With a background in visual and performance art, graphic design and computer systems, followed by more recent studies in communications and cognitive science; I blog on observations and investigations of human visual communication systems and patterns influenced by cognitive schemas, culture and technology, along with the role of ethnicity, gender and class in visual communication including new media, advertising and pop culture. I am particularly interested in how these patterns and systems are formed; why and how they can (or not) be influenced/altered; how they affect humans, especially in terms of constructing identities or how they impact culturally; and how new forms of media production can empower marginalised people or enhance their engagement in the digital public sphere.

Some writers of note for me include:

  • Stuart Hall
  • Roland Barthes
  • Clifford James
  • Marita Sturken
  • Lisa Cartwright
  • Donna Haraway
  • Judith Butler
  • Erving Goffman
  • Frantz Fanon
  • Manuel Castells

Visual communication & image analysis: Images can be analysed though many perspectives, I like these six perspectives as suggested by Paul Martin Lester (Lester, P.M. (2006). Visual Communication: Images with Messages. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth. ISBN 978-0-534-63720-0)

Personal perspective: a personal opinion about an image. Personal response depends on the viewer’s thoughts and values individually, which may or may not conflict with  dominant cultural values. Once a viewer has viewed and interpreted an image in a particular way, it is very difficult to alter this perspective.

Historical perspective: as per usage history in media that change over time. For example: Comparing images that were produced and edited on a computer is quite different for example than comparing images that are produced and edited by more traditional methods involving filters, lenses, cameras, enlargers and darkroom techniques.

Technical perspective: the view of an image can be influenced by the use of certain lighting, positioning, framing and presentation or digital editing which can alter an image in a multitude of ways.

Ethical perspective: the producer of an image, and the viewer is responsible morally and ethically to the image. Broken down further into six ca categories:

i.         categorical imperative

ii.         utilitarianism

iii.         hedonism

iv.         golden mean

v.         golden rule

vi.         veil of ignorance

Cultural perspective: symbolization or the identity of symbols through identifying the discourse related to the image, and the intertextuality involved. The cultural perspective can also be seen as the semiotic perspective.

Critical perspective: a critical view of the images, from a socio-cultural perspective and in this way differs from the personal perspective.

I am currently involved in researching the impact of mobile technology on Arab women’s empowerment and lecturing on Communication Theory  & Research methods for design students.

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