Preliminary workshop for Visual Literacy.
CPK Conference Room. [summary]

Workshop for Visual Literacy

Szczecin (PL)
May 18th 2017


The workshop was conducted by Pavel Mrkus and Daniel Hanzlik from the Faculty of Art and Design at Jan Evangelista Purkyne University in Usti nad Labem (CZ).  Both artists by their profession introduced their artistic works and their creative strategies. They referred to the complexity of a city, city signs, and informational technologies used in contemporary society within their works. They showed several examples of how to possibly draw inspirations and concepts from just walking around the city and connecting various points together. The strategies ranged from the contrasts: opposite meanings of similar visually based signage in the streets, unveiling the historical layers in a building's memories, ambiguity in meanings of images or signs, differences between presentations of the locality in the ideal "retouched" imagery and its real actual situation, etc.
The elementary use of various composition methods of taking pictures in ways of framing and creating meaning was explained.
The participants – mostly scholars, but also other researchers in the project – were invited to walk around the city and become artists for the moment. They were instructed to photograph pairs of pictures with their own expressions of various contrasting meanings they can find. 
In the end all the images were collected, presented, and discussed from the artistic points of view, with focus on their meaning, composition, and the participants’ intentions. A very wide range of approaches on how to read the city appeared, from historical to architectural and graphical misunderstandings in the city space, to clearly directive, commercial, and political unfair attacks on the citizen. The creative process of art became a great experience for everybody and helped them to unveil their imagination not only as artists or scholars, but as careful viewers in general.


- Recognize the differences between artistic, documentary, and commercial approaches in the creation of images
- Understand the strategies of artists in reading and compositing their artworks in the context of working within the frame of a city
- Testing the environment of the city as an inspirational pool of creativity
- Achieve the basic skills and open a range of possibilities in seeing the living environment as a resource for creation
- Provide the participants with unexpected and unusual possibilities of combinations within the city and its historical and social layers
- Seeing the larger context of history through a detail
- Motivate the participants to improve and consider their own ways of taking photographic images as essential part of the research project

- Number of series of paired photographic images taken during the workshop (uploaded to Basecamp)
- Discussion about the images taken and their possible reading directions in context of contemporary art

Pavel Mrkus