Aesthetical Operativity A Critical Approach to Visual Literacy with and Beyond Nelson Goodman’s Theory of Notation

By David Magnus

The term visual literacy has been used in numerous fields of research for almost half a century. Despite its ›interdisciplinary career‹ the different approaches share a pedagogical tendency which has somewhat informed this notion since the Rochester Conference in 1969 at which it was first discussed. The present paper, however, will leave aside the educational aspect in order to give way to an inquiry from the perspective of contemporary writing theories that set their focus on the iconic potential of notations. A reconstruction of the main aspects of Nelson Goodman’s theory of notation, which has been enthusiastically adopted by several contemporary authors will be followed by an account of the epistemological understanding of what has been lately described as notational iconicity. This approach shall be enriched by a terminological supplement capable to meet the requirements of pictorially designed notations. The term proposed in this paper is aesthetical operativity and its explanation will be based on the pictorial music notation of the Austrian-Greek composer Anestis Logothetis.