Stamatia Portanova: Moving without a Body: Digital Philosophy and Choreographic Thoughts (2013)

26 February 2015, dusan

“Digital technologies offer the possibility of capturing, storing, and manipulating movement, abstracting it from the body and transforming it into numerical information. In Moving without a Body, Stamatia Portanova considers what really happens when the physicality of movement is translated into a numerical code by a technological system. Drawing on the radical empiricism of Gilles Deleuze and Alfred North Whitehead, she argues that this does not amount to a technical assessment of software’s capacity to record motion but requires a philosophical rethinking of what movement itself is, or can become.

Discussing the development of different audiovisual tools and the shift from analog to digital, she focuses on some choreographic realizations of this evolution, including works by Loie Fuller and Merce Cunningham. Throughout, Portanova considers these technologies and dances as ways to think—rather than just perform or perceive—movement. She distinguishes the choreographic thought from the performance: a body performs a movement, and a mind thinks or choreographs a dance. Similarly, she sees the move from analog to digital as a shift in conception rather than simply in technical realization. Analyzing choreographic technologies for their capacity to redesign the way movement is thought, Moving without a Body offers an ambitiously conceived reflection on the ontological implications of the encounter between movement and technological systems.”

Publisher MIT Press, 2013
Technologies of Lived Abstraction series
ISBN 0262018926, 9780262018920
200 pages

Reviews: Donnarumma (Mute, 2014), Murphy (Afterimage, 2014), Thain (Digicult).


PDF (11 MB)

Hubert Damisch: The Origin of Perspective (1987–) [EN, CR]

24 January 2015, dusan

“In part a response to Panofsky’s Perspective as Symbolic Form, The Origin of Perspective is much more. In France it is considered one of the most important works of art history to have appeared in the last twenty years. With the exception of Michel Foucault’s analysis of Las Meninas, it is perhaps the first time a structuralist method such as the one developed by Claude Lévi-Strauss in The Way of the Masks has been thoroughly and convincingly applied to Western art.

The task Damisch has set for himself is to refute both the positivist critics, whose approach makes up the bulk of perspective studies and is based on a complete repression of Panofsky’s early work, and the current pseudo-avant-gardist position (whether in the field of cinema studies or in literary criticism), which tends to disregard facts and theoretical analysis. Damisch argues that if a theoretical analysis of perspective is possible, using all the tools of structuralist semiotics, it is only possible in the context of a close look at its appearance in history, beginning with the details of the ‘invention’ of perspective.”

Originally published in French as L’Origine de la perspective, Flammarion, Paris, 1987.

Translated by John Goodman
Publisher MIT Press, 1994
ISBN 0262041391, 9780262041393
477 pages

Review: Wood (The Art Bulletin, 1995).
Commentary: Iversen (Oxford Art Journal, 2005).

WorldCat (EN)

The Origin of Perspective (English, 1994, chapter 14 missing, 24 MB, no OCR)
Porijeklo perspektive (Croatian, trans. Zlatko Wurzberg, 2006, added on 2018-7-8)

The Optics of Ibn Al-Haytham, Books I–III: On Direct Vision (c1028-38/1989)

22 August 2014, dusan

This is the first English translation of first three out of the 7 volumes of the fundamental work on optics by the medieval Arab scientist Ibn al-Haitham or Alhazen (965–c1039). His book exerted a great influence upon science through Witelo, Roger Bacon, Peckham and Kepler. Alhazen investigated many particular cases of reflection and refraction, and drew attention to the light-ray’s property of retracing its path when reversed. He was the first to give a detailed description of the human eye and to study binocular vision. Certain ophthalmological terms originated from the Latin translation of Alhazen’s Arabic text, e.g. retina and cornea.

The Book of Optics (Kitāb al-Manāẓir, كتاب المناظر) presented experimentally founded arguments against the widely held extramission theory of vision (as held by Euclid in his Optica) and in favour of intromission theory, as supported by thinkers such as Aristotle, the now accepted model that vision takes place by light entering the eye.

Part 1 contains the translation; Part 2 an introduction, commentary, Arabic-Latin glossaries, concordance, bibliography, and indices.

Edition of the Arabic text, edited by A. I. Sabra, was published by National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters, Kuwait, in 1983 (Books I-III) and 2002 (Books IV-V). Sabra’s translation of the latter has not yet been published.

Translated with Introduction and Commentary by A. I. Sabra
Publisher The Warburg Institute, University of London, London, 1989
Studies of the Warburg Institute, 40/1-2
ISBN 0854810722, 9780854810727
367 and 246 pages, 4 plates (following p. 42 in Part 2)

Review (Alexander Jones, Isis, 1991)
Review (George Saliba, Speculum, 1992)

Publisher (WI)
Publisher (SAS)

PDF (pp xvi-xix of Part 2 missing; 18 MB)

Latin translation:
Liber de aspectiibus et vocatur prospectiva (digital facsimile of Latin translation of all 7 volumes, manuscript, Ms 1393)
Opticae thesaurus (edition of the Latin translation by Friedrich Risner, 1572;

See also the first episode of Simon Schaeffer’s 2004 BBC documentary series Light Fantastic, “Let There Be Light”, where he discusses Alhazen and others.