visual can and can’t do. Well for a start it’s pretty hard to work out the Ukrainian sand-artist thing without words; but then it is quite striking that as the images evolve and take shape they make a sort of narrative that holds our attention and engages us (maybe emotionally?). I suppose the meanings are quite open. The images invite us to reflect, but then they don’t direct our reflection in any way. Music and sound effects serve to thicken our interpretation of the visual. And since I’m now writing about media literacy, I started wondering about what sort of media knowledge you need to produce or consume something like this and then, to go further, what sort of reading a critical media literacy might yield. Well, I only wondered, but when I get just a little bit further on with this particular piece of writing I hope to share some of it before it reaches the full light of day.

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