Innovation and Visualization: Trajectories, Strategies, and Myths

By Amy Ione | Go to book overview

Chapter 3
Art and Consciousness: Methodologies

Perhaps one of the most intriguing items for the new study of
consciousness to consider is what, so far, has not been considered.
Why is this exploding area of research, intent on discovering the
relation of the brain to human awareness, not multidisciplinary
enough? Why does it look primarily to text-based fields, rather
than the imaging arts, for insight on how cognition actually
works? … What light might a humanities-based imagist shed on
the binding problem perplexing analytical philosophers, cognitive
scientists, computer programmers, neurophysiologists or
neuroanatomists, linguists and both “strong” and “weak” AI
[artificial intelligence] proponents.

Barbara Maria Stafford,
Visual Analogy: Consciousness as the Art of Connecting


1. Analogy and Consciousness

In her book Visual Analogy: Consciousness as the Art of Connecting Barbara Stafford argues we need “both to retrieve and construct a more nuanced picture of resemblance and connectedness.” (Stafford 2001: 9) through analogy, which she defines as “the vision of ordered relationships articulated as similarity-in-difference.” (Stafford 2001: 9). Stafford relates that analogy thrived in antiquity, crested at the close of the Baroque era, (Stafford 2001: 10) and is unlike Romantic logic which was “erected on a paradoxical play of binaries rather than a dialectics of reconciliation.” Thus, according to her analysis, the logic “tended to disintegrate around two skeptical axes.” (Stafford 2001: 14). In other words, on the one hand, “Romanticism’s essentially nonvisual dissective procedure expressed the isolation, intense interdependence and resulting disconnectedness from the rest of creation — felt by two things or discrete individuals joined in a tenuously exclusive union.” (Stafford 2001: 19). On the other hand, analogy “provides opportunities to travel back into history, to spring forward in time, to leap across continents.” (Stafford 2001: 11).

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