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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)
        pdf  or  .rtf


>>  movies
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       1. operational sight
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       2. pixelated sight
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        > wmv

      3. black sight
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In using the term ‘machinic vision’, J. Johnston describes it not that much as a simple seeing with or by means of machines - although it does presuppose this - as it is a decoded seeing, a becoming of perception in relation to machines that necessarily also involves a recoding [3]. Establishing the visible on the basis of information technology enmeshes necessarily a predefined code – a pattern – which constitutes a relation to the used technology. But the dependence on a more or less universal code, does not give any stable context, therefore the reliance in the function of abstraction of the entailed processes has great impact on the perceived. ’Information is not unframed knowledge but knowledge framed provisionally in unstable data structures.’[4]

In this regard suggestive connections appear to the notion of a 'paranoid' construction of the world made visible. ‘Then what ever can be more conspiratorial then a scientific device that deceives?’ J.Hunt asks and mentions a perfect example illustrating this with B.Latour's analysis of Pasteur. It shows instantaneously the creation of facts through measurement and weighing through instruments. But how can one look at something which only gets created by the act of looking?

This follows the logic of ‘seeing things’ as they are predefined through interpretation, implied in the assoziations of social reading and cultural devices. At this point the introduction of the paranoid-critical method can be used to open up productive channels between interpretation and theory, paranoia and identity, as J.Hunt explains.

Though what can be seen is a ‘question about who is allowed to look, to what purposes, and by what academic and state discourses it is legitimated. ... What the eye purportedly 'sees' is dictated to it by an entire set of beliefs and desires and by a set of coded languages and generic apparatuses.’[5] Following the same route P.Phelan writes that "Visibility is a trap ...; it summons surveillance and the law; it provokes voyeurism, fetishism, the colonialist/ imperial appetite for possession.”’[6]

Thus the inherent ambivalence of visibility gets partly revealed, as at the same time visibility/transparency usually is presumed to show the real intention of the seen object. It neglects the construction of the visible, like that actually only the known or the ‘evident’ can be seen. Returning after this short excursus it became clear that nowadays the construction and need of evidence is not only a necessity in the field of scientific vision evolving from the methods used, as equally through the produced amount of ongoing delegated and digitized visualisation.

[3] Machinic Vision, Kohnston, J., p.29
[4] The Imperial Archive, Richards, T., 1999
[5] The Visual Culture Reader, Rogoff, I., p.21,22
[6] performe or else, McKenzie, J., p.41

>>> click into the images to enlarge   

smart bomb sight

satellite image of bagdad with marks


ultrasound with heartbeat analysis

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