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Notes from the talk


Hans-Jörg Rheinberger
Max Plank institute
The media blindness of science
the indexical is precarious
the indexicality of bioscience is different
the invisible is made visible
enhancement is used to make the indiscernible discernible

Research problems are defined by the instruments you can use to solve them, but this is ignored or played down.

digital or print representations are different from tissue imagery or sample preparations (babies in jars)

the representation of molecules
chromotography--using color
electroforesis?--the devices follow a principle of exploiting electrical characteristics of the molecules being observed

these technologies used in this art vs in forensics
two different kinds of visualizations

a peice of DNA is cut into pieces. A long molecule is cut into shorter ones using restriction enzymes. That results in patterns.

sequence gel
not cutting up into smaller pieces but a process of synthesis
one strand of double-helix dna
fragments of increasing length are produced by an enzym
these fragmants are then run through an electroforetic machine to create the sequence.
These are two very different techniques

the artist is not using the sequence gel technology, only the first one where the DNA is cut into pieces.

What are the procedures involved in these ways of making things visible?
What is behind these visualizations?
Two main strategies: dilatation and enhancement.

can't even see them with the electomicroscope. How do we make them visible to the naked eye? Tiny molecules are brought into a shape that can be seen by the naked eye. On the other hand, in order to make the enlarged image readable, you have to enhance it to show the important structures. That is where the colors come in with the sequence gel project.

All of this is aside from Vanouse's ideological questions.

Thes basic epistemic ways of looking at the procedures Vanouse uses in his installations are also of interest.

DNA images are indexical, as the other speakers have already said, but they belong in the order of the trace. That makes the precarity of these objects more clear. A trace depends on absence and on something remaining absent. Traces can be contaminated. These technologies can identify a person if you have two good samples of DNA. Technically it is not problem. The problem is contamination. Vanouse's work depends on contamination.

Gloves are a double symbol of contamination. You are protecting the sample from the contamination of your body and protecting your body from the contamination from the sample.

Vanouse's work depends on the fact that the techniques are the same as in a laboratory in the art installation. His use is artistic and paradoxical though it is the same technique.

One sees hidden aspects of the technique or the gadget. These qualities are magnified and enhanced. ****************

Paul Vanouse is the artist of Fingerprints
role of images in art and science

Can be seen at Sharing Stiftung on Unter den Linden. There is also something here in the Hackaway Zone.


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