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How to Do Things with Pictures

Skill, Practice, Performance


Edited By András Benedek and Kristof Nyiri

Pictorial meaning involves not just resemblance, but also pictorial skills, pictorial acts, practices, and performance. Especially in the classroom setting, at all levels of education, it is essential to realize that teaching with pictures and learning through pictures is a practical enterprise where thinking is embedded in doing. Promoting visual learning means to be a visionary, and to take on an enormous educational challenge. But while adaptation and innovation are inevitable in a world where technological changes are rapidly and radically altering the learning environment, educational science and the everyday practice of education clearly need to retain a measure of conservatism. And any conservatism worth the name has to take account of visuality, visual thinking, and visual learning.


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Introduction. Paths and Traps in the Forest of the Digitalization of Education. András Benedek


10 Kristóf Nyíri gang discusses the scientific use of diagrams, but also diagrammatic practices in the context of art, with his main focus professedly on the latter, allotting special significance to philosophers Deleuze and Lyotard, and to the work of painter Amy Sillman. Barry Smith, in his chapter “Diagrams, Documents, and the Meshing of Plans”, points out that while speech act theorists – among them Austin – distinguished between different types of language uses, between the various ways one can do things with words, they did not discuss the ways of do- ing things with documents. However, as Smith writes, in many areas of human activity, “documents – and especially documents joined together in larger docu- ment complexes often containing non-textual elements of various kinds – en- gender new sorts of collaborations between large numbers of human beings and allow human actions to be extended in new sorts of ways across both time and space”. Smith provides a magisterial analysis of the road leading from speech acts to document acts. What he does not explicitly discuss is the nature of e- documents – this, he says, is a story for another occasion. In the last chapter but one, Gábor Palló’s “The Tacit Image: Michael Pola- nyi Revisited”, the author offers a description and analysis of the Hungarian- born chemist-turned-philosopher Polanyi’s essay “What Is a Painting?”, publish- ed in 1970. As Palló points out, it is not entirely clear what made Polanyi com- pose this essay. Polanyi, writes Palló, “was a scientist...

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