• Robert Frost, "Scholars and artists thrown together are often annoyed at the puzzle of where they differ. Both work from knowledge; but I suspect they differ most importantly in the way their knowledge is come by. Scholars get theirs with conscientious thoroughness along projected lines of logic; poets theirs cavalierly and as it happens in and out of books. They stick to nothing deliberately, but let what will stick to them like burrs where they walk in the fields. No acquirement is on assignment, or even self-assignment. Knowledge of the second kind is much more valuable in the free wild ways of wit and art. " source unknown. The great American poet characteristically throws his considerable weight behind the artist’s claim to research in the service of creativity. The metaphor is characteristically based in the out of doors.

• The advancement of research over tutorial techniques alarmed the Master of Balliol, Benjamin Jowett, "Research ! Research ! A mere excuse for idleness; it has never achieved and will never achieve any results of the slightest value." from Modern Poets on Modern Poetry.


What are the relationships between perception and mental imagery ?

“To think of a thing is different from to perceive it, as ‘to walk’ is from ‘ to “feel the ground under you”; perhaps in the same way too - namely, succession of perceptions accompanied by a sense of nisus and purpose.” Samuel Taylor Coleridge, from Anima Poetae


• Otto Neurath, "Long before I started to read I started to look at books that contained pictures and maps in my father's library. I looked especially at the atlas intended to accompany Alexander von Humboldt's famous Cosmos. Here were deserts, mountains, clouds, seas, strange plants and unfamiliar animals, marvels of many sorts. This world, presented in delightful drawing and colouring, satisfied my longing for a cosmic view. The arrangement of our library helped my liking for books with pictures. As often happens, the large books, many of which contained pictures and maps, were kept in the tall bottom shelves. I would take them out and lie down on the floor to look at them. I liked that position. Most children do. I soon realised the difference between pictures `made for children', and pictures with a more general appeal. I found that books describing inventions and crafts for children did so by using large pictures and `big' figures, but pictures intended for adults were smaller and not so colourful. The colourful pictures when the colours were clear attracted me much more than when they were vague and indeterminate. I have always remembered this." quoted from the Neurath manuscript, in Future Books, Vol III (undated) Otto Neurath was a pioneer not just of European Socialism but of the visual presentation of statistical information (the Isotype Institute whose archives are in the University of Reading). The Future essay is rare and no further extension was published as far as I know. His reputation was based on the ability of the designer with Isotype’s pictograms to impart sophisticated bodies of stastistical information with pictograms. There is a sort of telephone book of available pictograms published and in the University of Brighton Library.


• Ernst Lubitsch, German director, "In my silent period in Germany as well as in America I tried to use less and less subtitles. It was my aim to tell the story through pictorial nuances and the facial expressions on my actors. There were often very long scenes in which people were talking without being interrupted by subtitles. The lip movement was used as a kind of pantomime. Not that I wanted the audience to become lip readers, but I tried to time the speech in such a way that the audience could listen to their eyes. " That Lubitsch Touch [1968] quoted in Leyda, Film Makers Speak. Hitchcock too designed his own titles and developed as a film director in finding visual equivalents. As early as the films of Griffiths there was a developed (if stylised) body of acknowledged gestures to extend the audience’s understanding of the narrative.


“There are two sorts of talkative fellows whom it would be injurious to confound,, and I, S/.T.Coleridge, am the latter. The first sort is of those who use five hundred words, more than needs to express an idea - that is not my case. Few men, I will be bold to say, put more meaning into their words than I or chose them more deliberately and discriminately. The second sort is those who use five hundred more ideas, images, resons, etc , than there is any need of to arrive at their object, till the only object arrived at is that the mind’s eye of the bystander is dazzled with colours succeeding so rapidly as to leave one vague impression that there has been a greta blaze of colours all about something. Now this is my case, and a grievous fault it is. My illustrations swallow up my thesis. I feel too intensely the omnipresence of each in all, platonically speaking...
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, from Anima Poetae.


• Allen Hurlburt, " For years, man has accepted a neatly packaged idea of measurable space, fixed time and a round world that revolves around a reliable sun. Today, science is challenging these three-dimensional views. As we move inward towards the atom and outward toward space, we discover that what seemed unreal to our untrained perception is actually real and what we took for reality is sometimes an illusion. Faced with these new concepts, no art director can afford to take his perception and design approach for granted, and no editor can afford the comfortable luxury of editorial formulas and a fixed format." in Publication Design, VNR 1971. Hurlburt was the distinguished art director of LOOK magazine. See also his book on Monroe. He published his ideas widely (The Grid etc) and was influential in urging designers into broader mind sets - the analogy with the cinema is a favourite theme, and here, almost a dimensional picture based on the Eames studio scale animation Powers of Ten.


• "Grammar contributes to painting its concordances; dialectics its logical conclusions; rhetoric its persuasion; poesie its inventive power; oratory its figures of speech; arithmetic its numbers; music its harmonies; symmetry its measures; architecture its level planes; sculpture its roundness; perspective and optics their magnification and diminution; and finally astromony and astrology their talents for the knowledge of the heavenly images. Who can doubt that [painting] , the transcendent sum total of all arts, is the chief art which comprises all the others ?" Antonio Palomino, "Pictorial Museum and Optical Scale," 1795-7, in E.Holt A Documentary History of Art Vol 2. An unusually grandiloquent claim when the creation of imagery was seen often as a lowly and undemanding servant of the other Arts.


"I would go so far as to say that if an illustrator or a potential illustrator does not see an image as soon as the phrase is given him, he should not illustrate a book: if he does not feel the excitement of a typographic page, he should not illustrate a book; if he has no dreams or aspirations, he should not illustrate a book; if there are no books he feels he would wish to illustrate, then he should not illustrate. These are some of the essential qualities of the illustrator; they must be already there." from John Farleigh, It Never Dies 1945. p.80 . The British illustrator, highly prolific - putting the capacity to visualise from text at the head of his list.

• Pablo Neruda Memoirs, of his childhood, "I grew older. Books began to interest me. Buffalo Bill's adventures and Salgari's voyages carried me far away into the world of dreams..."

• Graham Greene staying with his uncle, at Harston in Cambridge. Aged c 8, "It was at Harston I found quite suddenly I could read - the book was Dixon Brett, Detective. I didn't want anyone to know of my discovery, so I read only in secret, in a remote attic, but my mother must have spotted what I was at all the same, for she gave me Balantyne's Coral Island for the train journey home - always an interminable journey with the long wait between trains at Bletchley. I still wouldn't admit my new talent, and I stared at the only illustration all the way to the junction. No wonder it so impressed itself on my memory that I can see with my mind's eye today the group of children posed on the rocks. I think I feared that reading represented the entrance to the Preparatory School.... I detested that absurd book Reading Without Tears. How could I be interested in a cat that sat on a mat ? I couldn't identify with a cat. Dixon Brett was another matter, and he had a boy assistant, who might easily, I thought, be myself....[of terrors] Another recurring terror was of the house catching fire at night and I associate it with the sticky colour plates in the Boy's Own Paper recording the exploits of heroic firemen. " Lists of favourite books of the period, Beatrix Potter and the influence on the writing of Brighton Rock. "The influence of early books is profound. So much of the future lies on our shelves: early reading has more influence on conduct than any religious teaching. I feel certain I would not have made a false start, when I was twenty-one, in the British American Tobacco Company, which had promised me a post in China, if I had never read Captain Gilson's Lost Column, and without a knowledge of Rider Haggard would I have been drawn later to Liberia ?" G.Greene, A Sort of Life.

N.C.Wyeth, "It is a universal opinion among discriminating readers that illustration in the majority of cases is a superimposed burden upon the story it pretends to illustrate. I am in hearty sympathy with that opinion. It is too often a detached art and makes little pretence to be in working harmony and sympathetically submissive to the spirit of the tale. In being submissive it will add power and charm to the story but if it precludes the author's artistry by repeating in bald assertions the main incidents and characters it becomes a vital menace and detriment in the expression of any writing, be the writing ever so powerful and the pictures ever so inferior. The artistic powers of an illustrator spring from the same source as do the powers of the painter; but the profound difference lies in the fact that the illustrator submits his inspiration to a definite end; the painter carries his to infinitude. Therefore, the work of the illustrator resolves itself into a craft and he must not lose sight of that very important factor. To successfully illustrate he must be subjective. It is important business to use restraint, particular in the choice of subjects. The ability to select subject matter is an art in itself and calls to action similar dramatic instincts required in the staging of a play. The illustrator must first feel the power of the story in all its rhythm and swing, at the same time sense just at the right moment to step in with his illustration just as the play producer endeavours to intensify and enhance the drama with his ingenious stage properties and effects. To do this requires an amount of instinctive ability, but like everything else, it improves with experience and serious study. By avoiding the shackles of explicit action and detail the illustrator will find a field of far greater range upon which to exercise his powers, emotional and technical, and is given a better chance to produce something of real merit." On Illustration - A suggestion and a Comment on Illustrating Fiction, The New York Times Oct 13 1912, quoted in Allen and Allen, N.C.Wyeth Bonanza NY 1972.



• "[Harry] Furniss cultivated a trick of making rough notes blind in his pocket - a difficult job at first, but one at which improvement comes with practice. In my experience a better dodge in emergencies is to 'draw' notes with the forefinger upon the palm of the hand. After all, half the value of putting down lines on paper is that by action, the lines are also put down in memory... 'Spy' believed that his best work in pure caricature was a done from memory, but from memory ordered and educated by copious note-taking beforehand. " David Low, Ye Madde Designer, 1936. p.77


William Saroyan, "To tell a story implies plainly a narrative ability. How to intersperse description with action, and in what quantities ? How much to dwell on the minor activities of a character, which will reveal that character, before continuing the major action of the drama itself ? How much dialogue? How much straight statement, how much silent implication of the underlying theme ? And so on. All these quantities will depend on nothing but the quality of the author's taste, and on his response to certain undeniable influences in life outside literature. I mean technical influences like, say, the cinema. Add now television and the increased of the photographed image in newspapers, magazines. In short, the great new currency of the Image. Whether this enormous pictorial increase makes us see more clearly is debatable: it is possible that too quick a succession of images becomes blurred, cancels itself out, as with the pictures in an art gallery when one tries to see too much in too short a visit; it is possible that a Victorian faced with a few oleographs absorbed much more (compare the lasting impression of the illustrations in a book read and prized in childhood). But what is certain is that the frequency of the image projected at us has resulted in an increase of movement or action. Even a motionless photographed figure, static in itself, implies action before and afterwards. And certainly in films and television you cannot have a figure on the screen sitting about and doing nothing for long. This has had its effect on writing. The pace has increased. " from William Sansom, The Birth of a Story, Chatto & Windus 1972.Faith Jaques in Martin 1989

“The artist creates the visual image ... accepted by the reader and often becomes part of visual culture. From Struwwelpeter to Orlando, from the Mad Hatter to Mrs.Tiggy-Winkle; Pooh and Piglet, Mary Poppins, William, Paddington Bear, Mr.Toad, and Mole, Rat, Badger, not to mention Sherlock Holmes - the list is endless... It should also be remembered that often the character is not described [in appearence] in the text at all; the illustrator is doing his job of translating the author’s meaning into a visual form.”

• Jerome Singer on Daydreaming to Drawing as a child, Singer 1981
“As schoolwork, sports and organised games took more of my time, ands as I naturally became embarassed by continued overt make-believe, I indulged in these fantasy characters more and more by drawing pictures of them in notebooks. Eventually the sequences were almost totally internalised in private visual imagery. My drawings were much like comic strips elaborating particular sequences of adventures, except that no captions were necessary because the fantasy was played out internally....


• Moses’ Second Commandment.
“Thou shalt not make unto thee a graven image, nor any likeness of any form that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath...”

• Psalms 97.7
“Confounded be all that worship carved images”

• Phillips 1973 p.127
The Dean of St.Paul’s had presented Queen Elizabeth I with a new prayer book,
“You know I have an aversion to to idolatry: to images of this kind.”
“Wherein is the idolatry, may it please your majesty ?”
“In the cuts resembling angels and saints ; nay, grosser absurdities, pictures resembling the Blessed Trinity... Have you forgotten our proclamations against images, pictures and Romish relics in the churches ?”

• Phillips 1973 p.12
“... basic to the Christian defense of images is the general acceptance of things of this world as necessary bridges to the next.”

• Phillips 1973 p.150
John Donne’s sermon, that images “That if the true use of pictures be preached to them there is no danger of an abuse; and so as remembrances of that which had been taught in the pulpit, they may be retained.”

• Phillips 1973 p.178
Bishop Laud, “Though Calvin does not approve images in churches; yet he doth approve very well of them which contain a history... in teaching and admonishing the people...”

• Casey, 1976
"Preoccupied by logocentric concerns, philosophers have been consistently sceptical of imagining and its products. Their skepticism stems largely from a conception of philosophical thinking as image free. "

• Gilam 1986
quotes Ben Jonson’s attack on Inigo Jones Theatrical Spectacles,
”O Showes ! Showes ! Mighty Showes “
The Eloquence of Masques ! What need of Prose
Or Verse or sense t’Express Immortall you ?..”

• Glasgow, Narayanan and Chandrasekaran 1995
“There has been a tradition in psychology and philosophy that dismisses mental images as epiphenomenal, 1.e. that they do not causally participate in reasoning or problem solving.”



• F.Yates 1966
“To think is to speculate with images...” Giordano Bruno Shadows 1582. Yates traces the rivalry of two diametrically opposed methods of remembering - the Ramist approach of hierarchies of importance with no images, and the Renaissance occult method (Bruno) of generating images and learning to intensifying them, pp270



• Saul Steinberg,
"Drawing is a way of reasoning on paper." from Harold Rosenberg, Saul Steinberg.

• Alfed Hitchcock, film director, article in Stage, July 1936
“There is not enough visualizing done in [film] studios, and instead far too much writing. People take a sheet of paper and scrawl down a load of dialogue and instructions, and call that a day’s work. It leads them nowhere. There is also a growing habit of reading a film script by the dialogue alone. I deplore this method, this lazy neglect of the action, this lack of reading action in a film story or, if you like it, this ability to visualize.” quoted in Sidney Gottlieb, Hitchcock on Hitchcock, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1995, the original title of Hitchcock’s article was “Close Your Eyes and Visualize !”

• Rudyard Kipling, Something of Myself Penguin 1988 (first published 1936)
“My office work had taught me to think out a notion in detail, pack it away in my head, and work on it by snatches in any surroundings. The lurch and surge of the old horse-drawn buses made a luxurious cradle for such ruminations. Bit by bit, my original notion grew into a vast, vague conspectus - Army and Navy Stores list if you like - of the whole sweep and meaning of things and effort and origins throughout the Empire. I visualised it as I do most ideas, in the shape of a semi-circle of buildings and temples projecting out into a sea - of dreams .”

• Bishop George Berkeley, 1710
“28. I find I can excite ideas in my mind at pleasure , and vary and shift the scene as oft as I think fit. It is no more than willing, and straightway this or that idea arises in my fancy; and by the same power it is obliterated and makes way for another. This making and unmaking of ideas doth very properly denominate the mind active. This much is certain and grounded on experience : but when we talk of unthinking agents, or exciting ideas exclusive of Volition, we only amuse ourselves with words.
29. But, whatever power I may have over my own thoughts, I find the ideas actually perceived by Sense have not a like dependence on my will. When in broad sunlight I open my eyes it is not in my power to choose whether I shall see or no, or determine what particular objects shall present themselves to my view: and so likewise to the hearing and other senses, the ideas imprinted on them are not creatures of my will. There is therefore some other Will or Spirit that produces them.
30. The ideas of Sense are more strong, lively, and distinct than those of the Imagination; they have likewise a steadiness, order, and coherence, and are not excited at random, as those which the effects of human wills often are, but in a regular train or series - the admirable connection whereof sufficiently testifies the Wisdom and benevolence of its Author. Now the set rules or established methods wherein the Mind we depend on excites in us the ideas of Sense, are called the laws of nature; and these we learn by experience, which teaches us that such and such ideas are attended with such and such other ideas, in the ordinary course of things.”

• John Cheever Bullet Park Vintage London 1992 (first written 1969) see also his published journals and letters. Spare and observant American author writing for The New Yorker. See movie after his story The Swimmer with Burt Lancaster.
The sudden attacks of melancholia. “My best defence, my only defence was to cover my head with a pillow and and summon up those images that represented for me the excellence and beauty I had lost. The first of these was a mountain - it was obviously Killimanjaro. The summit was a perfect snow-covered cone, lighted by a passing glow. I saw the mountain a thousand times - I begged to see it - and as I grew more familiar with it I saw the fire of a primitive village at its base. The vision dated, I guess, from the bronze of the iron age. Next in frequency I saw a fortified medieval town. It could have been Mt Saint-Michel or Orvieto or the grand lamasery in Tibet, but the image of the walled town, like the snow-covered mountain, seemed to represent beauty, enthusiasm, and love. I also saw less frequently and less successfully, a river with grassy banks. I guessed these were the Elysian Fields although I found them difficult to arrive at and at one point it seemed to me that a railroad track or a thruway had destroyed the beauty of the place.”


Of Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus, published in Austria in 1921 and the UK in 1922.
Anthony Quinton, in Brian Magee’s Men of Ideas OUP Oxford 1978 speaks of LW
“The first thing he said the most fundamental doctrine propounded in the Tractatus, is that propositions are pictures. That is not put forward as a metaphorical description, a way of saying somewhat more graphically that propositions represent the world. He took the claim that propositions were pictures very, very seriously. He kept insisting that they were literally pictures. And this leads to a second doctrine that pictures have elements that correspond to the scene they picture. Propositions are essentially composite things, as is shown in sentences which are made of different words : the proposition is made of words functioning as names, and the names correspond directly to the objects which enter into the fact - the names are arranged in the sentence as the objects are arranged in the fact. Attached to this is the view that the world, if it is to be capable of being represented in language must be an arrangement or an array of objects which have various possibilities of being combined with one another. What actually is the case is the way those objects are arranged. That has the consequence that the essential meaningful content of discourse - of language that is put to the really crucial use of which language can be put - is its picturing the facts that constitute the world.... Wittgenstein never gives any examples of these fundamental pictorial propositions - perhaps none of the propositions we utter in everyday life would be examples. But his requirement that if language is to be meaningful it must have a definite sense , and that this definite sense consists in its performing an essentially pictorial task, this for him necessitates that every genuine proposition , even if it is not a single picture, must, if it is to be meaningful, be a vast complex, a conjunction, of pictures.”


“In contemporary research on human cognition, topics such as retrieving memories, generating images, and solving problems have typically been explored in what are essentially non-creative contexts. Being creative is one of the most important things that a person can do, yet there is little one can actually learn, about creativity from reading the current cognitive literature. Indeed, if a person were to ask “What can I do to act more creatively ?” few answers could be found in most of the cognitive studies that have been conducted up to now.” from Finke Ward Smith 1992 p.4


“ “involves the generation and experience of ideas and products that go beyond what is currently known; however we view this property as necessary but not sufficient. ... the imagination also involves cognitive activity directed at some goal...”
the context taken for Finke Ward Smith 1992 p.114


The poet Coleridge observes two different kinds of Imagination,
“The IMAGINATION, then, I consider either as primary, or secondary. The primary IMAGINATION I hold to be the living Power and prime Agent of all human Perception, and as a repetition of a finite mind of the eternal act of creation in the infinite I AM. The secondary imagination I consider an echo of the former, co-existing with the conscious will, yet still as identical with with the primary in the kind of its agency, and differing only in degree, and in the mode of its operation. It dissolves, diffuses, dissipates, in order to re-create; or, where this process is rendered impossible, yet still at all events it struggles to idealize and to unify. It is essentially vital, even as all objects (as objects) are essentially fixed and dead.
FANCY, on the contrary, has no other counters to play with, but fixities and definites. The Fancy is indeed no other than a mode of memory emancipated from the order of time and space ; while it is blended with, and modified by that empirical phenomenon of the will, which we expreess by the word CHOICE . But equally with the ordinary memory the FANCY must receive all its materials from the law of association...”STC from BIOGRAPHIA LITERARIA CHAPTER XIII



“ I have only to shut my eyes to feel how ignorant I am whence these forms and coloured forms, and colours distinguishable beyond what I can distinguish, derive their birth. These varying and infinite co-present colours, what are they ? I ask to what do they belong in my waking remembrance ? and almost always never receive an answer. Only I perceive and know thatwhatever I change, in any part of me, produces some change in these eye-spectra; as, for,instance, if I press my legs or change sides.”
Samuel Taylor Coleridge December 19th, 1803, from Anime Poeta,


“Kekule made his fundamental discovery in organic chemistry having had a dream image in which a snake was coiled in such a way as to represent the molecular structure of benzine. Faraday claimed to have visualised lines of force that emanated from electric and magnetic sources, resulting in the modern conception of electromagnetic fields. Tesla reported that he could determine how well a machine would work by mentally ‘running’ it in his mind. Feynman claimed to have used visual images in thinking about interactions among elementary particles, which led to the development of Feynman Diagrams...” from Finke Ward Smith 1992 p.45

“one of the reasons that imagery can be so effective in problem solving is that in constructing visual representations of a problem, key features often emerge that reveal a simple or obvious solution...”from Finke Ward Smith 1992 p. 175



“By handling mundane tasks, a computer can allow a person to devote more effort to creative endeavours. In addition, its capacity for combining large amounts of information makes it an ideal device for facilitating creative cognition, especially in cases where the information would overload a person’s creative capacity.”
from Finke Ward Smith 1992 p.202


• In what ways do mental images differ from photographs ?
• Are there people who have a greater ability than other to create/transform /synthesise mental images?
• What is the significance of the above texts for the way you create a database of information on screen ?