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robertogreco : leraboroditsky   4

Bat, Bean, Beam: The art of looking
"[image]

I think the reason why I find it so unsettling is that my eyes cannot come to a resting place. The ingrained left-to-right pull, reinforced by the lines traced by the bridge, forces me to look to the right. But in the bottom-left there is a body, and I want to look at that too for I am a human being and humanity is what I look for in most pictures. However, once I’ve looked at the body I can’t just stop there. The other reflex kicks back in, pushing me towards the right edge of the photograph again, and so on. However, if I flip the image

[image]

I don’t get that effect at all. Now the human subject is where my eyes come to a rest. The photograph has become more mournful than tragic, more melancholic than unsettling.

The theory also says that there are cultures that read and organise pictures in different ways. According to psychologist Lera Boroditsky, when experimental subjects are asked to arrange a shuffled bundle of photographs of a certain event into the correct temporal sequence
English speakers arrange time from left to right. Hebrew speakers do it from right to left (because Hebrew is written from right to left). […] In Mandarin, the future can be below and the past above. In Aymara, spoken in South America, the future is behind and the past in front.

I don’t know what this tells us – again, I am suspicious of the certainties of people who study the mind across different cultures – but I may have stumbled into my own supporting example, about 15 years after seeing the photograph by Cartier-Bresson. It comes from the Japanese manga Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms by Fumiyo Kōno, which is set in Hiroshima ten years after the bombing. In one scene, two lovers kiss on a bridge, but they are haunted by the memory of the bodies that once floated in the water below.

[image]

It’s a picture that had the identical unsettling effect on me as Cartier-Bresson's: again my eyes cannot come to a resting place, and keep going from the two lovers to the top right corner across the bridge and back again. However, this time I wonder if a native Japanese reader would effectively be looking at a mirror image. This would still be horrific, but devoid of the visual tension and the sense of being pulled concurrently into two directions - a not insignificant difference, in terms of the psychological effect and ultimately the meaning of the artwork.

I wonder, then, if along with a history of seeing we could talk of an art of looking: that is to say, a set of acquired techniques for making sense of the coded images of the culture in which we happen grow up. And, if so, whether we should think more deeply about intersemiotics and visual translation, even if it means nothing more than cultivating a measure of doubt in the universal appeal of images, and in our own capacity to make sense of them all."
henricartier-bresson  giovannitiso  2015  images  imagery  reading  howweread  language  culture  perspective  order  semiotics  intersemiotics  visual  leraboroditsky  psychology  conditioning  fumiyokōno 
march 2015 by robertogreco
ENCAPSULATED UNIVERSES | Edge.org
"Think about it this way. We have 7,000 languages. Each of these languages encompasses a world-view, encompasses the ideas and predispositions and cognitive tools developed by thousands of years of people in that culture. Each one of those languages offers a whole encapsulated universe. So we have 7,000 parallel universes, some of them are quite similar to one another, and others are a lot more different. The fact that there's this great diversity is a real testament to the flexibility and the ingenuity of the human mind. The fact that we're able to take so many different perspectives and create such an incredibly diverse set of ways of looking at the world, that is something first to be celebrated, but also something to learn from: flexibility and diversity are at the very heart of what makes us human and what makes us so smart. I think the more we understand how people are able to take all these different perspectives, and able to change the way they think, the better we'll understand the nature of being human."
encapsulateduniverses  leraboroditsky  language  languages  perspective  perception  humanmind  humans  lostintranslation  flexibility  diversity  2013  paralleluniverses 
april 2013 by robertogreco
Bird's-Eye View - Radiolab
"Tim Howard heads to Fort Monmouth, New Jersey for the story of a WWII hero whose feats of navigation saved hundreds of lives. The hero? A pigeon named G.I. Joe. Museum Curator Mindy Rosewitz fills in the details. Professor Charles Walcott  helps Tim delve into the mysteries of how pigeons pull off these seemingly impossible journeys--flying home across hundreds of miles of unfamiliar terrain. Then, Dr. Lera Boroditsky tells us about a language in Australia in which a pigeon-like ability to orient yourself is so crucial...you can't even say hello without knowing exactly which direction you're facing. And finally, Jad and Robert talk to Karen Jacobsen, aka "the GPS girl," about her own navigational abilities."

[The rest of the episode ("Lost & Found"): http://www.radiolab.org/2011/jan/25/ ]

[Related: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lera_Boroditsky
http://www-psych.stanford.edu/~lera/
http://falmouthinstitute.com/language/2010/07/the-relationship-between-language-and-culture/
http://tylertretsven.wordpress.com/2012/03/05/time-and-space-in-pormpuraaw/
http://fora.tv/2010/10/26/Lera_Boroditsky_How_Language_Shapes_Thought
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/culture-conscious/201110/is-the-left-after ]
leraboroditsky  language  pigeons  gps  directions  place  orientation  2011  radiolab  emiliegossiaux  giuseppeiaria  karenjacobsen  alanlundgard  lost  languages  pormpuraaw  thought  thinking  maps  mapping  navigation  geospatial  culture  australia  aborigines 
april 2013 by robertogreco

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