lecture 1: Module Introduction


Q. When is a sheep not a sheep?

A. When it’s in a packet! Or More likely when it’s a form of art.

Visual messages have become part of the fabric of everyday modern life.

Their currency is persuasive (John Tagg, 1988)

The claim that we live in a visual culture does not diminish our need to articulate in words our response to this culture.

For students of visual communication, this is a necessity!

How do we read a photograph?

We all read images differently, but we all relate to the obvious.

A ‘No Smoking’ sign or a ‘power’ symbol need no text to understand.

When we speak about forms of visual we can not avoid naming objects such as ‘tree’,  place, colour, shape…

“This is not a pipe” it is a painting of a pipe!

Descriptive language, social and cultural connections.

Swastika stands for good luck in Hindu & Buddhism, badly affiliated with the Nazi party.

Symbols have various meanings, dependant on education, background.

Describing, contextualising and analysing can be employed in an interpretation

Words have no fixed value and cannot claim fixed meaning

Differences in interpretation

The apple is the ‘signifier’ and the fruit is used to signify temptation (the ‘signified’)