The Spatial Development of the Visual-Narrative from Prehistoric Cave Paintings to Computer Games

The Spatial Development of the Visual-Narrative from Prehistoric Cave Paintings to Computer Games

Fiona Carroll (Swansea University, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-020-2.ch011
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The art of the visual-narrative is not a new phenomenon. Artists and designers have been using images to tell stories for thousands of years. From cave paintings to computer animations; they have been manipulating visual elements and tailoring techniques to attract our attention; to stimulate our interest; and to entice us into a process of interpretation and story making. Indeed; it is a tradition that has worked its way successfully through time; adapting along the way to meet the advancements of each successive and increasingly visual generation. The aim of this chapter is to explore the spatial journey of the visual-narrative. In particular; it will examine how each new medium has brought with it a new treatment of space; and then how this has influenced the visual-narrative and the art of storytelling.
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Picture Space

The word “art” is from the Latin ars, meaning “arrangement.” As Arnheim specifies: “we see a painting, sculpture or building as an arrangement of definable shapes organized in a comprehensive structure” (Murray, 2000). Therefore, when we look at any work of art, whether it is a painting, a sculpture, or a building, we are, in fact, looking at different ways that an artist has arranged elements in a space. According to Andrews, when we look at a painting, “it is possible to imagine ourselves within a picture space moving throughout it over time, as if it were the real world, where several moments or episodes all remain in view, even as we concentrate our attention on the first one and then the next” (1995, p.117). Indeed, every picture, whether painted, photographic, digital..., is a collection of elements (dots, lines, shapes, forms, tones, textures, colours, etc.) arranged in a carefully planned composition. It is this careful arrangement and composition of elements that allows us to express, to communicate, or even to tell a story. As O’Toole demonstrates in the context of painting, the visual units, the characters and objects in a painting, together with their actions, gestures, and stance, all have the potential to carry important clues about what the people portrayed are doing and what stories are thereby created (p.7-12). By perceiving the visual units or elements in a carefully arranged and organised picture space, the viewer is able to piece together the whole story.

As Boyd Davis (2004) notes, there are broadly two ways of organising graphical images of the world: the configurational and the pictorial. In the configurational, he states, the elements are combined in the two-dimensional space of the composition itself (as in early Christian, Romanesque, and Byzantine art). In the pictorial, meanwhile, they are combined in an assumed world space, real or imaginary, that is then depicted (as in Renaissance, Baroque and much later art). Both these modes of graphical representation offer interesting ways in which elements can be arranged within a picture space. However, what is of interest to us is the relationship between the inside picture space and the world space (i.e., the outside picture space), which actually varies according to the mode of representation and the arrangement of the elements within the picture. In many pictures, for example, the frame acts as a divider between the outside picture space and inside picture space; in others, it acts as mediator. Often, there might be one unit that attracts the viewer and draws them into the picture, with other units then engaging the viewer and leading the eye further around, and then in, or out of, the picture space. As Poore points out, every unit in a picture has a given value; the value of a unit depends on its attraction, and its attraction varies according to its placement (1967). This chapter explores the relationship between inside and the outside picture spaces, and in particular, the role they play in the visual-narrative, through examining artistic use of picture space through the centuries.

Complete Chapter List

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Table of Contents
Chapter 1
Alan Dix
Map, mazes, myths, magic, and mathematics, computation, cognition, community, and the constructed environment, all reveal something of our internal... Sample PDF
Paths and Patches: Patterns of Geognosy and Gnosis
Chapter 2
Jon Kerridge
This chapter concerns the question of how people navigate through a space in which other people are also present. Issues addressed include how the... Sample PDF
Let's Meander Through a Measured Space
Chapter 3
Matthew Leach
The Speckled Computing project is a large multisite research project based in Scotland, UK. The aim of the project is to investigate, prototype, and... Sample PDF
Navigating a Speckled World: Interacting with Wireless Sensor Networks
Chapter 4
John Willy Bakke
Workplaces are key loci for expressing and studying organizational identity, even in distributed work. In organization studies, there is a growing... Sample PDF
Contested Terrain: Place, Work, and Organizational Identities
Chapter 5
Anne Sofie Laegran
The chapter is based on a study of Internet cafés in Norway, and interrogates the way space and place is produced in interconnections between people... Sample PDF
Technosocial Space: Connecting People and Places
Chapter 6
Lynne Hall
This chapter discusses artists’ use of virtual space to collaboratively create a digital stained-glass rose window. It explores the use of virtual... Sample PDF
Reconfiguring the Rose: An Exploration of the Use of Virtual Space by Artists Collaboratively Creating Digital Stained Glass
Chapter 7
Elin K. Jacob
In distinguishing between space and place, one approach is to contrast the physicality of space with the sociality of place: space directs attention... Sample PDF
Context, Boundedness, and Structure: The Apprehension of Place in the Development of Information Environments
Chapter 8
Richard Coyne
The widespread use of mobile telephony prompts a reevaluation of the role of the aural sense in spatial understanding. There are clear correlations... Sample PDF
Voice and Space: Agency of the Acousmêtre in Spatial Design
Chapter 9
Susan Turner
This chapter considers the role of sound, and more specifically, listening, in creating a sense of presence (of “being there”) in “places” recreated... Sample PDF
Listening, Corporeality, Place and Presence
Chapter 10
Stephen Boyd Davis
The chapter is concerned with the relationship between the planar space of graphic representations and the world space that they represent. To... Sample PDF
Representing Space: The Pictorial Imperative
Chapter 11
Fiona Carroll
The art of the visual-narrative is not a new phenomenon. Artists and designers have been using images to tell stories for thousands of years. From... Sample PDF
The Spatial Development of the Visual-Narrative from Prehistoric Cave Paintings to Computer Games
Chapter 12
Shaleph O’Neill
The Situationists defined the increasingly spectacularized society (The Society of the Spectacle ) as the alienation of the individual by an... Sample PDF
The Interactive Spectacle and the Digital Situationist
Chapter 13
Shaun Lawson
People use spatial language in everyday face-to-face conversation, and we also now use such language during everyday computer-mediated interactions.... Sample PDF
Spatial Language in Computer Mediated Communication
Chapter 14
Phil Turner
Recent years have witnessed a number of initiatives to develop technology (“memory prosthetics”) to enhance and extend human memory. Typical of... Sample PDF
Space, Place, and Memory Prosthetics
Chapter 15
Julian Warner
This chapter is concerned with exposing the material basis for the concepts of the syntagm and paradigm from linguistics, and the message and... Sample PDF
Materializing Communication Concepts: Linearity and Surface in Linguistics and Information Theory
Chapter 16
Sándor Darányi, Péter Wittek
Current methods of automatic indexing, automatic classification, and information retrieval treat index and query terms, that is, vocabulary units in... Sample PDF
On Information, Meaning, Space and Geometry
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