Part Four – Preparation for Assignment 4: Understanding question

Given the nature of difference-in-itself, or what we have referred to as theoretical difference, it would be an error to say that it appears in some works and not others. It would also be an error to think that difference was the only thing a work had to offer.

However, with some caution and a little licence, we can show that some works invite a differential interpretation more than others. Such works will generally have a double aspect like the ’duck-rabbit’ and other picture puzzles though this won’t always be visual, it may be conceptual. Allegories and simulacra are also suggestive of difference.

Choose one of the works below and explore its possible interpretations in terms of difference. Think carefully about its potential and research the work before you begin.

Assignment question: 

To explore possible interpretations (of one work) in terms of difference and to think carefully about potential and research the work before you begin.

Task: to explore; also to interpret?

Key concept: Difference, potential of work

Sub context: Potential of images (e.g. meaning, interpretation, truth, message, reality)

Context: Art, Images, Visual Culture

Subtask: To choose one work and to research this one deeply

Questions and thoughts:

  • How to I choose? Randomly? By preference e.g taste? By knowing? By raising questions while looking? Should I preselect two and than to see which one to go? Should I keep it completely open and select only at the very end? What do I loose or will miss? => I need to stay focused and not go wide
  • To explore: Should I apply a Compare (Identify similarities. If appropriate, give reasons for preference) & Contrast (Identify differences. If appropriate, give reasons for preference) approach when making choices?
  • From possible interpretations do I select one that fits my own position? Would this go than into a meta-interpretation i.e. my interpretations of existing interpretations? Or rather shaping my own position by selecting which of those are more convincing for me? And why? Or should I ‘stay out’ and explore from an observer position? Perhaps to add my own view in the conclusion?
  • Difference as concept seems to be clear, the coursework will provide me with some more insight and divergent viewpoints.
  • Should I focus on a certain sub-context or settings or culture?



Assignment 4 - course material page 112

Fig. 1: Assignment 4 – course material page 112

Some definitions on key words (University of Leicester, n.D.):

  • ‘To explore: Adopt a questioning approach and consider a variety of different viewpoints. Where possible reconcile opposing views by presenting a final line of argument’
  • ‘To interpret: Demonstrate my understanding of an issue or topic. This can be the use of particular terminology by an author, or what the findings from a piece of research suggest to you. In the latter instance, comment on any significant patterns and causal relationships. ‘
  • ‘to compare: Identify the similarities and differences between two or more phenomena. Say if any of the shared similarities or differences are more important than others. ‘Compare’ and ‘contrast’ will often feature together in an essay question.’
  • ‘to contrast: to concentrate on dissimilarities between two or more phenomena and what sets them apart. Point out any differences which are particularly significant.’




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