29 SES 01, Paper Session
The aim of the paper is to present a critical analysis of the notion of visual competence. We try to theoretically situate this notion in the field of the so-called "images science" and within the discourse on competencies (and their development). We then attempt to illustrate the problems of such an understanding by presenting some insights into an explorative study (on visual comptence) which we have conducted in 2011 and 2012.
The current discourse on visual competence (most of all in the context of arts education) has effects and meets responses in the context of educational policy debates on educational standards and competence levels and as well in the current discourse on the so called pictorial science. Even if “pictorial science” is a singular, we may not assume an established subject among scientific disciplines, rather the term must be understood as giving expression to the boom of the current discourse on images. The growing interest in the image is expressed by well-known, if sometimes misunderstood, terms such as “iconic turn” and “pictorial turn”. Bredekamp believes that this way the fact is taken into account that since the last quarter of the 20th century for the first time Western culture attributes dominant cultural and philosophical relevance to the image (see Bredekamp 2011, p. 74). Given the multi-disciplinary contributions to the debate, each of which is guided by very different interests and points of view, this “pictorial-scientific overall project” distinguishes itself by its multi-faceted structure (see Bachmann-Medick 2009, p. 353).
The demand to deal with (the flood of) images led to a fundamental debate, in the context of which the project of a general pictorial science and the concept of visual competence has become relevant. However, in particular for the way in which Sachs-Hornbach argues, the topic of visual competence is simply of strategic value in the sense of making it fruitful for society. Visual competence, it is said, is needed most of all at schools, for this is the place where the children are found who are particularly threatened by the so called flood of images. Obviously, one also intends to exploit this situation strategically: “A promising possibility to develop new study courses results from giving evidence to the social usefulness of certain competences. For obvious reasons, visual competence is the one which is of relevance for general pictorial science.” The latter´s usefulness, one states, can be introduced by way of the keyword `visual literacy´ (Sachs-Hombach 2003, p. 214). Obviously there is the hope that establishing general pictorial science with society and its canonisation will benefit from the discourse on visual competence.
Another strategic, although not essentially strategic, way of dealing with the issue of educational standards in the field or arts education is the attempt to speak of visual competence according to the idea and discourse of competence, to define it as convincingly and analytically as possible, in order of postulating sub-competences which can be dealt with and educationally implemented and to systematically embed them into curriculum guidelines.
Bachmann-Medick, D. (2009). Cultural Turns. Neuorientierungen in den Kulturwissenschaf-ten. Reinbek: Rowohlt Verlag (3. Aufl.). Boehm, G. (1997). Die Lehre des Bilderverbots. In B. Recki, L. Wiesing (Hrsg.), Bild und Reflektion. München: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, S. 294-306. Boehm, G. (2010). Wie Bilder Sinn erzeugen. Die Macht des Zeigens. Berlin: Berlin Univer-sity Press (3. Aufl). Bredekamp, H. (2011). Bildwissenschaft. In U. Pfisterer (Hrsg.), Metzler Lexikon Kunstwis-senschaft. Ideen Methoden Begriffe. Stuttgart: Metzler Verlag, S. 72-75 (2. Aufl.). Niehoff, R. (2005). Bildungsstandards für das Fach Kunst? In Bilder. Eine Herausforderung für die Bildung. Oberhausen: Athena-Verlag, S. 89-108. Park, A. (2012). Das unbegriffliche Bild - über Bildkompetenz und Bildungsstandards (Mas-terarbeit). Basel: Universität Basel, Philosophisch-historische Fakultät. Park, A. & Reichenbach, R. (in Vorb.). Bemerkungen zum Problem der Erfassung von Bild-kompetenz. Sachs-Hombach, K. (2003). Das Bild als kommunikatives Medium. Elemente einer allgemei-nen Bildwissenschaft. Köln: Halem.
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