Visual context

by Allison Wilson

The context in which art in placed can completely change the meaning that we interpret from it. When reading and examining Buddha we are more concerned with the relationship between each image than with than we are with each image alone. This then brings attention to the traditions and shots being used on each page layout and what that does to the story. It then also calls attention to how we read the story and how much of our interpretation is altered by our own individual reading and what we choose to focus on as we read through the novel.  Unlike a film we can stop and take in as much detail as we like, with this control how much does the story then change?

The relationship between images also reminded me of the way we attempted to interoperate John Berger’s pictorial essays, as we tried to figure out what they were trying to say as a whole as apposed to individually. In this medium it also feels like the reader in more conscious of how they are reading the story, something that Mulvey and Berger would advocate for, so what does this really do when put in practice?

This idea of context made me also want to be able to somehow tie it to visual appropriation. When taking an image out of its original context can create an entirely new piece of art. (I found this particularly interesting in this video just to see this new entity being created from Vertigo and many other films) We can see the idea of visual appropriation a little bit in Buddha with the Buddhist imagery but also with the story itself. Tezuka says that “If [he] removed all of the fictional elements from Buddha, there would be so little left that it could not be called a story” (Collected, 129). This then raises the question that in changing the context of the story of Buddha to what extent has he created an entirely new story and how can we interoperate this?