School of Humanities

Representation and Interpretation of Complex Environments

This course is part of the programme:
Digital Humanities, interdisciplinary programme

Objectives and competences

Images are becoming increasingly powerful in the twenty‐first century, confirming the already

central role played in the twentieth century. But what is an image and what can an image be?

Exploring issues on the production, transmission and reception of images and the formation of critical judgement enhances students’ awareness about the ways things acquire value and significance. The course will particularly focus on the practices of mapping, because maps remain one of the main thinking paradigms, a fertile ground where to explore space, representation and praxis.

Prerequisites

No prerequisites are required except a personal interest in communicating facts and data through images.

Content (Syllabus outline)

1. Introduction

Aims and purpose of the course

Syllabus presentation

Presentation of teaching tools, resources and course execution

Students’ obligations

Study instructions and suggestions

2. Basic concepts – Short treaty on Creativity

The principle of creative act will be considered, contrary to its mythology which considers it as a product of a mysterious and hidden mental faculty, as a response to a crucial challenge of our minds: how to apply the rule to an infinite number of cases? Is there something that unifies the invention of a tool by the prehistoric hunter and the paintings of Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel?

3. First steps – The limits of representation

Historical excursus on the concept of Frame with the aim of enhancing the aesthetic and interpretative understanding of visualisation phenomena. The course will explore the topic through fundamentals of semiotics and cognitive sciences, through some exemplary analytical methodologies;

Geo epistemological excursus of mapping (the birth of space and renaissance perspective versus contemporary mapping processes and founding of landscape concept).

Lectures will systematically illustrate the evolution of the relationship between subject and object of the observation.

4. Methods – Generators of Visualisation

From the alchemies of the look (projection, perspective etc.) to the techniques of composition and different language tools, student will explore the privileged scenarios that gave shape to the Possible during the last two centuries.

Methods and devices: perspective/projection, copying/compilation, overlapping/dislocation, cutting/montage, accumulation/categorisation

Tools: grid, scale, legend, inventory

Scenarios or discursive strategies: Utopia, Atlas, Example, Comment, Citation, Situation, Residuals, etc.

5. Intertwine of digital and real life experience – The Life of Images

Transmission and intermittence: outlines of the working strategies from A.Warburg to G. Debord will be illustrated to explore the relationship between the image and the experience. Why and how the experience (of movement, of history etc.) is obtained by the image, and why the images themselves are charged with these different potentials?

Memory and orientation as restorers of the possibilities: examples in the field of sensory substitution/augmentation devices and the functionality of meta data/sense data will be presented. Which is the form of the threshold between narrative and real life experience and is this still necessary?

Mind/World Interfaces Agency and the spatial perception/spatial control function: What are the creative potentialities of Digital Control Media?

The final outcome of the lectures will be the tentative building up of a new interface based on new apperception (a new way of being in the world) as the fundamental preparation for the applied work phase.

6. Interpretation (applied work) – Processes and organs of visualisation

Individual work. Students will explore the potentials of the intertwine between visual and verbal languages.

  • Observation In situ

Exercise in observation/perception and transmission of seeing (i.e. portrait)

Training curious eyes and the empowering attention

  • Representation/Interpretation (generation of images)

interpretation and transmission of knowing (i.e. map)

Training methodological eye and the construction of the invisible evidence

Intended learning outcomes

Images are becoming increasingly powerful in the twenty‐first century, confirming the already central role played in the twentieth century. But what is an image and what can an image be?

Exploring issues on the production, transmission and reception of images and the formation of critical judgement enhances students’ awareness about the ways things acquire value and significance. The course will particularly focus on the practices of mapping, because maps remain one of the main thinking paradigms, a fertile ground where to explore space, representation and praxis.

Readings

Marin, Louis. On representation. Stanford University Press, 2001.

Farinelli, Franco. La Crisi Della Ragione Cartografica. [The Crisis of the Cartographical Reason.] Einaudi Torino, 2009.

Latour, Bruno. Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor‐Network‐Theory. OUP Oxford, 2005;

Buci‐Glucksmann, Christine. L’Oeil Cartographique de L’art. Galilée, 1996.

Monmonnier, M. How to lie with Maps? University of Chicago Press, 1996.

The additional text and bibliography will be given during the lectures.

Assessment

Seminar work with discussion in order to evaluate the ability of representation and interpretation of different contexts within a selected practical problem. Written exam, which assesses knowledge of the fundamental concepts.

Lecturer's references

Saša Dobričič is founding director of the doctoral programme in Economics and Techniques for the

Conservation of Architectural and Environmental Heritage, which has been jointly established

between University of Nova Gorica and University IUAV of Venice. She is vice president of the

UNISCAPE (European Network of Universities for the Implementation of the European Landscape

Convention) and IAES (International Academy for Environmental Sciences) scientific committee

member. Her research interests and contributions are related to the interpretation of urban

phenomena in relation to landscape, heritage and environment. She has promoted several

international meetings and initiatives within her research field : in 2010, Creative Cities, which

historic urban landscape? In 2012, Common Goods: out of property which rights for users?

University course code: 2DH005

Year of study: 1

Semester: 1

Course principal:

Lecturer:

ECTS: 9

Workload:

  • Lectures: 45 hours
  • Seminar: 45 hours
  • Individual work: 180 hours

Course type: mandatory

Languages: slovene, english

Learning and teaching methods:
lectures ex cathedra where the contents of the syllabus will be explored and discussed. individual exercises: the students will critically interpret and represent all factors of the selected context in relation with the personal project idea.