Tuesday, May 17, 2005

How Art Made the World and BBC Weather

As a callow undergraduate (I think that you only ever get to use the word "callow" in conjunction with "undergraduate"), I lived downstairs from Nigel Spivey, so it was with interest that I tuned into "How Art Made the World" on BBC2 last night. While I'm not sure I entirely agree with the very Platonic theory of Art having [entirely] stemmed from stone age hallucinations being cast onto grotto walls, it was interesting to think about Art in grammatical terms - very Hildegard of Bingen - lines, dots and shapes coming together to make meaning. I don't think I've really thought about this much since reading books by Ernst Gombrich, Oliver Sacks, and John Berger's excellent "Ways of Seeing" a number of years ago - but it's definitely nice to go back to first principles and think about what is happening when we represent objects as images.
Anyway, I found this highly interesting as the BBC has just launched advanced weather visualisations whereby its previous iconography is now being replaced by "realistic" graphics. Personally, while I relish the effort, I'm not quite used to the relegation of the Orkneys in terms of importance from the isometric projection of Scotland (the borders looking pretty big to my mind - funnily enough I have just noticed that I am not the only one to think so) instead of the top-to-bottom map used previously, nor am I sure about how easy it is not to be distracted by the different precipitation animations running at different speeds in the top corners of the screen. I wonder what caveman trancing out in Lascaux caves would have thought about it?

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