Chorography: reflections on its place in visual literacy and creative arts

O'Sullivan, Jill (2009) Chorography: reflections on its place in visual literacy and creative arts. In: Proceedings of 3rd Global Conference Visual Literacies. pp. 1-11. From: 3rd Global Conference Visual Literacies , 14-16th July 2009, Mansfield College, Oxford, UK.

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Chorography, as defined by Ptolemy in 149 AD, is a form of visual literacy qualitatively describing the inherent attributes of place and region. Ptolemy categorically stated chorography could only be rendered by a skilled artist, designating chorography to be a pictorial representation rather than written text. Chorography, originating within classical cosmographical philosophies, is a qualitative graphic narrative of specific region/choros or place that is characterised by homogeneous components and regional commonalities. These may be physical, symbolic, conceptual, metaphysical or sensory. This qualitative and creative imagery communicates and illuminates the iconic, symbolic and the metaphysical of each era’s cultural philosophies of religion and place. In each period of history, chorography maintains its underlying premise as a qualitative and descriptive visual language. However, chorography as visual and conceptual literacy in contemporary art praxis is virtually unacknowledged in current art theory. Historical applications indicate that chorographic visualisations of region and place informed and reflected contemporary views and needs, embracing and elucidating concepts of religion, politics and culture of distinct periods of time and place. This dissertation determines the viability and relevance of a chorographic visual literacy engagement with contemporary creative arts practice in describing place and region. In establishing this position, this discourse surveys a concise historical review of an ongoing chorographical visual literacy that informed medieval mappaemundi and portolan charts, Renaissance orthographic city views and seventeenth century Northern European vistas. Chorographic illustrations recorded explorations of new worlds from the early Modern period. The discourse also notes and discusses the influence of printmaking on the dissemination of chorographic visual scholarship from the sixteenth century. This paper concludes with a discussion of chorography and its place within contemporary digital media, and virtual reality, finally examining the establishment of a chorographical lexicon informing contemporary visual praxis in traditional and new media art.

Item ID: 11150
Item Type: Conference Item (Research - E1)
Keywords: Chorography; place; Ptolemy; visual literacy; graphic arts
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Conference theme "Exploring Critical Issues"

Date Deposited: 28 May 2010 00:31
FoR Codes: 19 STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 1901 Art Theory and Criticism > 190102 Art History @ 50%
19 STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 1901 Art Theory and Criticism > 190103 Art Theory @ 50%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970119 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of the Creative Arts and Writing @ 100%
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