Writing as Pretext

Nancy Roth (2010) “Writing as Pretext: On the Way to an Image,” 256-264 IN:Arts and Humanities in Higher Education 9(2) June 2010. Available at http://ahh.sagepub.com/content/9/2/256.full.pdf+html

Abstract: The contemporary art college makes a broad range of media available to students, from which writing is conventionally excluded. Writing entered the art college curriculum in the 1960s as a ‘frame’, or means of integrating art and artists into an academic framework, rather than as a medium of potential study. Drawing on the philosophy of Vilém Flusser (1920—1991), the article accepts that writing has exerted a long, if uneven, control over the power of images, and that the introduction of writing into the art curriculum in the 1960s activated very old tensions. Dramatic changes in communications technology have, however, markedly changed the position of writing with respect to images. Art colleges may now be in a uniquely strong position to reconsider the role of writing in higher education in general.