Stephen Wong

Toronto, Canada

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Stephen Wong
Posted almost 3 years ago
Why is visual literacy discouraged in most cultures & WHAT CAN WE DO to change that?
Isn't this rather a McLuhanesque question? Figure and ground? Literary literacy (a bit redundant to speak it) is privileged in a way that no other type of literacy is, and I judge this is so because of the malleability and extensibility of the medium (text, linearity, intertextuality, contextuality) in ways drawing and diagramming are not. But I think there is a petitio principii in the question: Where is the evidence in the claim that so-called visual literacy is discouraged in most cultures? The near death of the primary form of literacy (reading and writing) will not by itself bring about visual literacy or any other type such as the mathematical or the musical. But if there is anything out there to encourage visual reasoning (let's just place this without question in the faculty of the mind and not in some other organ), I submit that it is as simple as a matter of getting in touch with the child, at play with more important things. I must reckon that practitioners of visual literacy can have this child-like sense of their work. And by bringing it about in the consideration of problems which other forms of literacy are encumbered to handle or show or depict or break through, it will have honed an old skill or inclination and subjected to new challenges an inherently dynamic and evocative medium.