The advent of photography revolutionized perception, making visible what was once impossible to see with the human eye. In At the Edge of Sight, Shawn Michelle Smith engages these dynamics of seeing and not seeing, focusing attention as much on absence as presence, on the invisible as the visible. Exploring the limits of photography and vision, she asks: What fails to register photographically, and what remains beyond the frame? What is hidden by design, and what is obscured by cultural blindness? Smith studies manifestations of photography's brush with the unseen in her own photographic work and across the wide-ranging images of early American photographers, including F. Holland Day, Eadweard Muybridge, Andrew J. Russell, Chansonetta Stanley Emmons, and Augustus Washington. She concludes by showing how concerns raised in the nineteenth century remain pertinent today in the photographs of Abu Ghraib. Ultimately, Smith explores the capacity of photography to reveal what remains beyond the edge of sight.
City in Sight presents recent scholarship on the various issues facing today’s Dutch metropolitan areas, including immigration and the growing diversity among the urban population, urban restructuring and neighborhood renewal, shifts in urban governance, and the promotion of active citizenship. With its wealth of information and up-to-date research, this text will appeal to scholars of urban politics and social history from all over the globe.
From its inception in Greek antiquity, the science of optics was aimed primarily at explaining sight and accounting for why things look as they do. By the end of the seventeenth century, however, the analytic focus of optics had shifted to light: its fundamental properties and such physical behaviors as reflection, refraction, and diffraction. This dramatic shift—which A. Mark Smith characterizes as the “Keplerian turn”—lies at the heart of this fascinating and pioneering study.
Breaking from previous scholarship that sees Johannes Kepler as the culmination of a long-evolving optical tradition that traced back to Greek antiquity via the Muslim Middle Ages, Smith presents Kepler instead as marking a rupture with this tradition, arguing that his theory of retinal imaging, which was published in 1604, was instrumental in prompting the turn from sight to light. Kepler’s new theory of sight, Smith reveals, thus takes on true historical significance: by treating the eye as a mere light-focusing device rather than an image-producing instrument—as traditionally understood—Kepler’s account of retinal imaging helped spur the shift in analytic focus that eventually led to modern optics.
A sweeping survey, From Sight to Light is poised to become the standard reference for historians of optics as well as those interested more broadly in the history of science, the history of art, and cultural and intellectual history.
This stunning photographic essay opens a new frontier for readers to explore through words and images. Microbial studies have clarified life’s origins on Earth, explained the functioning of ecosystems, and improved both crop yields and human health. Scott Chimileski and Roberto Kolter are expert guides to an invisible world waiting in plain sight.
For three decades, Paul Arthur has been a leading observer and critic as well as a direct participant in America’s avant-garde cinema. In A Line of Sight, he provides a sweeping new account of the extravagant energies of American experimental cinema since 1965.
Balancing close analysis of both major and lesser-known films with detailed examinations of their production, distribution, and exhibition, Arthur addresses the avant-garde’s cultural significance while offering a timely reconsideration of accepted critical categories and artistic options. Rather than treating American avant-garde cinema as a series of successive artistic breakthroughs, A Line of Sight emphasizes the importance of social and institutional networks, material exchanges, and historical disruptions and continuities. Throughout, Arthur pays close attention to themes and visual practices neglected or underrepresented in previous studies, scrutinizing portraiture as a vehicle for projecting dissident identities, highlighting the essay film and the contemporary city symphony, and assessing the contributions of regional and African American filmmaking to the avant-garde. He also explores thematic and formal questions that have been central to the avant-garde achievement: experimental film's relationship with mainstream narrative cinema and postwar American painting as well as the legacy of sixties’s counterculture; the uses and theoretical implications of found footage and the allegorizing of technology; and the schism between a poetic, expressive cinema and the antisubjective, rationalist bias of structural filmmaking.
Amid the current resurgence of experimental filmmakers and the emergence of a new audience for their work, A Line of Sight reaffirms the extraordinary breadth and diversity of the avant-garde tradition in America.
No End in Sight offers a critical analysis of Polish cinema and literature during the transformative late Socialist period of the 1970s and 1980s. Anna Krakus details how conceptions of time, permanence, and endings shaped major Polish artistic works. She further demonstrates how film and literature played a major role in shaping political consciousness during this highly-charged era. Despite being controlled by an authoritarian state and the doctrine of socialism, artists were able to portray the unsettled nature of the political and psychological climate of the period, and an undetermined future.
In analyzing films by Andrzej Wajda, Krzysztof Kieslowsi, Krzysztof Zanussi, Wojciech Has, and Tadeusz Konwicki alongside Konwicki’s literary production, Anna Krakus identifies their shared penchant to defer or completely eschew narrative closure, whether in plot, theme, or style. Krakus calls this artistic tendency "aesthetic unfinalizability." As she reveals, aesthetic unfinalizability was far more than an occasional artistic preference or a passing trend; it was a radical counterpolitical act. The obsession with historical teleology saturated Polish public life during socialism to such a degree that instances of nonclosure or ambivalent endings emerged as polemical responses to official ideology.
Nothing in Sight
Jens Rehn University of Chicago Press, 2005 Library of Congress PT2678.E33N513 2005 | Dewey Decimal 833.914
It is 1943. A German submarine commander and an American pilot are stranded on a rubber life raft, floating alone in the middle of the ocean, with nothing between them but a bottle of whiskey, some cigarettes, a few chocolate bars, and a pack of chewing gum. Both sit, hoping to be rescued, but there is no hope in sight. The stage is thus set for this hypnotic existentialist parable, a rediscovered classic in the literature of World War II.
In a terse, almost clinically exact style, Nothing in Sight distills the brutal essence of what it is to die alone. Much more than a story of war, this short novel presents the memories, dreams, and hallucinations of two soldiers as they drift toward death. With nothing in sight on the horizon, Jens Rehn directs our view inward, into the minds of both men as they question the meaning of life, the existence of God, and the possibility of enduring human relationships. As the drama unfolds, each man recalls fragments of his past through the delirium of thirst and pain. The American soldier, his arm severed, dies first of gangrene. The German dies in agony a week later. Their life raft sinks into the vastness of the ocean.
Reissued two years ago in Germany, Nothing in Sight was hailed by critics there as a singular achievement. The work is presented here in a crystalline English translation for the first time, given new life for generations of readers to come.
John Dalton’s molecular structures. Scatter plots and geometric diagrams. Watson and Crick’s double helix. The way in which scientists understand the world—and the key concepts that explain it—is undeniably bound up in not only words, but images. Moreover, from PowerPoint presentations to articles in academic journals, scientific communication routinely relies on the relationship between words and pictures. In Science from Sight to Insight, Alan G. Gross and Joseph E. Harmon present a short history of the scientific visual, and then formulate a theory about the interaction between the visual and textual. With great insight and admirable rigor, the authors argue that scientific meaning itself comes from the complex interplay between the verbal and the visual in the form of graphs, diagrams, maps, drawings, and photographs. The authors use a variety of tools to probe the nature of scientific images, from Heidegger’s philosophy of science to Peirce’s semiotics of visual communication. Their synthesis of these elements offers readers an examination of scientific visuals at a much deeper and more meaningful level than ever before.
A Store Almost in Sight tells the story of commercial development in central Missouri from the early days of American settlement following the Louisiana Purchase to the Civil War. Focusing on those counties near or on the Missouri River, historian Jeff Bremer confirms that the history of the frontier is also the history of the spread of capitalist values. The letters, journals, diaries, and travel accounts of Missouri settlers and visitors reveal how small decisions made by Missouri’s rural white settlers—ranging from how much of a certain crop to plant to how many eggs to take to the local store—contributed to the establishment of a market economy in the state.
Most Missourians welcomed the opportunity to take part in commercial markets. Farmwomen sold eggs or butter to peddlers and in nearby towns, while men took surplus corn or pork to stores for credit. Immigrants searched for the most fertile land closest to waterways, to ensure they would have large harvests and an easy way to ship them to market. Families floated farm goods downriver until steamboats transformed rural life by drastically reducing the cost of transportation and boosting farm production and consumption. Traders also trekked west across the plains to trade at the inland entrepôt of Santa Fe. The waves of migrants headed for Oregon and California in the 1840s and 1850s further encouraged commercial development. However, most white settlers lacked the necessary financial means to be capitalists in a technical sense, seeking instead a “competency,” or comfortable independence.
This fresh reinterpretation of the American frontier will interest anyone who wants to understand the economic and social significance of westward migration in U.S. history. It gives the reader a gritty, grassroots sense of how ordinary people made their livings and built communities in the lands newly opened to American settlement.
Jacques Derrida remains a leading voice of philosophy, his works still resonating today—and for more than three decades, one of the main sites of Derridean deconstruction has been the arts. Collecting nineteen texts spanning from 1979 to 2004, Thinking out of Sight brings to light Derrida’s most inventive ideas about the making of visual artworks.
The book is divided into three sections. The first demonstrates Derrida’s preoccupation with visibility, image, and space. The second contains interviews and collaborations with artists on topics ranging from the politics of color to the components of painting. Finally, the book delves into Derrida’s writings on photography, video, cinema, and theater, ending with a text published just before his death about his complex relationship to his own image. With many texts appearing for the first time in English, Thinking out of Sight helps us better understand the critique of representation and visibility throughout Derrida’s work, and, most importantly, to assess the significance of his insights about art and its commentary.