Looking at the Blindspot: Towards a Material Hermeneutics of the Apparatus

This paper approaches the problematics of visibility and invisibility embodied by the apparatus, which is routinely treated as a latent presence, or blind spot, within the images that it produces. Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s discussion of the blind spot in perception offers a means of reconsidering the relationship between apparatus and image. Vilém Flusser’s category of ‘technical images’ will be considered in relation to the material hermeneutics of scientific imaging articulated by Don Ihde. These approaches will be applied to key examples that include contemporary scientific imaging of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) and the contingent astronomy of August Strindberg’s Celestographs (1894). These examples embody particular relations between apparatus and image that shed new light on imaging practices at the intersection of science and art.




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