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THE 4FOLD VISION

If pictures are like sensory openings or perceptual structures, then looking at them is like putting on a new pair of spectacles or (more precisely) like opening your eyes. In other words, Blake's style, like that of any great artist, affects our vision: we start seeing vortices and arches and wave forms everywhere, in and out of Blake's pictures, just as we learn to see dark interiors from Rembrandt and storms from Turner.
        -W.J.T. Mitchell, Blake's Composite Art

In the art of William Blake, the number 4 seems to dominate as a schematic element of organization--in other words, Blake often organizes characters, objects and concepts/ideas into fourfold structures. The list of these quaternaries is so extensive that in A Blake Dictionary, S. Foster Damon is able to identify 26 Fourfold Correspondences in Jerusalem alone. Some examples are: Urthona, Luvah, Urizen and Tharmas (The Four Zoas); Sun, Moon, Stars, Earth (the 4 worlds); Imagination, Emotions, Reason, Senses (divisions of man), and so on.

W.J.T. Mitchell picks up on this fourfoldness in Blake's Composite Art and draws on it as a tool for investigating Blake's pictorial style. Mitchell identifies a pictorial schemata in Blake's art,  a fourfold vision which functions in three ways:

In formal terms, then, the function of Blake's schematic forms is to give structural consistency to his style; in expressive terms, it is his way of conveying his 'Fourfold Vision'--the world as sensed through all the gates of the body, not merely the eyes; and in rhetorical terms, it is a way of improving the sensual enjoyment of his spectators, designing visual illusions which continually demand and imply all the other senses in their structures.

Your goal in this project is to generate your own fourfold vision by filling in the slots of the 4Fold Schema below and linking them together as hypertext pages or nodes.

Directions:
1) Identify a primal scene in your life. This is not necessarily the primal scene of Freudian fame (the one in which a child observes his parents engaged in sexual intercourse). Rather, as discussed in class, this primal scene is a single moment in your life in which you experienced intense confusion and internal conflict. The best scene is one taken from childhood memories, but you may also draw on a more recent scene as long as, in both cases, it is a scene charged with intense emotional conflict. Write about the scene as descriptively as possible, trying to recall the exact setting, the mood, small details, etc.

2) Once you have chosen your primal scene,you will try to identify it with one of Blake's etchings from either The Marriage of Heaven and Hell or Songs of Innocence and Experience. You don't have to justify your decision immediately, therefore, you may choose according to instinct. What plate appeals to you visually? What's your favorite? The connection to your primal scene will come later when you concentrate more closely on the pictorial elements of the plate in order to decide why it is like your primal scene.

3) When you have identified the primal scene and chosen the plate, look for a pictorial element from Blake's schemata in both the primal scene and in the plate you have chosen (i.e., a circle, an arch, a vortex, etc.). You will draw on that schematic shape as a thread that will link together your hypertext project.

4) Once you have identified the scene, the Song, and the shape, allow these elements to "explode" by spreading them across the 4fold Schema pictured below. Fill in the slots of the schema, using your primal scene and your primal shape for guidance. The slots may be filled by using either images or texts. For example, you might want to use an image to fill the History slot, and a text to fill in Expertise. Or you may want to create more than one page for each of the slots, combining images and text. Some pages may be image only, some text only, and some a combination of the two. In selecting texts and images, you should consult the books and articles that we have studied in class, but you may also draw from other sources (i.e., television, magazines, web sites, etc.) as long as they fulfill the requirements of the slot.

The 4Fold Schema 
Personal History
World History
Pop Culture
Expertise/Discipline
-Primal Scene

-Historical moment 
-Social conflict
-Race, Gender, Class

-Favorite song, tv episode, film, etc.
-Keep it short. One scene, one song, etc.
-Object of study
-One theory, one concept, one philosophy

 

5) Organize all of these elements into a hyperlinked project, paying close attention to your method of linking. The manner in which you combine these elements is up to you. Feel free to link to sites outside of your project as well (i.e., sites related to your 4Fold vision which appear elsewhere on the web). What you are looking for is co-incedences between the various slots, textual puns, visual puns, underlying themes, etc. In this project, you shouldn't try to explain what themes you have discovered--show them by using links and other web design elements (tables, frames, mouseover images, etc.).

The project will be graded according to the following categories:

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