18.487 imaging

From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty_at_KCL.AC.UK>
Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2005 22:14:01 +0000

               Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 18, No. 487.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                     Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu

   [1] From: Alan Sondheim <sondheim_at_panix.com> (14)
         Subject: Re: 18.482 imaging

   [2] From: lachance_at_origin.chass.utoronto.ca (Francois (132)
         Subject: Re: 18.482 imaging

         Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2005 07:10:23 +0000
         From: Alan Sondheim <sondheim_at_panix.com>
         Subject: Re: 18.482 imaging

On the other hand, see Jacques Hadamard, The Psychology of Invention in the
Mathematical Field, already decades old. It was published by Dover;
Hadamard's thesis is that even the 'doing' of mathematics is essentially
non-verbal, non-linguistic; there is extensive data in it, including
testimony by Einstein who talks about moving grey shapes. I know when I'm
programming or otherwise dealing with technical issues (which admittedly
I'm fairly much a novice), I never think in terms of code - again, only in
moving shapes around. The verbal/coded output comes much later in the game.
- Alan

nettext http://biblioteknett.no/alias/HJEMMESIDE/bjornmag/nettext/
WVU 2004 projects: http://www.as.wvu.edu/clcold/sondheim/
Trace projects http://trace.ntu.ac.uk/writers/sondheim/index.htm

         Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2005 07:11:15 +0000
         From: lachance_at_origin.chass.utoronto.ca (Francois Lachance)
         Subject: Re: 18.482 imaging

Many thanks to Jim Marchand for the equistely extensive response.

Just to clarify, my intent was to canvas opinions and ideas about how
digital imaging can serve content analysis. What I had in mind in
particular was the what could be called the "the line of gaze" or the
eye-contact (or lack thereof) between the figures depicted in an image.

In the interests of brevity, I omitted the stories that led to the posing
of the question. For those with time and inclination, here is a little
meander through some scholarship and through some exhibition notes.

The question is triggered by two encounters.


The Jacquard tapestries in Freda Guttman's exhibition Notes from the 20th:
_In Memoriam_ and Walter include a recontextualization of Klee's "Angelus
Novus". This rendition and in the particular manner in which is mounted
makes one return the ninth of Benjamin's Theses on the Philosophy of
History. The depicted angel doesn't quite look as if it's looking
backwards and indeed a rereading highligths the suggestiveness of
Benjamin's prose which indicates that the angel appears to be about to
turn away from something. It is not just having a reproduction of the
Klee painting at hand that leads to a reappraisal of the relations between
the angel from the painting, the angel from the excerpt from poem by
Scholem which Benjamin places as an epigraphy to the ninth thesis and the
angel caught in Benjamin's storytelling whose image is taken up again by
artists such as Laurie Anderson in her music. It is very much having a
partition over the reproduction -- Guttman places the tapestry as the
speaker screen in a refurbished radio (an older model from the period when
a radios were items of furniture) -- that guides the viewer to be
attentive to the position of the feet and the orientation of the eyes of
the depicted figure. Just what counts as backwards is very much a question
of "as though".

The Other Trigger

Lynne Pearce in Woman Image Text: Readings in Pre-Raphaelite Art and
Literature suggests that the figure depicted in John Everett Millais's
_Mariana_ is caught in a distinctive moment: "Mariana is presenting her
body for inspection, while she gazes desirously into the eyes of the
Archangel Gabriel represented in the stained glass." Curious to observe if
the gaze is returned, one turns to plate three to inspect the
reproduction. Inclusive. Indeed it is difficult to confirm that the figure
of Mariana is indeed looking at the angel. However, one notices that plate
three (_Mariana_) is situated on the right page and plate two (_Beata
Beatrix_ by Dante Gabriel Rossetti) on the left page of the open book and
that the figures of Mariana and Beatrix by their positions as reproduced
in the book might be seen to converge on the stained glass angel.

He may be looking at her but is she looking at him? Reproductions in
Pearce's sources are marshalled to make the claim. The article "Subliminal
Dreams" by George MacBeth in _Narrative Art_ edited by John Ashbury and
Thomas B. Hess provides a black and white detail of the upper left
quadrant followed by a colour reproduction. The layout induces a subtle
repetition: left page the b&w detail, right page the first page of the
article, [turn the page] left page the colour reproduction of the full
painting. The manner of the disposition of the illustrations supports the
critical story that is being offered. Interestingly Pearce in introducing
a quotation from Andrew Leng's article that quotes Macbeth's article fails
to mention that Leng remarks upon the tone of Macbeth's "post-Freudian
enthusiasm" in whose prose "[t]he erotic implications of the painting
which Ruskin ignored are made abundantly if facetiously clear [...]".
Leng's article is now available on the Victorian Web. In "Millais's
"Mariana": Literary Painting, the Pre-Raphelite Gothic, and the Iconology
of the Marian Artist", Leng draws upon how knowledge of Tennyson's poem
affects the reading of the painting. In the online verision of the article
there is to be found a thumbnail reproduction of the painting that is hot
linked to a larger image.

> Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 18, No. 482.
> Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
> www.kcl.ac.uk/humanities/cch/humanist/
> www.princeton.edu/humanist/
> Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu
> Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2005 07:47:16 +0000
> From: "Jim Marchand" <marchand_at_uiuc.edu>
> >
> I am not sure exactly what you are looking for here, Francois, so
> let me just rattle along for a while. There are numerous
> authorities who think that we think only in words, not in images.
> If one thinks of the intellectual content of an image, whatever
> that is, and one thinks of images as digital in nature (we are
> using the digital computer), a good book on the optical image is
> Leonid Yaroslavsky and Murray Eden, Fundamentals of Digital Optics
> (Boston: Birkhaeuser, 1996), which discusses such things as images,
> holograms, interferograms, which are in reality analog in nature.
> We must, of course, distinguish between the image per se and the
> perception of the image, which is why, I suppose, you bring up such
> things as gaze. We need to distinguish carefully between imagery
> and perception. A good quick orientation is offered here by the
> readings in Irvin Rock, ed., The Perceptual World. Readings from
> Scientific American (NY: Freeman, 1990). For a general survey of
> image theory (somewhat confusing): Claude Cosette, Les images
> demaquillees. Approche scientifique de la communication par
> l'image, 2d ed. (Quebec: Riguil, 1985). For recent philosophizing
> on the screen as communicator: Nathalie Roelens & Yves Jeanneret,
> L'imaginaire de l'Ecran. Screen Imaginary (sic!) (Amsterdam:
> Rodopi, 2004).
> Just moving along with the bibliography. If you are
> interested in visual imagery, one ought to start with R. L.
> Gregory, Eye and Brain. The Psychology of Seeing. World University
> Library (NY: McGraw-Hill, 1966). It is fearfully out of date, but
> it "really hits the high spots. It is exciting to read and full of
> fascinating material," etc. etc. You can bring it up to date by
> looking through David Marr's Vision. A Computational Investigation
> into the Human Representation and Processing of Visual Information.
> 13th printing (NY: Freeman, 1996).
> This is a whole science in itself; for an overview: Hua Lee
> and Glen Wade, Imaging Technology (NY: IEEE Press, 1985), which
> even contains an article on holography by Dennis Gabor himself. For
> more practical, less theoretical: Sally Wiener Grotta & Daniel
> Grotta, Digital Imaging for Visual Artists (NY: Eindcrest/McGraw-
> Hill, 1993).
> Forgive me for waxing bibliographical. For the problem of
> communicating in images, be they optical or otherwise, for such
> things as virtual reality, etc., one needs to philosophize, and
> philosophizing, if we communicate it, requires words. Verbum
> verbum non est, sed verbum. Somewhere out there, I have posted both
> an edition and a translation of St. Augustine's De dialectica.
> Worueber man nicht sprechen kann, darueber muss man schweigen. We
> live in a logocentric world, and though we speak occasionally of
> `communicating in images,' we don't talk much about images, and
> there is always the subliminal and the superliminal (`if a man's
> reach not exceed his grasp') to worry about. Are there thoughts
> which cannot be expressed? (`would that the tongue could utter the
> thoughts that arise in me'). What does one mean when one says
> `image'?
> Forgive me, I am beginning to witter.

Francois Lachance, Scholar-at-large
A calendar is like a map. And just as maps have insets, calendars in the
21st century might have 'moments' expressed in flat local time fanning out
into "great circles" expressed in earth revolution time.
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Received on Wed Jan 19 2005 - 17:31:02 EST

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