ASIST AM 03 2003 START ConferenceManager    

Visual Containment of Cultural Forms: An Examination of Visual Epistemologies and Scopic Regimes

Mikel Breitenstein (Breitenstein Medical Associates, Inc.), Marija Dalbello (Rutgers), Ron Day (Wayne State University), Ann Simonds (University of Toronto), Morris (Muhchyun) Tang (Rutgers)

Presented at ASIST 2003 Annual Meeting -- Humanizing Information Technology: From Ideas to Bits and Back (ASIST AM 03 2003), Westin Long Beach, Long Beach, California, October 20 - 23, 2003


Visual Containment of Cultural Forms: An Examination of Visual Epistemologies and Scopic Regimes

The reproduction of knowledge in the visual field of perception has historical, theoretical and pragmatic significance for information science. Its areas of application are in the corporate and academic spheres and in the context of global sharing of information. The proponents of the visual approach assume intuitive ease of use, the boundary-spanning facility, and powerful data-representation capabilities inherent in visual approach. Yet, there is a naivete in assuming that the complications of language and culture could vanish in the face of information landscapes, maps of meaning, and sophisticated interfaces intuitively understood. This panel examines the complexities of the visual that are framed by the cultural, examining visual literacy, scopic regimes and the debates surrounding visual representation of knowledge in a historical perspective. The panelists focus on scopic regimes that contain and shape visual forms and on the environments of such containment. The representational spaces encompass representations of artifacts in a virtual museum, the representations of statistical information circulated in popular print and theoretical interpretation of the problem of cultural and aesthetic containment of the work of art in the representational space of the museum. The panel examines how technologies of reproduction run parallel to an increasing objectification of knowledge, and universalizing the works or knowledge through categories offered by educational, cultural and political institutions. It also examines tensions between the attempt to build and institutionally enforce cultural knowledge and the productive resistances of the work in its production, distribution, and reception, thus reflecting how practices of cultural transmission are incorporated in the process of reproduction of knowledge.

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