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Inadvertent ImagesA History of Photographic Apparitions$
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Peter Geimer

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226471877

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226471907.001.0001

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The “Optical Unconscious” of Photography

The “Optical Unconscious” of Photography

Chapter:
(p.170) 6 The “Optical Unconscious” of Photography
Source:
Inadvertent Images
Author(s):

Peter Geimer

, Gerrit Jackson
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226471907.003.0007

The interpretation of technical apparatuses as “artificial eyes” is as old as the history of visual media itself. These descriptions suggest a mindset that conceives technical media, and especially the ways in which they surpass the senses, along the lines of those senses and accordingly understands technologies as artificial amplifications or extensions of, or surrogates for, natural functions. This chapter considers the question of what “seeing” might even still mean in a world between visibility and invisibility, between message and noise. How was one to conceive of “rendering-visible” if doing so had become the mission of photographic implements that were not themselves capable of “seeing,” even though they allegedly operated in the depths of the invisible realm as the scientist’s “artificial retina”? Instead of serving as extensions media obeyed their own laws whose compatibility with natural perception was subject to major limitations.

Keywords:   artificial eye, perception, rendering-visible, seeing

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