Worlds of Vision
Thinking Geographically Through Comics
The spatial visuality of comics has received substantial attention from comics’ scholars and, more recently, from cultural and political geographers. These have shown how reading comics is an embodied, codified, learnt and culturally-situated activity. Viewer involvement takes place through the distinctive devices, vocabulary and grammar of comics: parts are observed while the whole is sensed and constructed. In this experimental academic comic, I explore how this active involvement might help orient critical geographical practices. Comics’ specific visuality makes readers labour to produce meaning, translating the spatiality of two-dimensional sequential images into four-dimensional narrative, what Dittmer has called ‘a map of time’ (2010).
Methodologically, I use détournement (Debord 1956) to build a visual argument that combines a text-based scholarly literature review with a limited corpus of pre-existing images taken from two recent popular Italian comics to tell a story. Reading between images, texts and gutters makes concrete the paradoxical materiality of words and discursivity of images, while building upon a purposefully limited visual corpus. This dialogue of images and words results in a call for an empathic geography, connecting bodies and experiences visually, suitable for representing a fragmented world built upon making sense of a diversity of viewpoints.
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