l seeing things l >>>

 >>> The Demand of Visibility within Knowledge Production > > >


>> introduction
       short overview

>> seeing things/

>> PCM/
       'Visibility is a trap'

>> Latour - Pasteur/
       the scientific image

>> Abstraction/
       the paradox status
        of the visual abstract

>> Conclusion/
       outlining along two         strings


>>    Print entire text

        (4 pages)
        pdf  or  .rtf


>>  movies
        (select the format)

       1. tv war coverage
        > mov
        > wmv

       2. this excerpt had
           been transmitted
           in two versions:

           a pixelated one

        > mov
        > wmv

           and a clear one
        > mov
        > wmv

The complications coming with abstraction are quite obvious when ‘in the war of cameras, radar and sensors against S.Hussein only one side can see’[10], the same occurred in the ‘nintendo-images von Belgrade’[11] , Kabul ... or to remember the images of the ‘operational strokes’ of gulf-war in 1991: ‘at certain moments even colour was abstracted from the scene, leaving the field entirely to line and light: first, the grid and coordinate numbers that turned the television screens of tens of millions into a bomb-sight; then, the blossoming brilliance that over-whelmed the video camera’s sensors and wiped the screen clean - an ultimate self-censoring erasure, in which destruction veiled itself. The more realistic images - that is, the minimally less abstract images –came even later.'[12]

Abstraction, which needs interpretation - here the whole myth about technological sight as delivering scientific images, and thus objectivity, is implemented. On a different level, but with similar intentional purpose operate the hardly recognizable videos of bin Laden or the Djerba incident. Again, like in smart bomb transmissions the simple layering of numbers, letters and other signs allow or better suggest readability, which but is highly predefined. (Also the presentation of C.Powell at the UNO in February 03 to establish evidence for a war on Iraq has to be mentioned here.)

This abstraction corresponds perfectly to the increasing difficulty evolving from the paradox status of scientific images. In fact they can not be read without scientific interpretation, standing alone for themselves they have no referent, no meaning - they are no ‘pure representations’.[13] Similar comments about the undetermination of satellite transmissions are given by L.Parks, when she explains her expression of codes of orbital sight and the usually involved habits of power.
‘To have another meaning than that of their own omniscience satellite-images have to be taken into discursive exchange. .. Instead of concentrating on a seemingly satellite-panoptism, one could ask, how the sight of satellites has been used to produce codes of an orbital visuality.’[14] Already these few examples show, that the defining criteria of the visual abstract image are going to be transformed onto almost any material of visualisation, especially in the area of mass media. It even becomes more evident if we take a look at the devices employed and the methods applied. Leading to a evident connection of the dictate of dominant cultural forms of the west, which still define diverse cultural representation and identity from this predefined/coded material or better extremely centred point of view. Due to this fact is also the inherent restriction of possibilities of 'visible' self-definitions for other forms/cultures.

[10] Schnittstelle, Spangenberg, P.M.., p.207
[11] Imagineering, Terkessidis, M., p.120
[12] In/different Spaces, Burgin, V., p.231
[13] Icococlash, Latour, B., p.26, 67
[14] Imagineering, Parks, L., p.64,66, Interview with T.Holert

>>> click into the images to enlarge   

layered tv transmission

c.powell's UN presentation 05.02.2003

www publication of satellite image

tv transmission

> > > for the conference 'seeing things' at the University of Western Ontario, Canada; May 2nd - 4th/2003