On 09-Sep-07, at 8:54 PM, Hassan Schroeder wrote:

Nick Gleitzman wrote:

Language is what we have as our primary tool of communication. There are others, of course - Rothko's paintings speak volumes (even if the man himself lets them speak, choosing enigmatic reservation about their meaning) - but to presume that because someone is blind, they can't understand the content of a visual image via a word-based description is incredibly (ahem) short- sighted. They're blind, not brain-dead. I'd suggest the shortcoming is not in their ability to understand an 'alt' description, but in your ability, Bob, to write one.

Perhaps then you (or anyone adhering to this view) can supply, as
an example, a useful description of the cited Rothko? Or maybe one
of Jackson Pollock's works? ('No. 5, 1948' might be good)

And since art is often intended to prompt an emotional reaction on
the part of the audience, write that description so the audience
has an opportunity to connect emotionally with the described work
without putting your own bias into it...

I undertook a small experiment. I went to wikipedia [1], and I looked at the description of the painting that you mentioned, with my hand covering the image.

I then looked at the image.

Now, I will be the first to admit that I have absolutely no clue, when it comes to 'interpreting art'. I don't 'understand' the painting (perhaps I'm not meant to seek understanding), I don't 'emotionally connect' with it...but at the end of my two-minute long experiment, this description:

'No. 5, 1948 is an abstract painting by Jackson Pollock (January 28, 1912 – August 11, 1956), an American painter known for his contributions to the abstract expressionist movement. The painting was done on a 8 x 4 feet sheet of fiberboard, with thick amounts of brown and yellow paint drizzled on top of it, forming a nest-like appearance',

helped me...not connect, not relate, but understand, at some, very basic, naive, intellectual level, what the nature of the work might be.

I then perhaps read up on 'Abstract Art', and then I'm more clued in? Finally, a an attempt to write out alt text on Jackson Pollock's No. 5, 1948:

'An abstract painting by Jackson Pollock, done on a 8 x 4 feet sheet of fiberboard, with thick amounts of brown and yellow paint drizzled on top of it, forming a nest-like appearance.'

So, while it _may or may not_ 'evoke an emotional response, I'd argue that there is some amount of 'data', that we can convey, even to/for users with visual disabilities - and exempting that data on an arbitrary assumption seems...premature.

In apologies for posting on a topic that I know nothing of,
 - Rahul.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No._5,_1948

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