Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Information designer Tom Wujec gives a brief talk about three areas of the brain that help us understand words, images, feelings, connections. I'm interested in the "lo-tech visual strategic plan" vs. "the emerging digital technology visual strategic plan." I think there there must be some kind of difference in logic formation between writing and mark-making using basic tools as opposed to using technology to record and "visually think out" things. Does anyone reading this know if the brain uses different pathways for writing and drawing with hand tools vs. typing for a screen and creating digital imagery? What role do learning styles play in this? I feel like the use of unseen and unknowable tools must impact the way we work out ideas and shift how we think. Like my inability to know the workings of the computer that I'm typing on this minute... how would my brain be firing up if I had a direct physical connection to the marks I'm making right now, via pen or typewriter? One thing is for sure, my vocabulary would be reduced to about 50 words due to my inability to spell.
Seriously, I really need to know about this.

In addition, this short talk implies that brain makes meaning through vision alone, which is completely wrong. It could have been edited in a truncated way that dropped out something about vision as one way to create meaning, so I'm not hating that much. But I am really fascinated by our idea that "seeing is believing" is still propping up "seeing is consciousness."

1 comment:

john said...

I think part of what this talk is missing (and you are getting at above) is that the construction of meaning (visual or otherwise) is cultural and historical. I don't know if different parts of the brain would be firing up if you were using a pencil vs a computer, but the way those three parts of the brain interact would (in hy humble opinion) be different in different cultures and different historical periods.

I'm thinking of it like a recipe for bread. All recipes for bread have essentially the same ingredients, but they ways they are combined, and in what ratios produces very different types of bread.

"Seeing," and what it means to see have a history and change. I think changes in art (as a visual means of constructing meaning) are partially driven by new ways of seeing things. Think of the emergence of x ray technology and cubism during roughly the same historical period.

But, not being a neuro-scientist or a baker i could be blowing smoke.

Anyway, cheers and thanks for a thought provoking post.