Seeing comes before words

“Seeing comes before words. The child looks and recognises before it can speak. But it is also another sense in which seeing comes before words. It is seeing which establishes our place in the surrounding world; we explain that world with words, but words can never undo the fact we are surround by it. The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled. The way we see things is affected by what we believe” John Berger

Rarely do we get to know how a film came to be or a work or art. Many argue that it’s not important and that the work ought to speak for itself. In the times we live, the hunger for how things come to be is phenomenal. Also phenomenal is the need to learn different perspectives and the truth. About Film’s main aim is to present a unique and new perspective on ways of seeing. In a collection of thoughts and happenings in the world of films, art, current affairs and politics, I will endeavour to share my personal perspective.

This is my first foray into writing a Blog – I hope that you will join me and help create a dynamic and powerful place for discussion and debate on all that is creative within the realms of our human experience.

2 Responses to “Seeing comes before words”

  1. judi Barrowman Says:

    Great blog Shakila I really enjoyed it and will show Jim the Emily Dickinson – so love her poem about about Death.

    You’re right no one really knows how the moving image or work of art came about although plenty of people have talked about how it came about. According to Heinrich Shafer the nature of Ancient Egyptian representation came about through mental or memory images summarizing the essential properties of what the ancient Egyptians depicted.

    Kant in his Critique of Judgment makes clear that the value of an art work depends on its presenting what he terms “aesthetical Ideas.” He explains:

    “By an aesthetical Idea I understand that representation of the Imagination which cannot be completely compassed and made intelligible by language…….The Imagination (as a productive faculty of cognition) is very powerful in creating another nature, as it were, out of the material that actual nature gives it….and by it we remould experience……….Such representations of the Imagination we may call Ideas, partly because they at least strive after something which lies beyond the bounds of Reason (intellectual Ideas), thus giving to the latter the appearance of objective reality.”

    He indicates that a work of art does not merely copy nature for it embodies concepts more fully than any single instance in nature. Ayn Rand (‘Art and Cognition’) suggests something similar when she mentions that through “the selective re-creation of reality, “art brings man’s concepts to the perceptual level of his consciousness and allows him to grasp them directly as if they were percepts.”

    Film, of course was not included in this consensus from days gone by but as the language of art is presumed to be fundamentally mimetic, postmodernist art including conceptual art, performance art, film, photography, video etc, is also mimetic in a sense that it copies life rather than nature.

    Och well, just a few thoughts relating to the last paragraph of your blog. Also I am preparing an essay on the difference between conceptual and perceptual art according to the ancient Egyptians.

    Best wishes


  2. shakila Says:

    Hi Judi,

    Yes, Kant’s aesthetical ideas a very much relevant today as when he first penned them; “Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the more often and steadily reflection is occupied with them: the starry heaven above me and the moral law within me. Neither of them need I seek and merely suspect as if shrouded in obscurity or rapture beyond my own horizon; I see them before me and connect them immediately with my existence”. His ideas of law of nature and law of reason are fascinating and very much what John Berger was talking about in the 70’s when he explored ways of seeing. More Kant: “The human being itself is the original creator of all its representations and concepts and ought to be the sole author of all its actions”.

    I look forward to reading your essay. Do let me know where I can read it.

    Best wishes,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: