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Which clippings match 'Gestalt' keyword pg.1 of 1
27 JANUARY 2012

Adorno's ambitions for the constellation

"17. But I am eliciting these implications of Adorno's reservations about Gestalt because what they imply is what Adorno leaves unsaid here, namely the contrast with his ambitions for the constellation. I should caution here that Adorno sometimes uses the word 'constellation' to designate historically given, that is, already familiarized, ideological arrays or Gestalts [for example, Critical Models 138, 260]; my usage henceforth will connote 'constellation' in the sense Adorno valorizes, as a device with the potential to be turned, in somewhat the manner of the Brechtian V–effect, against such familiarizations (though just this dissident potential, of course, is what mid–century avant–gardists were seizing on in Gestalt). And as we'll see, the word's 'antithetical' reversals of meaning are themselves indices of the 'dialectical'–ness of Adorno's immanent critique. We might say that these 'antithetical' meanings––'constellation' as unconscious ideological synthesis versus 'constellation' as consciousness–raising estrangement; 'constellation' as object of critique, or as subject of it––are themselves a kind of constellation implying or encoding, concealing or de–familiarizing a narrative, that of the classic Enlightenment project summarized by Freud in the formula, 'making the unconscious conscious.' Adorno may 'repeat' an over–familiar constellation and then reliquify (or, Medusa–like, petrify) its 'congelations'; or he may present an unfamiliar and even shocking juxtaposition, whose estrangement is to provoke a new and heightened consciousness of the ideological condition in which we are entrapped. The historical image that results, ideological and critical all at once, appropriates the critical force we saw Adorno ascribing to the Benjaminian dialectical image, turning it, immanently, to estranging or defamiliarizing, sc. critical or (Hegel) 'negative' purposes."

(Steven Helmling, 2003)

Steven Helmling (2003). "Constellation and Critique: Adorno's Constellation, Benjamin's Dialectical Image", Postmodern Culture, Volume 14, Number 1, September 2003 | 10.1353/pmc.2003.0030


antithetical • avant-garde • avant-gardists • Benjaminian • Bertolt Brecht • Brechtian V-effect • concealing • congelations • consciousconsciousness • consciousness-raising estrangement • constellations • critical force • critical models • critique • de-familiarising • defamiliarising • dialectical • dialectical image • encodingEnlightenment project • estrangement • estranging • familiarisations • Georg Hegelgestalt • gestalts • historical image • historically given • ideological arrays • ideological condition • juxtaposition • making the unconscious • Medusanarrative • object of critique • Sigmund Freud • subject of critique • Theodor Adorno • unconscious ideological synthesis • Walter Benjamin


Simon Perkins
04 DECEMBER 2009

Gaming DNA – On Narrative and Gameplay Gestalts

"This paper takes the concept of the 'Gameplay Gestalt' as advanced by Craig Lindley[7] as a basis for a fresh look at how games are read and designed. Disagreeing with Lindley's assertion of gameplay over narrative, it puts forward a model of the game as a construct of authored gestalt interplay, and concentrates on the links between the physical process of playing the game and the interpretative process of 'reading' it. A wide variety of games are put forward as examples, and some analyses of major 'moments' in classic games are deconstructed. The concept of the 'sublime' as applicable to games is examined as is the use of gameplay and narrative to generate 'illusory agency', which can make a game more than the sum of its parts."

(Brown Douglas, DiGRA Digital Library)

Lindley, Craig, Narrative, Game Play, and Alternative Time Structures for Virtual Environments, Springer, 2004


communicationdesign theorydigital cultureDiGRAexperience of the sublimeform • game construction • game readings • gameplay • gameplay gestalt • gamesgestaltinteractionlanguageliteracynarrativestructurevisual communication


Simon Perkins
06 NOVEMBER 2009

Gestalt theory in visual screen design: a new look at an old subject

"Gestalt theory is a family of psychological theories, that have influenced many research areas since 1924, including visual design issues. Gestalt Theory is one of the foundations for instructional screen design. It is generally accepted that Gestalt theory may be used to improve educational screen design and thereby improve learning (Preece, Rogers, Sharp, Benyon, Holland and Carey1994). Gestalt Theories are usually expressed as laws, and there are many variants of Gestalt theory laws devised by different psychologists, for example Boring (1942) stated 'in 1933 Helson extracted 114 law of Gestalten. All but half a dozen of these laws are applicable to visual form.' Many of the laws are very closely related or overlap, and it is often very hard to distinguish between them. The Gestalt laws explain how the individual elements from the environment may be visually organised into fields or structures (Koffa 1935). Traditionally the Gestalt laws are used to suggest how static visual elements should be presented in order to achieve effective visual results.

We noticed that only very few Gestalt laws are commonly applied to instructional visual screen design (Fisher and Smith–Gratto 1998–99, Preece et al. 1994). Being curious people, we wondered if some important laws were generally overlooked, so we examined the Gestalt literature and selected the laws that appeared to be the most important for visual screen design, and combined similar ones together. Thus, we identified eleven distinct laws that represent the major aspects of Gestalt theory knowledge about visual form. These laws seemed to contain the most relevant aspects of Gestalt Theory for computer screen design.

To test the value of these principles we applied the eleven laws of Gestalt to the visual redesign of an educational multimedia program, WoundCare, and then evaluated the redesigned application and examined the educational value of using the Gestalt laws in the screen design process. This paper is an account of how useful these laws were in a particular multimedia screen design and, by extrapolation, what benefit other designers may gain from using these design principles. Therefore the value and specific desirable approaches for the design of new multimedia technology based on an expanded Gestalt theory base is the key point of this paper."

(Dempsey Chang, Laurence Dooley and Juhani E. Tuovinen)

Chang, D., Dooley, L. and Tuovinen, J.E. (2002). Gestalt Theory in Visual Screen Design – A New Look at an Old Subject. In Proc. WCCE2001 Australian Topics: Selected Papers from the Seventh World Conference on Computers in Education, Copenhagen, Denmark. CRPIT, 8. McDougall, A., Murnane, J. and Chambers, D., Eds., ACS. 5–12.



1924aestheticsAustraliacommunication • CRPIT • Dempsey Chang • design • design balance • design formalismgestalt • gestalt laws • gestalt principlesgraphic designJenny Preece • Juhani E. Tuovinen • Laurence Dooley • psychologyvisual communicationvisual designvisual languagevisual perceptionvisual screen designvisualisation


Simon Perkins
30 APRIL 2005

Visual Ideology: politics of visual language

"As graphic designers we often use the power of image to persuade, convince, reveal or to construct a contextual stage for messages. A great deal of research and consideration goes into this process of deciding what type of imagery will best convey our ideas. As visual thinkers we are accustomed to deciphering the distinctions created by color, form, scale, etc. By cropping away information or altering an images color we can more effectively represent our ideas. All of this, of course, assumes our decisions are correct, that they will elicit from the audience the desired response. But how often do we evaluate these visual decisions after the creative process has concluded? What happens to our work after it is released for public consumption?

In regard to politics the use of image is used to associate personalities with issues, display concern or patriotism and of course create negative associations as well. Notice the recent trend of political speeches in front of a backdrop of issue words or phrases such a 'economic growth' or 'healthcare.' How well do these efforts succeed? More importantly, how visually literate is the general public in terms of detecting and interpreting what they see?

Visual Ideology is an effort to raise awareness to the use of images in messaging. Given the choice, what images would the general public associate with specific ideas or words? How can one image be more meaningful than another similar image? This project asks viewers to to make decisions as to images that best represent their visual definition of political terms or ideas. During this process it is hoped that viewers will begin to develop a better understanding of how visual imagery can influence meaning. By placing the responsibility of making these visual decisions with the viewer they get to experience a part of graphic design. As graphic designers, we get to see how self defined political personalities might be visually represented. Though not necessarily a ideological map, this project will hopefully offer some insight as to how differing political personalities interpret visual information."



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