Visual Intelligences Research Project

About the Project : Research Topics : Visual Intelligences: Artefacts, Perception and Cognition

It goes without saying that the visual sense is enormously important to the ways in which human beings apprehend, understand and respond to the world around them, that is, to perception and cognition, broadly understood as ‘seeing’ on the one hand and ‘making something’ of what is apprehended on the other, the result of which is acquiring or producing knowledge or understanding. These processes are in part mental, but they also give rise to artefacts in which visual appearance has a special role, from drawings, diagrams and maps to signs, photographs, designed goods, from fine art, through architecture and design to visual culture in general.

How, then, are images or artefacts in which the visual sense plays a major role (in their production and/or reception) ‘intelligent’, that is, able to articulate, express or communicate complex realities and problems of all kinds, and how might they supplement or substitute for other kinds of awareness and thinking? Of particular interest are phenomena that both challenge our established ways of understanding –notably modernity’s ingrained ‘logocentrism’ and postmodernism’s predominantly logocentric critique– but which also seem uniquely amenable to visual presentation, from ideas and states of mind to aspects of nature and question, problems and dilemmas encountered in ethical and political life.