I found the articles useful for my thinking about the relationship between text and image, visual representation and information, and the display and production of knowledge in the medieval and Renaissance periods (my area of study). I also found them helpful for thinking about my project, particularly as I attempt to create and present knowledge from the past to a modern audience. I included an image of a page from a sixteenth-century printed edition of Dante’s Divine Comedy as a point of reference for some of my questions about the relationships stated above. Here are some of my questions: How does this visualization of Hell work as a “mode of knowledge production?” (Drucker 1). Is it the primary mode, and if so, in what ways do the secondary or tertiary modes help to visualize Dante’s text? What can these modes tell us about Renaissance views on about the function of images and visualization? How does “visual consumption” or perception differ from the process of reading a text – what can an image achieve that a text cannot?
Barbara Stafford discusses the idea that images require a certain visual literacy or “proficiency.” This raises questions about not only what an image conveys, but also how and why it conveys information in the way it does. Looking at the images of Hell, I would like to know why the artist chose to depict Hell in this way, why the birds-eye view? These questions could be helpful for thinking about how we choose to visualize our own information, and what information we choose to privilege.
One last thought: Drucker brings up the idea of the status of images and their “authority,” and particularly the authority of images in relation to text. The images of Hell, for example, are accompanied by text stating the precise measurements of each circle. Does the text or this “scientific information” help to give the images authority? More generally, how do the images/texts “mediate scientific knowledge?” (Drucker 1-2).