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Workshop in collaboration with CSW Torun & Emic Foundation

Join Zoom Meeting:
Meeting ID: 925 3944 4090
Passcode: D15Nf9


#digitalart #painting #drawing #aesthetick #ambiguity #visual-perception #opticalillusions #gesthalt psychology #newwaysofart #technology #illusions #visualart #visual structures #reversiblefigures #culture #language #value # aesthetic


Ambiguity in (visual) culture

Ambiguity in (visual) culture can be investigated from multiple perspectives. The workshop aims to focus on ambiguity as a phenomenon in order to understand its nature, and therefore facts around us. 


According to the Cambridge dictionary “an ambiguity” is (an example of) the fact of something having more than one possible meaning and therefore possibly causing confusion. 1 The Dictionary.com states that ambiguity is a “doubtfulness or uncertainty of meaning or intention” or “an unclear, indefinite, or equivocal word, expression, meaning.” 2


In this workshop, we will examine the importance and phenomenon of ambiguity in culture. Mainly we will look at four types of ambiguities:

  1. ambiguity of language

  2. ambiguity of the image

  3. ambiguity of aesthetics

  4. ambiguity of values

Firstly, we will take a closer look at the ambiguity of language. A Chinese proverb says: may you live in interesting times. But did you know that this sentence is ambiguous? In the field of information, it is neither a proverb nor even a Chinese one. This is mentioned, among others, by Fred R. Shapiro in his book The Yale Book of QuotationsMoreover, in the realm of language, the phrase interesting times is not interpreted literally but signifies times of anxiety

Secondly, we will investigate the ambiguity of the image. Here we will create an artwork following some tips from gestalt psychology, and mechanisms of optical illusionsWhile creating an ambiguous image I will show you not only the most common figure-ground examples but also more in-depth ones. We will analyze the latest research papers on the topic, and create analogue or digital pieces based on the research. 


Thirdly, we will look at the ambiguity of aesthetics. Here, we will ask why some art is considered aesthetically good and why others are not. We will ask what it means today, and what it meant in the future. Again, we will follow some artworks’ examples and examine them from the philosophical point of view.


And lastly, we will examine the ambiguity of value. We will ask why some art is considered valuable and why others are not. We will ask what is value and why it is important to know. We will look at contemporary channels of selling art, including those that are already established and the ones that are currently emerging. We will study an economic value of an artwork, and look at other types of values that an artwork might have. Following some artworks’ examples, we will explore what kind of values are attached to each of them.


Summing up, the main aim of the workshop is to deepen your understanding of ambiguity, and mechanisms of visual culture and strengthen your practical and creative capabilities.