The Visual Field

At some point I began to think of the entities of the visual field as something pure and then the entities of language seemed to me something merely referential.

However, I think on the many visual understandings which I can take up which, after reflection, reveal individual visual ‘sentences’ and visual ‘words’. These visual entities too belong to a language—a visual one.

Yet, there is nothing novel in talking about a visual language (this is everyday talk among my colleagues). So, why does this feel so profound? Well, just as there is no necessary overlap in the languages of the sciences (See lecture “What?—”I Mean Love”) there is no necessary overlap in any visual languages either. Are the vase and the two faces honestly the same visual entity? You could say that the lines which compose them are, but to ‘see’ an entity as geometrical/spatial relationships belongs to yet another language altogether—a language of geometry or spatiality. And finally, I should not expect that any language of objects, for example, to map neatly onto any entity in one of my visual languages.

I am in possession of many languages—visual, audible, tactile—and each of these have their own world to which they belong. Take the case of an apple. The entity taste of apple shares no experiential properties with the entity sight of apple, and in turn neither of these shares an experiential property with any particular entity apple. (Someone can mean apple without meaning taste or sight—apple as location, for example.) Despite this, the entity taste of apple and sight of apple may answer ownedness to an entity, apple.

So, with such an entity taken up in several ways, I might as well forget that entity’s singularity—dissolve that entity. Instead of as an entity with properties, I should think of each as independent—and some entities answer ownedness, as part of their constitution.

Therefore, I can accept the visual field as a background, undifferentiated—yet no visual entity themed there could be pure.