Drawing attention to arrows

Helen Scalway has recently been developing her work on arrows in two ways. There is a paper, for the Drawing Research Network’s conference on Drawing Knowledge at Loughborough University.  In her paper (available here), she travels around the questions raised for the constitution of ‘knowledge’ by the loaded and vexed icon of the arrow, as it is unthinkingly and reductively used in graphics software.

Helen is also going to be following up this work, with an online residency at the London Centre for Recent Drawing research.  The residency will run over 6-8 weeks from early autumn, providing space to develop more images and reflections on the ‘the Arrow as Icon’.

3 thoughts on “Drawing attention to arrows

  1. ONe can always count on the fortuitous…sometimes. I am in the process of honing my creative practice research and it was in putting together an abstract for a knowledge and design conference, that I discovered a curious connection with the geographer’s lexicon, in an article by R.G. Golledge. What intrigued me was that, while the language he used to outline the geographer’s trade was full of familiar terms of spatial discourse, the use of these terms was quite different. I was so excited to read about your research, Helen, in collaboration with a geographer. I would like to talk with you or stay in touch somehow. I will follow your online residency in any case. I am studying through QUT in Australia.

      1. Dear Sharon, Thankyou for this. The little I’ve read of Golledge (http://www.gvsu.edu/cms3/assets/B6FD1115-EC01-A2A3-30867A2784081D10/TheNatureofGeographicalKnowledge.pdf) is fascinating – his interest as a geographer in building a lexicon; the emphasis on comprehensibility and explicitness as in his phrase ‘spatially explicit theory’. And I can well see why it has to be ‘explicit’ and ‘comprehensible’ in most instances. But an artist may bring a very different approach. Re the arrow as icon, of course, the arrow sign is usually situated in some context; I’ve decontextualised it and by presenting it this way and that, given it an array of different implications. Of course what might complicate its meanings is different in different contexts – I’ve just tried to suggest that it’s not an ‘innocent’ sign. The gulfs between the approaches taken by different disciplines are wide: between geography: art: design – but the potential for dialogue is so rich! Maybe we should continue this in another arena? Helen

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