Instrumentalized vision: reflections on the mediated "modern" eye

Frances TERPAK
Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, California


The Getty Research Institute recently mounted an exhibition entitled: Devices of Wonder: From the World in a Box to Images on a Screen. Seven years in the making, this exhibition clustered together optical devices, scientific instruments, rare natural history books, zoological, botanical, and mineral specimens, trompe l'oeil paintings, games, toys, prints, ephemera, and even a 17th-century Wunderkabinett that unfurled its rich collection of naturae and artificia. This fascinating and difficult to classify cultural material was provocatively grouped into concentrated thematic areas where objects ranging from the early modern to the contemporary resonated with each other to create an ocular history of visual culture and to pose inquiry. Among other things, the exhibition attempted to show how the supposedly "natural" eye was transformed in the past and continues to be altered today. The exhibition demonstrated how wondrous devices-existing at the interface between art and science-reflected, refracted, diminished, magnified, stretched, dissolved, projected, and animated objects to reveal how an enhanced perception occasioned new forms of consciousness in different historical moments.


Session VIII -- Frames of Viewing: Photography and Cinematography in Neuroscience History
Tuesday, 4 June 2002, 9:00 am - 12:30 pm

Seventh Annual Meeting of the International Society for the History of the Neurosciences (ISHN)

Los Angeles, California, USA