13th of November - Jonathan Crary- notes and synopsis

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Notes on Techniques of the Observer - Chapter 1: Modernity and the Problem of the Observer - Jonathan Crary

Crary says the book is about vision and it´s historical construction, and primarily addresses events and developments before 1850, Although when he wrote the book, major changes were happening with viewing the image, namely the computer graphic techniques, which nullifies most of the culturally established meaning of the term observer and 'represention . ´The formalisation and diffusion of computer generated imagery heralds the ubiquitous implantation of fabricated visual ´spaces´´ Many new techniques are ´relocation vision to a plane severed from a human observer.´ He talkes about the how this audio visual media will become globally accessible.

To understand the idea of the visual we have to ask many questions: there is infact an ongoing mutation in the way of seeing, what forms and modes are being left behind? What kind of break is it?what are the elements of continuity that link contemporary imagery with older organizations of the visual? What is the relation between the dematerialised digital imagery of the present and the so-called age of mechanical reproduction?

He says there were only a relatively small number of advanced artists who generated a radically new kind of seeing an importance, while more ordinary and the same general "realist" structures that had organixedd it since the fifteenth centurey. Classical space seemed changed, but on the other hand a big part of it remained the same. Modernism depens fundementally on realism vs. experimentation. The notion of modernism depends on a detached viewpoint. The observer remains the same although Modernism is the appearance of the new.

Modernixation of vision had begun decades earlier (from avant guard). He suggests that a brader and far more important transformation in the makeup of vision occurred in the early nineteenth century. Modernist painting in the 187´s and 1880s and the developement of photography after 1839 can be seen as later symtooms or consequences of a crucial systemic shift which had alrealdy begun by 1920.

He says he writes his book not judging by artworks but of the observer.

observare means "to conform one´s action, to comply with" + Nineteenth century observer, he wants to suggest some of the contitions and forces that defined or allowed the formation of a dominant model of what an abserver was in .. By scetching out related events that produced crucial ways in which vision was discussed, controlled and incarnated in cultural and scientific practices.. Also how the major terms and elements from the previous observers where not present anymore.