Let there be . . . visual optimal innovations: making visual meaning through Michelangelo's The Creation of Adam

Joost Schilperoord, Neil Cohn*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

This article addresses visual optimal innovations such as memes, advertising images and editorial cartoons which take Michelangelo's fresco The Creation of Adam as input, and rework it so that novel meaning is created that takes the meaning of the input as base. The authors focus on the cognitive and structural aspects of these kinds of visual stimulus. They argue that visual optimal innovations are aesthetically rewarding owing to how they invite meaning construction, and they further demonstrate that these aspects of visual communication are encoded in human memory to make up entries in a 'visual lexicon'. The main questions addressed are: What graphic procedures are employed to create such stimuli, and how are they structured? How are existing and novel meanings evoked by visual optimal innovations, and how are they aligned? How are visual optimal innovations processed and interpreted? And, finally, how is all this knowledge - structural and conceptual - cognitively represented?

Original languageEnglish
Article number14703572211004994
Number of pages21
JournalVisual communication
Early online date3 May 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 May 2021

Keywords

  • conceptual blending
  • optimal innovations
  • visual cognition
  • visual lexicon
  • visual meaning
  • I CANT DRAW
  • LANGUAGE

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