Friday, 19 October 2012

native mark-up language or cadence and marshalling

I have mused before on the exacting, formal language and grammar of heraldry (Heraldik), wonderfully medieval words and painstakingly florid descriptions in a tradition frozen and not liable to relaxing in rules and terminology due to the fact that such detailed and consistent instructions were necessary since there was no other way of transmitting an image, a coat-of-arms, short of recreating in full, with at least a sketch if not wholly with expensive tinctures and gilt. It is strange to think of pictures and impressions exclusively conjured up by the imagination and not communicated directly and I suppose it would be strange for our ancestors to experience anything otherwise. The economy of heraldry reminds me of a passage from A Canticle for Leibowitz when a monk depletes the cloister’s supply of blue tint faithfully reproducing a blue-print (Grundriss) and regrets later the waste, not realizing what was the cogent matter being conveyed with the floor-plan. All elements and attributes in blazons, on the other hand, have symbolic meanings. In adding a caption, however, even when not confined to a limited amount of characters, it’s always a choice about what details, style, emotion, likeness to focus on. I wonder if input and interface will progress to the point where one can summon up a picture with the imperfections of memory or the faulty conception of a non-artist. How many images have that same fimbriation in the dark clouds being pushed aside, and when inarticulate demands are materialized, how many chances for finding something new, different or tangential would be missed? Focusing on certain criteria, would we then miss the bigger picture and how style, likeness, nostalgia and influence hang together?