Visual Intelligences Research Project

Writings : What is Visual Intelligence and how do artists use it?

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What is visual intelligence and how do artists use it
Rebecca Fortnum
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This paper seeks to investigate the way visual artists think and make and, most importantly, the relationship between their thinking and making.  To do this I use material from a recent artists’ seminar set up to record ten invited artists’ experiences of making their work.  The term I am proposing for the interconnection of thinking and making is ‘visual intelligence’.   The term seeks to address the fact that most visual artists make a number of decisions whilst making their work that aren’t purely conceptual or only to do with material and technique but lie in the relationships between these aspects of making. I investigate the difficulties associated with the terms 'visual' and 'intelligence'. I attempt to map patterns of thinking and making and ask whether it is possible to chart the evolution of an artist’s creative thought through their making processes.

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