What are the effects provoked by the constant bombardment of persuasive visual messages? How can this affect our choices? Does it influence our political attitudes, our lethargy or proactiveness? To foster comprehension we are collecting, describing and organising the elements and rules with which we give meaning to images.

The research started when needing a method to show students that theory and practice are not separate entities. Diving into the characteristics of play and game mechanics, we designed a toolbox that is a game as well as a source of inspiration. Combining rules and genres, the player explores the concepts of visual grammar and experiments with infinite combinations and effects.

An adaptation for children followed, alarmed as we are of the lack of visual education. In a world where we are unknowingly ready to read sequences of images with the logic of their syntax we should aknowledge the ways to use this grammar since primary education.

Another derived was the Taxonomy of visual grammar, a handy cheat sheet.

We became daily activists in countering deniying and racist attitudes. This induced us into looking at how commercial images (the billboard project) might affect our perception, unconsciously processing visual stimuli with meaning. If subliminal perception and visual pre-attentive processing are used in advertising, why aren’t we paying attention to its socio-political effects?

From a postcolonial critical approach, we had to consider how the commercial images populate the places where Europe was exploiting lifes and soil. European representation was another way of colonizing. Images were used to legitimize imposition: photography, for instance, portrayed peoples ethnicity to promote the need to bring “civilization” and standardize the world. Visual misrepresentation played an important role in the system of domination, emphasizing differences and comparison with the Western world. Through all kinds of images (book illustrations, maps, paintings, postcards…) the explotators and the consumers grew in their assumptions of superiority. But the variety of the world did not fit narrow mindedness: “The frustration felt by the colonial photographer in the presence of a veiled woman, occurs when he realizes that the exoticism he thought he could easily capture resists his lens and desire to uncover the mystery. The veil represents a form of resistance and a symbol of cultural identity that refuses to yield to colonial intrusion.”(El Kaidi, 2019, Alloula, 1986.)
Do the indigenous cultures still make it difficult for the intrusion of capitalism? The consumerist way of life (and multinationals) are still colonizing minds and bodies. How  visual cultures fight this battle?

  • Is this real? Where is this?
  • Is what you see and what you believe alike?
  • Why is this picture a reference to coloniality?