Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Not Just Perception

So, it seems this Art vs. Language/Iconic Bias stuff is on the brain these days…

A great deal of research on "art" or looking at drawings has been situated in Perception studies of psychology, and I've on occasion bumped heads with various who have taken this track. Perception, as it pertains to visual things, studies how it is people's vision works: the psychology of vision. I can understand how it might fit with visual language studies, and it does, but only to the same extant that studies of hearing fit with spoken language.

This issue is related to the Veil of Iconicity issues that I've been writing about lately. Thinking that drawings should be situated in Perception fails to recognize that they can form their own system of communication, rather than simply being a router for the perceptual activity of vision.

Rather, my visual language theories seek to recognize that drawings are different. Drawings are not just "visual material" that is seen like everything else in the world (ahem, though the aparatus of vision might treat it the same). Drawings come from the mind, they are conceptual representations, and as such can't just be lumped in with all perceptual things that don't come from the mind without some distinction. Just like words in a language, they are part of a code. It just happens that this code often looks like what it means.

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