thinking about the deictic properties of the indefinite article so often found in image captions, especially in a machine learning context—e.g. it's almost always something like "a boat is in the water," not "this/that/the boat..." (or, you know, "my boat," "someone else's boat," etc.). demonstrates the extent to which image captioning as an activity assumes & enforces a kind of physical, temporal and social decontextualization of images—neither captionist nor viewer are "present" in the process

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@aparrish Do you feel differently about mastodon image descriptions? I find if I write these as "the magpie shouts Heck!" I feel like it raises questions - what magpie? Are we supposed to recognize it? While "a magpie shouts Heck!" just describes what is in the image with as much or as little context as looking at the image provides.

@anne I should be clear that I don't think physical, temporal and social decontextualization of the image is a priori a bad thing! and it's probably necessary to some extent when describing images (especially for accessibility purposes) in a medium like this that is already likewise decontextualized. I just thought it was interesting to note, and wanted to think about other ways that images are described (and can be described) in different contexts and for different purposes

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