Visual Cultures of Knowledge: History and Style of Technical Images (A Focus Gallery Course, part I)


Fall 2011


4th Floor Classroom


With the rising importance of the printing press, the introduction of the micro- and the telescope, and with revolutionary media like photography and digital computers, visualization has become an essential part of all modern fields of knowledge. This course focuses on visual artifacts and optical devices employed in various sciences that are usually considered to be "non-art," despite the fact that they betray the constitutive role of artistic techniques and media. The course is conceived as a survey based on selected case studies that range from radiographs and geological charts to microphotography, from computer technology to recent developments in nuclear physics or life sciences. It will serve as a laboratory with an ongoing research character: both for the exploration of this broad field of images and objects and for experimentation with multimedia based modes of display for the exhibition and publication. Students will be encouraged to connect the various types of scientific imagery with readings in Art History, Image Theory and History of Science and Technology. Excursions to explore scientific image resources of New York City are planned, and visitors from The Technical Image, a Berlin research group that explores the history and relationship of the arts and sciences, will come to speak to the class. Students interested in participating in the second, more curatorial course to be held in the spring of 2012 are expected to attend this course. 3 credits.