The first problem with closure isn’t a direct one, but a tendency of the way our culture treats graphic images as a whole. As a topic, it also happens to nicely correspond to my new article up at comixpedia:
Assumption #1: Artistic Freedom
In line with an “Art” perspective, there is a tacit assumption that “anything goes” with regards to graphic creations. Because “Art” is supposed to be about innovation and interpretation, anything visual is regarded as free from constraints of any sort. This is why transitional approaches like McCloud’s allow for a “non-sequitur” transition, because it’s a catch-all for any panel-to-panel relationship that might seem odd.
Closure, as an idea, allows for this sort of “anything goes” freedom, because it only involves one-to-one panel relationships. Since only two panels are looked at, it escapes the types of constraints posed by an approach that focuses on the relationship of multiple panels to each other.
Of course, if our minds are involved at all, then there must be constraints. How could the mind function without them! Even given the Art perspective, constraints aren’t easy to find anyways because people tend not to find them unless they are broken. And if constraints exist to make people make sense, it usually means that they aren’t broken all too often in daily use.
This is also a concern about the difference between the understanding and interpretation positions that I mentioned in my last post. As cognitively wrong something might seem at a base level of understanding, we can still consciously give explanations for how it might make sense under the right “interpretation.” Again, the trouble comes from thinking these are the same thing.
All this concern about “mind” leads to the next underlying assumption though, which will be discussed in my next post…