Visual Language

I came across an interesting video, in which Christoph Niemann discusses communication through the visual language.

In the digital world that we live in, reading is becoming more and more obsolete.  Instead of reading the book, people watch the movie. Why read a book about how to do a task, when one can watch a youtube video on it.  It’s easy to say that everyone is too busy to read, but could it be more than just that?  Observing and watching is something that comes to humans naturally whereas reading is something we learn to do..so could it be that we are better at decoding, interpreting, and communicating through the visual language rather than the written language?  Which one is really more effective is an important question to address as we move forward in today’s world especially since the advancements in technology are rapid and our methods of communication are constantly evolving via the internet.

Should schools at the elementary level start educating kids on how to communicate through videos on the internet the way that kids are currently taught to write essays in English classes?  This might not be a bad idea considering the fact that some colleges such as Tufts even offer optional video essays as part as admissions process for applicants to provide greater insight into their lives….it might actually be necessary in order for the next generation to adapt to technological changes as they are happening.  Growing up, we were always taught to keep the audience in mind when writing.  With videos, are we supposed to also keep the audience in mind at all times too or does this limit our self expression and creativity?  Or perhaps we channel our creativity to express the point that we want to get across to the audience in the most effective manner possible.

Does creativity lie in the idea that is being expressed or the manner in which it is expressed? This a difficult question to answer.  I want to say that it lies in the idea rather than the medium through which it is expressed because there is probably one way that has more influence on the audience than another.  In other words, maybe there is one right formula for using visual language to communicate a message so it connects with the most amount of people or certain types of people.  For instance, no one would use a novel to teach young children a moral lesson but instead he or she might resort to a storybook with lots of pictures. Similarly, when a doctor is talking to a patient about a medication or surgery, they would not use the medical terminology that they would have used when discussing the situation with another doctor or a scientist.  In this way, perhaps the creativity for videos will be limited to some degree by the audience since the complexity of the visual language used should be determined by who the video is meant for.

On the one hand, connecting with something creative such as art, literature, movies can be very subjective and based on the personal and past experiences of an individual.  Yet, there are classics in all of those categories that no one would dispute are anything less than brilliant.  Those classics are classics because of substance of the work and also the techniques and skills used to portray it.  So, it maybe that one should be cautious in expressing oneself when it comes to college admissions or career opportunities because there is a large risk associated with the manner in which we communicate a point.  If someone is unfamiliar with and lacks experience using visual language and technology, then this might be risk that he or she should not take.  BUT, in order to make those classics, creativity in all aspects is essential.  Something novel, unique, original, and memorable requires taking the same risk that would not be recommended for practical reasons in other circumstances.  Surely, this is not something that most kids are thinking and discussing as they post videos on youtube, but it should be.  And how can we make that happen?  By starting conversations and dialogues about the real world in classrooms everywhere..so kids are equipped with what they need to survive and thrive in today’s world and not yesterday’s.

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