[ISEA98] Panel: Gene Benyhill – Symbols, Pictures and Signs: Social and Psychological Meaning

Panel Statement

Panel: Visual Languages

Symbols give meaning and order to the universe as we know it. The simple shapes of the cross or X, triangle, circle and square emerge as symbols with applications to the sun, moon, stars and the tree. These images represent and transfer social and psychological meaning. They frequently combine the practical and spiritual. Many alphabets are made up of a series of circles, squares, crosses and triangles, born out of the ancient pictographs, which was the first attempt at written communication. These basic symbols still prevail as contemporary logos as they carry significant innate meanings related to wholeness, completion, harmony, and security. The logo/symbol can be realistic or abstract, or a combination. Abstract forms can often evoke a much greater emotional response than realism.

Humans think in analogies and metaphors; symbolizing can be the visual expression. Abstracted application means that the created symbol represents an object or thing. Visual abstraction is needed to expres our inner and outer environments as they combine, integrate, take on new meanings. People will always be drawn to the aesthetic and vulnerable to its power. Therefore, consciousness of graphic symbolism is in our future, and society should be aware of what is changing our lives.

  • Gene Benyhill, Berryhill Productions, California, USA