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 >>> 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)
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Latour - Pasteur:
An examination of the establishment of evidence considering the mentioned example of Latour’s analysis of Pasteur’s constitution of evidential proof can be very helpful, even though it is settled in the 19th century. Latour enables us to see the irrationality of the hypothesis, when he refuses to accept scientific testing as an act of pure knowledge production. J. Hunt describes the interference of power and proof and the entanglement within the fabrication of concrete, visible evidence to establish the real on its own terms.[7] The creation of a proof is problematic in Latour’s eyes as he enmeshes the slight, but unconscious perception of the whole subtle construction within its own webs. The constant endangering of dissolution through its own recognition brings with it the demand for readable confirmation. This fact evolves also on the level of a further alienation of vision due to enhancing devices in almost every field. The production of sight/vision as applied to machinic and technological devices alters profoundly the way how reality and thereby ‘truth’ are constructed.
It is quite clear that technological processes involved in transmission of data are not neutral. As they initiate new modes of consumption, they also influence experiences of embodiment and this reflection leads back to a change in the codes of representation used within the field. Here we are at the very core of the mutable signification of the represented information.
Scientific imaginary, which depicts our world-view up to a high degree, increasingly developed into abstract visualisation.

The usage of underlying patterns and established methods to create visibility as evidence is quite common within the field of scientific research, as ‘laboratories are excellent sites in which to understand the production of certainty’.[8]
This means it is the nature of the scientific image that it only can be read in a chain or flow, and trough a predefined code. Due to this fact there is no possibility of a clear interpretation, when it stands for itself. The scientific image has no outside referent and is no mere representation. Instead, similar to scientific texts, it speaks of a referent present in itself, carrying its own verification within. Following this logic it simultaneously establishes an inside structure as a self-centred construction of the interpretation of the perceived. As described above, visibility can be considered as a constitution within its own, but it is still regarded as transparency of sight and thus instantaneously gets connected to higher powers or at least objectivity. Technical sight today, which in many cases was first developed for the military purpose of the more powerful is again transporting this intention and thus equally becomes attached to the unstable creation of knowledge. Like the quote of I.Hacking [9] suggests, that ‘if content is what we can see, and form is what we cannot, but which determines the possibilities of what we can see, we have a new cause to worry about weapons research’. So yet the question who has access and who interprets the images is important.'

[7] in Paranoia within Reason, Hunt, J., p.26
[8] Pandora's Hope, Latour, B., p.30
[9] in Paranoia within Reason, Fortun, M., p.98

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pre strike - post strike


tv transmission

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