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Visual Literacy: Behind, Beyond Images We See


by Anne Bothwell 30 May 2008

Every day we process countless images – from You Tube to the Nike swoosh, news videos to political cartoons. But how much time do we spend thinking about what’s behind them? University of North Texas College of Visual Arts & Design is partnering with Art&Seek to start a conversation on thinking critically about the images […]

CTA TBD

Every day we process countless images – from You Tube to the Nike swoosh, news videos to political cartoons. But how much time do we spend thinking about what’s behind them?

University of North Texas College of Visual Arts & Design is partnering with Art&Seek to start a conversation on thinking critically about the images we see, create and manipulate.

On June 6 and 7, the College and the Department of Design are hosting an academic conference in Dallas on critical thinking in a visual age. Keywords, a show of artists working in Web technology and electronic media, is running concurrently with the conference.

Each day next week, Art&Seek will post:

  • A work and biography of one of the artists in the Keywords exhibit, written by Paho Mann, asst. professor of photography at UNT.
  • A question about visual literacy that UNT associate professor Michael Gibson and assistant professor Keith Owens, who both teach Communications Design, will address.

Here are Owens and Gibson, discussing the topic on KERA’s Think.

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About Keywords

by Paho Mann, Asst Professor of Photography, UNT

The art works from Keywords have two things in common: The 6 artists use pre-existing databases or sets of imagery to make their work; and Web technology and other electronic media are central to their creative process.

Some of the artists share similarities in their approach – Nora Herting, Penelope Umbrico and Brad Kuhl all use video to rapidly cycle though sets of images.

Jim Bumgardner and the collaborative team of Jonathan Harris and Sep Kamvar use computer programming to organize and visualize the data in their work. The same mediums used by these artists are used to stream mass amounts of information to millions of people every day, creating ever-larger pools of data to draw from.

Information becomes noise without context and framework. Each artist or artist team included in Keywords has in one way or another used his or her work to filter, organize and thoughtfully criticize this seemingly overwhelming amount of information.

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  • Great to see the conversation and the note about the conference and exhibition.