Jonathan Crary: Techniques of the Observer: On Vision and Modernity in the Nineteenth Century (1990–) [EN, HU, ES]

1 June 2014, dusan

In Techniques of the Observer Jonathan Crary provides a dramatically new perspective on the visual culture of the nineteenth century, reassessing problems of both visual modernism and social modernity.

Inverting conventional approaches, Crary considers the problem of visuality not through the study of art works and images, but by analyzing the historical construction of the observer. He insists that the problems of vision are inseparable from the operation of social power and examines how, beginning in the 1820s, the observer became the site of new discourses and practices that situated vision within the body as a physiological event. Alongside the sudden appearance of physiological optics, Crary points out, theories and models of “subjective vision” were developed that gave the observer a new autonomy and productivity while simultaneously allowing new forms of control and standardization of vision.

Crary examines a range of diverse work in philosophy, in the empirical sciences, and in the elements of an emerging mass visual culture. He discusses at length the significance of optical apparatuses such as the stereoscope and of precinematic devices, detailing how they were the product of new physiological knowledge. He also shows how these forms of mass culture, usually labeled as “realist,” were in fact based on abstract models of vision, and he suggests that mimetic or perspectival notions of vision and representation were initially abandoned in the first half of the nineteenth century within a variety of powerful institutions and discourses, well before the modernist painting of the 1870s and 1880s.

Publisher MIT Press, 1990
ISBN 0262031698
171 pages
via De Artes y Pasiones

Publisher (EN)

Techniques of the Observer: On Vision and Modernity in the Nineteenth Century (English, 1990, no OCR, low quality images)
A megfigyelő módszerei. Látás és modernitás a 19. században (Hungarian, trans. Ágnes Lukács, 1999, no OCR)
Las técnicas del observador: visión y modernidad en el siglo XIX (Spanish, trans. Fernando López García, 2008)

Nikolaus Gansterer (ed.): Drawing A Hypothesis: Figures of Thought (2011)

29 March 2014, dusan

Drawing a Hypothesis is a reader on the ontology of forms of visualizations and on the development of the diagrammatic view and its use in contemporary art, science and theory. In a process of exchange with artists and scientists, Nikolaus Gansterer reveals drawing as a media of research enabling the emergence of new narratives and ideas by tracing the speculative potential of diagrams. Based on a discursive analysis of found figures with the artists’ own diagrammatic maps and models, the invited authors create unique correlations between thinking and drawing. Due to its ability to mediate between perception and reflection, drawing proves to be one of the most basic instruments of scientific and artistic practice, and plays an essential role in the production and communication of knowledge. The book is a rich compendium of figures of thought, which moves from scientific representation through artistic interpretation and vice versa.

Translation: Veronica Buckley, Aileen Derieg
Publisher Springer, 2011
Edition Angewandte
ISBN 3709108020, 9783709108024
352 pages

Review (Mark Robert Doyle)
Review (Gert Hasenhuetl, in German)

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Nelson Goodman: Ways of Worldmaking (1978–) [EN, ES, CZ, CR]

24 March 2014, dusan

“A major thesis of this book is that the arts must be taken no less seriously than the sciences as modes of discovery, creation, and enlargement of knowledge in the broad sense of advancement of the understanding, and thus that the philosophy of art should be conceived as an integral part of metaphysics and epistemology.” (p 102)

Publisher Hackett Publishing, Indianapolis, 1978
ISBN 0915144514, 9780915144518
148 pages

Review (Hilary Putnam, Journal of Philosophy, 1979)
Review (W. Charlton, The Philosophical Quarterly, 1980)
Review (Robert Howell, The Philosophical Review, 1982)
Review (Jay F. Rosenberg, Noûs, 1982)
Review (Jon W. Sharer, Leonardo, 1981)
Preface to an Italian edition (Achille C. Varzi, 2008, in Italian)
Commentary (Xavier de Donato-Rodríguez, Theoria, 2009)
Commentary (Pierre-André Huglo, Philopsis, 2012, in French)
Commentary on Goodman’s aesthetics (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

Ways of Worldmaking (English, 1978), View online (HTML)
Ways of Worldmaking (English, UK edition by Harvester Press, 1978)
Maneras de hacer mundos (Spanish, trans. Carlos Thiebaut, 1990, no OCR)
Způsoby světatvorby (Czech, trans. Vlastimil Zuska, 1996, first 4 chapters, HTML)
Načini svjetotvorstva (Croatian, trans. Damjan Lalović, 2008)

Jacques Rancière: Aisthesis: Scenes from the Aesthetic Regime of Art (2011/2013)

24 November 2013, dusan

Rancière’s magnum opus on the aesthetic.

Composed in a series of scenes, Aisthesis–Rancière’s definitive statement on the aesthetic–takes its reader from Dresden in 1764 to New York in 1941. Along the way, we view the Belvedere Torso with Winckelmann, accompany Hegel to the museum and Mallarmé to the Folies-Bergère, attend a lecture by Emerson, visit exhibitions in Paris and New York, factories in Berlin, and film sets in Moscow and Hollywood. Rancière uses these sites and events—some famous, others forgotten—to ask what becomes art and what comes of it. He shows how a regime of artistic perception and interpretation was constituted and transformed by erasing the specificities of the different arts, as well as the borders that separated them from ordinary experience. This incisive study provides a history of artistic modernity far removed from the conventional postures of modernism.

First published as Aisthesis : Scènes du régime esthétique de l’art, Éditions Galilée, 2011
Translated by Zakir Paul
Publisher Verso Books, 2013
ISBN 1781680892, 9781781680896
304 pages
via falsedeity

Review (Hal Foster, London Review of Books)
Review (Joseph Tanke, Los Angeles Review of Books)
Review (Marc Farrant, The New Inquiry)
Review (Ali Alizadeh, Sydney Review of Books)
Roundtable discussion with Rancière at Columbia (video, 43 min)
Selected interviews and reviews (in French)

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Brian Rotman: Becoming Beside Ourselves: The Alphabet, Ghosts, and Distributed Human Being (2008)

13 October 2013, dusan

Becoming Beside Ourselves continues the investigation that the renowned cultural theorist and mathematician Brian Rotman began in his previous books Signifying Nothing and Ad Infinitum…The Ghost in Turing’s Machine: exploring certain signs and the conceptual innovations and subjectivities that they facilitate or foreclose. In Becoming Beside Ourselves, Rotman turns his attention to alphabetic writing or the inscription of spoken language. Contending that all media configure what they mediate, he maintains that alphabetic writing has long served as the West’s dominant cognitive technology. Its logic and limitations have shaped thought and affect from its inception until the present. Now its grip on Western consciousness is giving way to virtual technologies and networked media, which are reconfiguring human subjectivity just as alphabetic texts have done for millennia.

Alphabetic texts do not convey the bodily gestures of human speech: the hesitations, silences, and changes of pitch that infuse spoken language with affect. Rotman suggests that by removing the body from communication, alphabetic texts enable belief in singular, disembodied, authoritative forms of being such as God and the psyche. He argues that while disembodied agencies are credible and real to “lettered selves,” they are increasingly incompatible with selves and subjectivities formed in relation to new virtual technologies and networked media. Digital motion-capture technologies are restoring gesture and even touch to a prominent role in communication. Parallel computing is challenging the linear thought patterns and ideas of singularity facilitated by alphabetic language. Barriers between self and other are breaking down as the networked self is traversed by other selves to become multiple and distributed, formed through many actions and perceptions at once. The digital self is going plural, becoming beside itself.

With a Foreword by Timothy Lenoir
Publisher Duke University Press, 2008
ISBN 0822342006, 9780822342007
176 pages

Commentary (Ben Pritchett, Mute)
Review (Stevan Harnad, Times Literary Supplement)

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