Literal > Visual

A little help needed.

I’m looking for good writing or references which underpin the notion that western societies are moving from a literal to a visual culture, as used as a central theme in Neal Stephenson’s Snowcrash.


0 thoughts on “Literal > Visual

  1. I’ve been out of the academy for a while, but isn’t it traditional to ask for any references relevant to a subject, rather than specifically only for references that support your hypothosis?

  2. i couldn’t confirm it so far:
    someone at SVGopen 2003 said, a picture might be worth a thousand words but the constitution of Japan is only 700 words.
    (Joi Ito reading this?)

  3. Admittedly, this is a little off-topic, but it’s a beautiful book:

    Devices of Wonder: From the World in a Box to Images on a Screen (by Barbara Stafford and quite a few other people)

    It’s about the linkages between post-Renaissance mechanical toys, screen projections, and the way technologies of visualization have affected the way we imagine the world.

  4. Oh, and:

    Don’t really know how to phrase this correctly, but it seems as if you partially answered this question when you linked to the Design Observer post on Catwoman. “Secret identities,” as the flipside of super powers, are just as much of an expression of cultural values. The new movies about superheroes-in-disguise aren’t about writers (ie, like Superman). They’re about professional image-makers: a graphic designer (Catwoman) and a photographer (Spiderman).

  5. Another commenter suggested Mark Federman at UT’s McLuhan program … in addition to this (and this may be obvious) I would suggest looking at McLuhan’s work.

    Another book that may be relevant is “ABC: The Alphabetization of the Popular Mind” by Barry Sanders and Ivan Illich.

  6. let’s see: there’s Foucault’s Discipline and Punish (the Panopticon), there are some early Bradbury and H. Ellison stories involving negative things and television [not that negativity is what you’re looking for, I’m just saying-and on that note, Haruki Murakami has an interesting short story about ‘elves’ or something replacing his (the narrator’s) TV. Again, it might be off point. Plus, I was stoned.] You might be able to glean something from Kafka’s short stories, or Deleuze’s writings about Kafka’s writing, Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves (blind man dictating a book about a photographer and his family living in house that not only is bigger on the inside than on the outside, eh?, eh?), McCloud’s Understanding Comics….it’s difficult to address that kind of request. Are you differentiating between visual and textual literacy, or something else. Oh! There are huge chunks of Neuromancer that kind of address this question as well. Hope this helps.

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