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Which clippings match 'Iconicity' keyword pg.1 of 1
08 OCTOBER 2017

Understanding through Pictures versus an Understanding about Pictures

"When developing qualitative methods for the interpretation of pictures, it seems to be important not to explain pictures by texts, but to differentiate them from texts. Nevertheless, it seems equally important to develop common standards or methodological devices which are relevant for the interpretation of texts, as well as for the interpretation of pictures. Examples of common standards are: to treat the text as well as the picture as a self-referential system, to differentiate between explicit and implicit (atheoretical) knowledge, to change the analytic stance from the question What to the question How, to reconstruct the formal structures of texts as well as pictures in order to integrate single elements into the over-all context, and—last but not least—to use comparative analysis. The application or realization of these common standards and methodological devices in the field of the interpretation of pictures, however, has to be quite different from that of the interpretation of texts, if we intend to advance to iconicity as a self-contained domain, to its inherent laws and to its autonomy independent from texts."

(Ralf Bohnsack, 2008)

Volume 9, No. 3, Art. 26 – September 2008, Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research.


Alfred Schutz • analytic mentality • atheoretical knowledge • Bildlichkeit • Charles Goodwin • communicative knowledge • comparative analysis • conjunctive knowledge • conversational analysis • cultural phenomena • documentary meaning • Documentary Method of Interpretation • empirical social sciences • Erving Goffman • Erwin Panofsky • ethnomethodology • formal compositional structure • Forum Qualitative Social Research • Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung • FQS • Gottfried Boehm • Hans Belting • Harold GarfinkelHarvey Sacks • hyper-ritualization • iconic meaning • iconicityiconography • iconology • image-based understanding • immanent meaning • interpretative methods • Karl MannheimKarl Popper • linguistic turn • literal meaning • Martin Heidegger • Max Imdahl • meaning image-based depictions • Niklas Luhmann • Peter BergerPierre Bourdieuplanimetric composition • Praxeological Sociology of Knowledge • qualitative methodsqualitative research • Ralf Bohnsack • research practiceRoland Barthes • self-referential systems • semantic structure • semiotics • sequence analysis • simultaneitysocial phenomenasocial realitysociologysociology of knowledgetacit knowledge • text interpretation • theory of action • Thomas Luckmann • transcontrariness • typification • Umberto Ecovideo analysis • visible phenomena


Simon Perkins
27 NOVEMBER 2011

Bioglyphs: Generating images in collaboration with nature's events

"Reconstructive postmodernism proposes an alternative to a mechanistic interpretation of the world. The mechanistic model, which assumes that the world consists of discrete objects, has led to a 'disenchanted' interpretation of nature. In contrast to this objectification, the reconstructive model interprets nature as being primarily constituted of interacting events.

Since the 1960s ecological artists have developed strategies of representing this reenchanted view of nature through its phenomena or events. A number of these artists have sought to use photography to represent this view. However when such works are presented in photographic form I argue that the use of a camera tends to objectify the event.

In order to avoid the objectifying tendency of photography a number of contemporary artists have developed photographic methods of image–making which dispense with the camera. Bioglyphs, the creative practice of this current research, have been linked to the work of this group because of a shared approach to the use of photographic materials. However, if we assess the role of icon and index within photography, we can see that this approach may not always be sympathetic to the project of these artists.

Three key outcomes are identified. The first is the clarification of the concepts icon and index as applied to photography. Photographic images are shown to be primarily iconic rather than indexical. The thesis argues that iconic images tend to objectify the world whereas indexical images tend to represent the world as being constituted by events. Iconic photographic images therefore contribute to a disenchanted view of the world.

The second is that this reassessment of icon and index highlights a clear distinction between bioglyphs and most of the other camera–less images with which they are associated. In contrast to the iconicity of camera–less photographs bioglyphs are shown to be radically indexical. The third outcome is to show that, methodologically and interpretationally, bioglyphs have more affiliation with other artworks that are primarily indexical. This realignment of bioglyphs with other indexical art proposes a new category of art practice. This new category of indexical art, which foregrounds nature's events, suggests a method of art practice that is more supportive of reconstructive postmodern ideas."

(Daro Montag, 2000)

Montag, D. "Bioglyphs: generating images in collaboration with nature's events". PhD, University of Hertfordshire, 2000.


art practice • bioglyph • camera-less • camera-less images • contemporary artcreative practice • disenchanted • ecological artists • icon • icon and index • iconic photographic images • iconicity • image making • image-making • index • indexical • indexical art • indexical images • interacting events • interpretation of nature • mechanistic interpretations • mechanistic modelnature • objectification • objectify • objectify the event • objectifying tendency • objectifying tendency of photography • phenomena • photographic form • photographic images • photographic materials • photographic methods • photographyreconstructive model • reconstructive postmodernism • theoretical contextthesisUniversity of Hertfordshireview of nature


Simon Perkins

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