Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Storytelling images - imagination or visual?

A group of us were just discussing what the difference would be telling a story with input from an individual's imagination as compared to telling a story based on visual input as from a video. I would imagine that they would be quite different outcomes as some academics have found that the visual generally trumps everything else. In other words, what we have viewed becomes cemented in our story imaging.

I once told the story of when Saul, a.k.a. Paul became blind on the way to Damascus. After finishing the story, some of the audience asked why I left certain details. I tried to think what I left out and couldn't remember what I might've missed. So I asked, and they responded that I left out the part about him falling off of his horse. I couldn't remember that being part of the written story. Storytellers do omit certain details depending on what they want to focus on. But, I honestly couldn't remember anything to do with a horse in this story, especially Saul falling off one. It turns out that in Caravaggio's (1601) painting of this scene, Saul is on his back looking up, and on the left is a horse, presumably the one he rode and fell from. This audience knew this story well, but still believed that there was a horse in it somewhere. I reflected and thought that this is a good example of the visual trumping everything else.