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Art as Science | Science as Art

What are images and what are they for?


John Michael Krois

1. Introduction ly) have true knowledge, led to philo- to change, when it became recogni-
sophy being profoundly suspicious of sed that images, like language, are
In the 19th century the mathematici- the knowledge value of images. also symbolic forms.
an Richard Dedekind published an According to this theory, images are
article entitled "What are numbers doubly misleading: they detract from
and what are they for?"1 At the time, conceptual, ideal knowledge and their
mathematicians such as Dedekind beguiling, powerfully emotive effect
were endeavouring to overcome a leads the mind astray. Today, howe-
"crisis in the foundations of mathe- ver, imaging technologies exist in
matics. They wanted to clarify the modern science and medicine that
relationship of irrational and imaginary not only convey reliable knowledge
numbers to natural numbers and but are, in fact, indispensable. The
show that the latter were the basis of emotive effect of images is undenia-
the former. At the same time, types ble, but today both the artist and the
of pictures that had never been seen public are all too familiar and cons-
before also began to appear: photog- cious of that fact; we are so swam-
raphy and Impressionist painting. ped with images that we scarcely
Today, in the age of digital images, art look at them anymore.2
scholars and psychologists, neurolo-
gists and media scholars, not to men- There have been theories of percep-
tion artists themselves, are looking at tion and art in philosophy, but little
the question: "What are images and attention has been paid to the image
what are they for?" In the crisis in the per se. Thus in recent decades there Fig. 1: Transfer of cosmic systems to the body.
foundations of mathematics, it was has been extensive research in the In: Aby Warburg: Der Bilderatlas. Mnemosyne,
mathematicians who were responsi- philosophy of science, but scholars in hg. v. Martin Warnke unter Mitarbeit von Clau-
ble for number theory, but philoso- this field have ignored the use of ima- dia Brink, Berlin 2000
phers such as Frege and Russell also ges in science because in their eyes
made important contributions in this these images had nothing to do with An example of this change in per-
field. The image, however, has never science but with art. At the same spective is the anthology "Picturing
been a central theme in the history of time, art historians ignored images in Knowledge. Historical and Philosophi-
philosophy. Whiteheads famous science because from their point of cal Problems Concerning the Use of
remark that the history of philosophy view they were not "art." There were Art in Science" (1996), which contains
consists of a series of footnotes to of necessity a few exceptions: art general reflections on and individual
Plato is particularly true of its attitude historians had to acknowledge some- studies of the role of images in cer-
to the image. Platos criticism of the thing like Leonardos scientific dra- tain disciplines such as chemistry,
work of the artist placed knowledge wings and there were also natural biology and archaeology. In this book,
through pictures on the bottom rung scientists with a philosophical bent, images are seen as crucial to the
of his scale of knowledge (Eikasia) such as Helmholtz, who considered cognitive process, irreplaceable by
(Pol. 509e). The distinction Plato images worthy of study, but, as a any other form of representation.
makes between the limited knowled- rule, philosophers ignored images in This change in the status of the ima-
ge, or indeed even lack of knowledge science and left images in art to the ge in the philosophy of science is
of people who create pictures and aestheticians.3 Philosophys major connected with the sea change wit-
philosophers, who have no need of interest was language, the image hin the discipline that began in the
visual images, because they (alleged- remained terra incognita. That began 1960s. Scientific research is seen

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today as centring on specific case argued that no particular universally joined together by grammar to form
studies, not the application of sup- given forms of intuition exist, in the statements. This triadic model is not
posedly universal methods.4 After all way that Kant thought, but went a classification of things but descri-
digital imaging techniques ("scientific further and denied there was such a bes functions. Things carrying the
visualization" or "visual data analysis") thing as direct "intuition" at all. Inste- same or similar meaning can fulfil
are playing an increasingly important ad, Peirce claimed: "the idea of mani- quite different functions. Visual pre-
role in science today.5 festation is the idea of a sign."8 In sentations also follow particular
A similar change has taken place in other words, each act of perception rules.
art history in recent years. The great is always symbolic. Consciousness
pioneer in this field, who went unre- itself is a process of recognising
cognised for so long, Aby Warburg, signs. Thus the perceptual field - the
said of himself back in 1917 that he imaginal worlds of our senses - see-
was not an "art historian" but an "ima- med to Peirce to be a sign phenome-
ge historian."6 He was not interested non. This was not mere "perspecti-
in the aesthetic qualities of images vism," which believes that there is
or the usual questions that interes- always a plurality of possible (static)
ted art historians, such as what style views of the same perception, but a
or movement a picture belonged to, new concept of phenomena, which
but in the image as the embodiment emphasises the fact that they are
of particular contents. For him, ima- fundamentally process-based.
ges were the symbolic form of Phenomena always point beyond
expressive contents. Warburg went themselves; memories, expectations
so far as to attempt to systematically and perceptions are essentially made
record forms of expression, which possible by different sign functions.
he called "pathos formula." Warburg For that reason, Peirce only ever
thought that the study of humankin- spoke of perception as a process:
ds use of the image should lead to semiosis, or the process of interpre-
an anthropological theory of culture. ting signs. Fig. 2: Augustino Ramelli. Italy 1588, in: Bert S.
In recent years, art theory has been Hall: The Didactic and the Elegant. Some
developing into visual theory interna- Peirce called the science of signs Thoughts on Scientific and Technological Illustra-
tional-ly.7 So today the image has and symbols "semiotics" and thus tions in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance,
become the de facto link between quite deliberately expanded the mea- in: Brian S. Baigrie (ed.): Picturing
art theory and philosophy of science. ning of a term used in the history of Knowledge. Historical and Philosophical Pro-
But even if we recognise that ima- medicine. In the past doctors would blems Concerning the Use of Science in Art.
ges are part of sciences toolkit and make their diagnoses on the basis of Toronto 1996
at the same time a vehicle for art, external symptoms (as opposed to
the relationships between these results of laboratory tests). Since The science historian Bert Hall sho-
types of image and the basis of ima- Antiquity, the theory of symptoms wed that Chinese artists did not
ges remains unresolved. was known as "semiotics." This type understand the forms used to repre-
of reason-based perception - and not sent space in the art of the Renais-
language - was for Peirce the proto- sance in the Western world (Fig. 3),
2. What are images? type and pattern for the symbolic so that their copies of Western
process. representations were not only of no
Kant questioned the directness of Peirce distinguished three func- use to anyone trying to build a piece
perception by showing that certain tions of the sign, which he called of equipment from them, they were
forms of organisation in perception - "icon, index, and symbol." "Icon" not even comprehensible. Even sim-
the "successive quality" in time and refers to the visual manifestation of ply copying a picture assumes
the "contiguity" in space - do not a form in general, index to the rela- mastery of the rules of the represen-
actually exist a priori in sensibility tionship of this form to something tation methods used. These rules in
itself, but presuppose it. Conse- else through a physical connection turn depend upon knowledge of
quently, space and time as "forms of with it (a weather vane is an index, other sign systems, which we call
intuition" are subjective yet universal. because it is physically connected background knowledge (here, for
In 1868, the natural scientist and with the wind; it is more than a copy example, knowledge of mechanics).
philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce or an imitation). A symbol has the Peirce pointed to the fundamental
started a conceptual revolution in function of carrying meaning in a importance of repetition for the use
philosophy when he generalised this sign system. The best example is of signs.9 But repetition always ent-
idea of Kants and took it further. He the words in a language, which are ails change.

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We are not yet certain which of images, the medium is the human
these two 16th-century pictures (fig. body. Hans Belting therefore calls his
4 and 5) is the original and which is idea for an image theory "visual
the copy. But how do we understand anthropology." For him the human
these pictures? We cannot claim body is the "place of images." From
that we understand one version this standpoint, human existence
because we know the other. Per- cannot be described as the relations-
haps we only know one of them. hip between body and soul but the
The pictures depict people measur- relationship between body and ima-
ing. To understand these pictures it ge. The body appears to humans as
is helpful to know Horaces saying an image in the sense of an icon as
"Est modus in rebus" (there is meas- defined by Peirce.
ure in [all] things). In one of the ver-
sions there is an allusion to this, The theory of signs and symbols
because "Horatius" is standing at the makes it possible to undertake a
bottom edge of the picture (not visi- comparative study of images in art
ble in this reproduction). However, to and science.11 But what is the con-
recognise that what is being depic- nection between the images in a
Fig. 3: Ji Qi Tu Shuo. China 16. Ct., in: as fig. 2, ted is the act of measuring, the museum and those in the laborato-
p. 25. observer needs to master all three ry? First of all, the fact that they are
kinds of sign interpretation: distin- not comprehensible to the uninitia-
guishing or perceiving visible forms, ted. Only a few people are able to
practical familiarity with the physical interpret what is shown on a scienti-
relationship between these pheno- fic image or - without practice - in
mena, for example a yardstick and a modern art. In both cases, these
piece of fabric (otherwise we would images are the products of a long
have to ask what they are doing) and cultural development. But, in both
that means an idea of the rules for cases, the human capacity to recog-
using these things. nise images has been expanded not
In Peirces theory of signs, sym- created.
bols like these pictures are always
viewed against a background of prac- What is this capacity? Is it a cultural
Fig. 4: Les Mesurers. Flaumisch. Exhibition
tical experience. We recognise three- phenomenon or a natural quality? I
catalogue: Jim Bennett (ed.): The Measurers. A dimensional objects on a two-dimen- would like here to put forward a
Flemish Image of Mathematics in the Sixteenth sional panel, because we see these view that follows on from the work
Century. Catalogue of the Exhibition. The images on the basis of familiar inde- of the biologist Terrence Deacon. A
Museum of the History of Science. Oxford
xical relationships and iconic percep- few years ago Deacon, who was
1995.
tions that are symbolised by the head of laboratory research at
panel paintings. We often overlook Boston University and Harvard Medi-
the role of action as a prerequisite cal School, published a highly acclai-
for seeing, because we are distrac- med book entitled: The Symbolic
ted by language. Peirce describes Species. The sub-title: The Co-Evolu-
the problem as follows: "Looking out tion of Language and the Brain.12
of my window this lovely spring mor- The book looks at the relatively new
ning I see an azalea in full bloom. science of biosemiotics, the stu-
No, no! I do not see that; though dy of signs, of communication, and
that is the only way I can describe of information in living organisms.13
what I see. That is a proposition, a Deacon defines human beings as
sentence, a fact; but what I perceive Homo symbolicus. In this, he is
is not proposition, sentence, fact, not continuing the philosophical defi-
but only an image, which I make nition of human beings, as repre-
Fig. 5: The measurers. Flaumisch. Ausstel- intelligible in part by means of a sta- sented for example by Ernst Cassir-
lungskatalog: Jim Bennett (ed.): The Measurers. tement of fact."10 Every image ers similar formulation of the ani-
A Flemish Image of Mathematics in the Six- needs a medium: in the case of the mal symbolicum. He is formulating
teenth Century. Catalogue of the Exhibition. The
panel painting that medium is the his definition not on the basis of
Museum of the History of Science. Oxford
1995.
paints and possibly the wooden philosophical argumentation, but on
panel. In the case of our perceptual empirical research on the human

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brain. He wants his definition to be here at a phenomenon of vagueness through the auditory or tactile sens-
understood as a biological classifica- and lack of contour. Deacon descri- es, such as the continuous feeling
tion. In his book, he proves that the bes iconic interpretation as a func- when a finger slides across a cold
human capacity to create and under- tion of omission: Icons are created sheet of glass. This feeling can be of
stand symbols, is the principal sour- by our failure to produce critical indi- varying degrees of strength; howe-
ce of natural selection in the deve- ces in order to distinguish things.17 ver, a Prgnanz form can only emer-
lopment of our bodies and brains.14 This example illustrates the fact that ge from a phenomenal continuum.
By that he does not simply mean the basic achievement of iconic cog- This can itself be quite vague in cha-
that learnt behaviour can bring about nition consists in perceiving continui- racter.
physical changes to the body such ties and that this perception can also
as the acquired ability to organically Decades ago, the art historian and
tolerate lactose, but that language critic Sir Herbert Read emphasised
and other symbols, which human the importance of non-Prgnanz
beings have learnt to use, have forms in perceiving images. Read
changed the brain and increased its was Englands most important advo-
size. The reasons for that are con- cate of modern art in the first half of
nected, according to Deacon, with the 20th century. His late work Icon
the social nature of symbol systems, & Idea was not art theory, but visu-
with the fact that these symbol al theory. In it he drew attention to
systems are ultimately not some- the role of non-Prgnanz forms in
thing in the brain. They exist in the modern art (fig. 7).19 The phenome-
objective social reality of human non of emergence of form was a
beings. Thus the distinction between theme in abstract Expressionist art
what is natural (biological) and what of the 1950s, in action painting and
is cultural (symbol systems) is, if not also in photography (fig. 8). In Reads
entirely invalid, at least no longer works and those of the psychologist
useful on this level of study. For his Fig. 6: Face, in: Kurt Koffka: Principles of Gestalt
Anton Ehrenzweig,20 who was intel-
conceptual framework, Deacon Psychology. London 1962. lectually close to him, vagueness
makes reference to Peirces semio- advanced to the central focus of ima-
tics. ge theory. That development was
Deacon underlines the fundamen- be misleading. sparked off by the central position
tal meaning of the iconic, that is the In the traditional view of gestalt per- occupied by vagueness in the art of
pictorial sign. Peirce has often explai- ception the basic principle of percep- the time, but Read and Ehrenzweig
ned pictorial representations by tion was the so-called good saw it as something of fundamental
attributing them to the phenomenon gestalt, known as the principle of importance not merely a stylistic
of resemblance.15 I agree with Dea- Prgnanz. This stated that: development. Vague forms gave
con when he refutes this view and psychological organisation will insight into the very process of how
writes: Resemblance does not pro- always be as `good" as circumstan- images are perceived. Vague forms
duce iconicity (74), but the inter- ces allow.18 By Prgnanz, and were (in art) always the expression
pretative process, which generates good gestalt, the Gestaltists were of a mood. The indistinct, unspecific
iconic representation is ... what we referring to the way a form stands
call recognition.16 He illustrates this out against its background or the
with an example that shows two way qualities come together to crea-
important characteristics of the ico- te a form: rounded-off, closed, sym-
nic function. Deacon takes an exam- metrical, etc. (fig. 6). According to
ple from the animal world that could Deacon, Prgnanz phenomena are
also apply to human beings. A moth forms of iconic significance, but they
has landed on a tree and a bird does are not the most fundamental kind.
not distinguish its outspread wings As the example of the moth on the
from the tree trunk. The bird sees tree illustrates, even the perception
them as bark. That means the wings of something vague and without
are seen and they are seen as some- contours, or a continuum, is an ico-
thing. We might think that they have nic perception. Thus the perception
been mistaken for something else, of spatial and temporal continuity
but this closure of the field of vision (Kants forms of intuition) is iconic. Fig. 7: Marc Tobey: Edge of August, 1953, in:
to a continuous level is an iconic Images are visible icons, but there Marc Tobey. A Centennial Exhibition. Galerie
sign, even though we are looking are also icons that are perceived Beyeler 1990

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footsteps of someone we know (and


can identify in the dark).23 These per-
ceptions of characteristics are vague
uniform phenomena, similar to the
bark of the tree in Deacons exam-
ple. Iconic signs can also be found in
the animal world, and Deacon claims
that it is not what we call cons-
ciousness that differentiates human
beings from animals (animals also
have consciousness), but the signs
that human beings recognise: for Fig. 10: Sonographie II. In: Dr. med. Gerd
Brehm: Tumor-Ultraschalldiagnostik. Ein Atlas
Fig. 8: Aaron Siskind: Chicago 224, 1953. David human beings iconic signs take on a
zur Diagnose, Differentialdiagnose und Verlaufs-
Anfam: Abstract Expressionism, London 1994. symbolic [non-intuitive] meaning. kontrolle in Klinik und Praxis. Stuttgart
Normally we seldom experience
vague perceptions or at least we do
and ambiguous are seen as being not experience them for very long,
full of atmosphere and sometimes because they soon acquire symbolic tion. An ultra-sound image (fig. 9) is
threatening. meaning. We experience vagueness reliable because it is also an index:
In Icon & Idea, Read endorsed the only if we make an effort, through that is, it is physically connected
principal thoughts of the philosopher the attempt to not perceive some- with an organ (fig. 10). According to
Ernst Cassirer, who never made thing along with its symbolic associa- experts, modern diagnostic imaging
modern art an actual subject of his tions. We do not see a vague brow- has now become the most impor-
work.21 However, as early as the nish surface; we immediately see tant method for making precise dia-
1920s, Cassirer had reinterpreted the bark of a tree, or of an azalea gnoses, even though these images
the Gestaltist principle of Prgnanz in even. For human beings iconic per- might seem contourless to the
terms of symbol theory. For him ception is always connected with untrained eye.24 Developments in
gestalt phenomena were symbolic indexical and symbolic processes. computers have brought about a
achievements of the good gestalt. The abstract Impressionists recorded revolution, which can be seen, for
They do not refer to anything else, this condition of the vague icons in example, in the fact that the term
but they symbolise more than what their work. This art movement is the- "radiography" has now been replaced
is apparent on the sensory level. For refore often termed subjectivist, by the word imaging in medical
Cassirer symbolic Prgnanz was but it also has the opposite tenden- diagnostics.25 These new imaging
far more comprehensive than what cy. The abstract Impressionists techniques (ultra-sound, ionising radi-
the Gestaltists understood by Prg- recorded the iconic and to a great ation, optics [endoscopy])26 are ico-
nanz phenomena. Cassirer defined extent excluded the symbols and the nic, but they acquire a quality of
symbolic Prgnanz as the way in subjectivity of the civilised world. extreme reliability due to their indexi-
which a perceptual experience, as a Vague icons are not necessarily cal (physical) connections and their
`sensory' experience, also contains a unreliable, they are only unreliable as symbolic meaning within a system
certain intuitive `meaning, which it a result of their symbolic interpreta- of images. As iconic signs, images
expresses directly and specifical- are capable of being further interpre-
ly.22 This meaning need not neces- ted as indices and symbols. As icons
sarily exist in a self-contained form, they are the essential beginning of
but is also inherent in expressive the cognition process.
qualities, such as qualities of friendli-
ness, menace, gloominess, cheerful-
ness, etc. Cassirer thus took the stu- 3. What are images for?
dy of symbolic functions to a more
fundamental level than did Gestalt We know how difficult it sometimes
psychology: to the level of expres- is to put something into words. Witt-
sion. For Read, Cassirers theory was gensteins saying Whereof one
the key to understanding modern art. cannot speak, thereon one must
remain silent, can be understood in
Fig. 9: Sonographie I. In: Dr. med. Gerd Brehm:
We also recognise many forms that positive terms as reference to the
Tumor-Ultraschalldiagnostik. Ein Atlas zur Dia-
are not good gestalts. They inclu- gnose, Differentialdiagnose und Verlaufskontrol- necessity of sometimes switching
de handwriting, the so-called physio- le in Klinik und Praxis. Stuttgart symbolisms. After all, much of what
gnomic qualities of a voice or the cannot be put into words can be

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understand what is being seen as


the symbolic depiction of an expres- Notes:
sive meaning. That is precisely not a
call to use intuition, because even if 1 Dedekind, Richard: Was sind und
we are talking about understanding was sollen die Zahlen? 1888, 2nd
an expressiveness, this is a kind of unpublished edition. Braunschweig
symbolic knowledge. Terrence Dea- 1893. In this article, Dedekind was
con states that the theory of the trying to establish a structure for a
mind should not begin with cons- theory of natural numbers based on
ciousness, but with sentience,27 set theory.
because it is through feeling that the
first iconic images are conveyed. For 2 Plato was not only a philosopher,
Fig. 12: Thomas Demand. Room. Chromogenic animals, it is highly indexical signals but also an artist himself, the "Dra-
color print. 67 3/4 x 91 3/8". Source: to which they react. For human matist of the Life of Reason" as he
http://www.moma.org/exhibitions/newphoto12/t
beings they can take on symbolic has been called (George Santayana,
homas.demand.html
meaning. The flame is for human John Herman Randall. In philosophy
shown. beings not only hot but also a sym- the view has become established
Artists are past masters at sho- bol of transitoriness, or of eternal that there is no royal road to know-
wing. Today, art is often reflective, life, and of much more besides. ledge, on which human beings are
seeing has itself become a theme in The concept of the image, or of visu- protected from erring, and particular-
art (Fig. 11). In many contemporary al symbolism, is now a topic of inter- ly not in philosophy where superviso-
art movements, the impression disciplinary research. Anyone looking ry bodies are difficult to identify.
might arise that artists have taken on at these scientific developments
academias theoretical opinions and must come to the conclusion that a 3 This also applied when a philoso-
have devoted themselves totally to new science of the image is now pher made extensive use of images.
conceptualisation. In this talk the emerging which links the natural Cf. Brian S. Baigrie: Descartes'
impression might also have been sciences and the cultural studies. Scientific Illustrations and 'la grande
given that the sign and symbol theo- This development also promises to mcanique de la nature', in: Baigrie
ry of the image must of necessity bring about a change in philosophy, (ed.): Picturing Knowledge. Historical
lead to a kind of scientism, in which where for so long language has been and Philosophical Problems Concer-
art has ultimately become a vehicle considered the only notable kind of ning the Use of Art in Science,
of scientific knowledge. symbolism. Toronto: University of Toronto Press,
1996, p. 86-134.
Time constraints require that I limit
myself. I shall therefore close by 4 The most important ideas came
making reference to the observa- from Thomas Kuhn: The Structure of
tions of a philosopher of science Scientific Revolutions, 1962, 2. enlar-
(Gaston Bachelard). Chemistry text ged edition, Chicago: Univ. of Chica-
books in the past treated combus- go Press, 1970.
tion processes as visible phenome-
na. Today, combustion is considered 5 Cf., for example http://www.sci-
to be a sub-category of oxidation. vis.gatech.edu/
The phenomenon of the flame has
thus been replaced in science by an 6Diary entry of 12 Feb. 1917. Cf.
invisible process. The image of the Michael Diers: Warburg aus Briefen.
flame has thus to a certain extent Kommentare zu den Kopierbchern
been banished from chemistry. But der Jahre 1905-1918, Weinheim
the flame, like the other ancient ele- 1991, p. 230, note. 142.
ments of air, earth and water, has
lost none of its symbolic power of 7 These research trends are now so
expression. Bachelard points to the widespread in the theory of art and
atmosphere created by an open fire, science that it is difficult to keep up
to how it invites one to dream. But Abb. 13: George de la Tour: Magdalena mit zwei with the latest developments. Repre-
the quiet all-consuming flame sym- Kerzenflammen, ca. 1640. Metropolitan sentative publications are: Gottfried
Museum of Art, New York. Aus: Philip Conis-
bolises far more than that. To recog- Boehm (ed.): Was ist ein Bild?
bee: George de la Tour and his world. Washing-
nise the symbolic power of an image ton 1996. Munich: Fink 1995; W. J. T. Mitchell:
like that (fig. 12), it is necessary to Picture Theory. Essays on Verbal and

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Visual Representation, Chicago: Univ. 74: "resemblance doesn't produce sche Praxis, in: J[osef] Lissner (ed.):
of Chicago Press 1994; George Didi- the iconicity" ... "The interpretive pro- Moderne Bildgebung. Stand der
Hubermann: Vor einem Bild, Munich: cess that generates iconic reference Technik, International Symposium,
Hanser 2000. is ... what we call recognition". Berlin 1988, Vienna/Berlin: Uebber-
euter Wissenschaft 1988, p. 236-
8 Peirce: from the Lowell Lectures 17 Deacon, The Symbolic Species, p. 241, p. 236.
[1903]. In: ibid.: Collected Papers, 77: "icons arise from a failure to pro-
Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, vol. duce critical indices to distinguish 25 M. S. Joshi: Die Radiologie in Ln-
1, 346: "the idea of manifestation things". dern wie Indien, in: Lissner (ed.):
is the idea of a sign". Moderne Bildgebung, p. 93-98, here:
18 Kurt Koffka, The Principles of p. 93: "In the field of radiography, the
9 Peirces basic definition of generali- Gestalt Psychology, London: Rout- medical world has, in the last 20 to
ty is "habit". ledge & Kegan Paul 1935, p. 110: 30 years, witnessed a boom in new
"Psychological organization will methods that make it possible to
10Thomas A. Sebeok, Jean Umiker- always be as `good' as the prevailing see human organs each one
Sebeok: "Du kennst meine Metho- conditions allow". The theory of Prg- aiming to be better than all others.
de". Charles S. Peirce und Sherlock nanz still remains central to Gestalt This young discipline with its vast
Holmes Frankfurt/Main: Suhrkamp theory; cf. James R. Pomerantz and number of imaging techniques has
1982, p. 332. Michael Kubovy, Perceptual Organi- long since expanded way beyond the
zation: An Overview, in: Perceptual horizons of conventional radiography.
11 What is important here is to crea- Organization, edited by Michael The very name 'radiography' has
te a bridge between the two, not to Kubovy and James R. Pomerantz, been replaced by the word 'imaging.'
unify them. Scientists and artists do Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum, 198l, p.
not have to take notice of one anot- 436-449. 26 On this cf. Klaus Ewen (ed.):
her and the results of scientific rese- Moderne Bildgebung. Physik, Ger-
arch and artistic activity do not need 19 Herbert Read: Icon & Idea. The tetechnik, Bildbearbeitung und -kom-
to be measured against each other, Function of Art in the Development munikation, Strahlenschutz, Quali-
nor should they be. Nevertheless, of Human Consciousness. The Char- ttskontrolle, Stuttgart/New York:
they both use visual symbolism. les Eliot Norton Lectures at Harvard Thieme 1997.
University [1953], New York: Schok-
12 Terrence W. Deacon: The Symbo- ken Books 1972, p. 121f. 27 Deacon, The Symbolic Species, p.
lic Species. The Co-Evolution of 4
Language and the Brain, New York: 20 Cf. Anton Ehrenzweig: The
W.W. Norton 1997. Psycho-Analysis of Artistic Vision and
Hearing. An Introduction to a Theory
13 Biosemiotics is defined as "the of Unconscious Perception, 1953,
study of signs, of communication, 2nd edition. New York: George Bra-
and of information in living orga- ziller 1965), especially chapter II:
nisms" (Oxford Dictionary of Bioche- Gestalt-free Art Form, p. 22-44.
mistry and Molecular Biology Oxford: Ehrenzweig refers (p. 22) to Read,
Oxford University Press 1997, p. 72). who pointed out that abstract pictu-
Cf.. "Biosemiotics" in: Encyclopedia res "make the eye wander".
of Semiotics, edited by Paul Bouis-
sac, New York: Oxford University 21 Read refers to Cassirer in Icon &
Press, p. 82-85. Idea, p. 1; cf. also pp. 18 and 128.

14 Deacon: The Symbolic Species, p. 22 Cassirer: Philosophie der symboli-


345: "the principle source of selec- schen Formen, Bd. 3, [1929], Darm-
tion on our bodies and brains. It is stadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesell-
the diagnostic trait of Homo symboli- schaft 1964, p. 235.
cus."

15 Cf. my critique in: Kultur als Sym- 23Cf. on this Read, Icon & Idea, p.
bolprozess, in: Deutsche Zeitschrift 121.
fr Philosophie, 2001.
24 A. Margulis: Einflu des technolo-
16 Deacon: The Symbolic Species, p. gischen Fortschritts auf die radiologi-

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