Category Archives: History

[Conference + Art] Innovate Heritage “Art & The City”

Innovate Heritage 2016 „Art & The City: New Cultural Maps“

27th-28th of October 2016 at the School of Architecture, Mediterranea University.

Polyhedra is proud to present its project with the Università degli Studi Mediterranea di Reggio Calabria: the first satellite edition of Innovate Heritage!

ih-2016-programme-1

The two-day workshop „Art & The City: New Cultural Maps“ explores intuitions, approaches, views and actions from different perspectives and cultures, facing questions and dilemmas related to heritage management and governance in multi-cultural urban and metropolitan frameworks.

The discussion will focus upon the radical change affecting society and the economy, and transforming the cultural paradigm from a competitive and dimensional struggle into a participative and synergic challenge, with new needs to cross-fertilise tradition and innovation.

Economists, urbanists, jurists, architects, philosophers and artists will perform an intensive and nonprejudicial exchange aimed at crafting sharp questions and drawing credible trails to our future, in the awareness of the growing importance of art and culture in social dynamics.

download the programme
The event will be filmed and videos soon available!

If you would like to host a satellite edition of Innovate Heritage, please get in contact at a.c.polyhedra@gmail.com

art and science of eclipses

In a new paper for the Royal Society Blatchford has combed the Western artistic tradition for representations of eclipse. Here, he reveals how science and symbolism worked together over seven centuries to convey and understand the magic of the moment when the moon embraces the sun.

Blatchford points out, “the artist remains the most accurate witness of an eclipse, whose individual optical effects may appear and vanish in an eye-blink.”

The Sun Embraces the Moon (Eclipse of the Sun) - J.J. GrandvilleAstronomers in search of eclipses. Engraving illustrating “The Devil in Paris”, Jean Grandville (1803-1847), publisher George Sand, Charles Nodier, Balzac, Léon Gozlan and P.J. Stahl (pseudonyme de Jules Hetzel). 1845-46. Roger-Viollet / Topfot

more: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2102055-solar-eclipses-heaven-sent-chance-to-mix-art-and-science/

Outside Color: Perceptual Science and the Puzzle of Color in Philosophy [book suggestion]

Ouside Colour_cover

Overview

Is color real or illusory, mind independent or mind dependent? Does seeing in color give us a true picture of external reality? The metaphysical debate over color has gone on at least since the seventeenth century. In this book, M. Chirimuuta draws on contemporary perceptual science to address these questions. Her account integrates historical philosophical debates, contemporary work in the philosophy of color, and recent findings in neuroscience and vision science to propose a novel theory of the relationship between color and physical reality.

Chirimuuta offers an overview of philosophy’s approach to the problem of color, finds the origins of much of the familiar conception of color in Aristotelian theories of perception, and describes the assumptions that have shaped contemporary philosophy of color. She then reviews recent work in perceptual science that challenges philosophers’ accounts of color experience. Finally, she offers a pragmatic alternative whereby perceptual states are understood primarily as action-guiding interactions between a perceiver and the environment. The fact that perceptual states are shaped in idiosyncratic ways by the needs and interests of the perceiver does not render the states illusory. Colors are perceiver-dependent properties, and yet our awareness of them does not mislead us about the world. Colors force us to reconsider what we mean by accurately presenting external reality, and, as this book demonstrates, thinking about color has important consequences for the philosophy of perception and, more generally, for the philosophy of mind.

About the Author

M. Chirimuuta is Assistant Professor in the Department of the History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh.

find out more…

Picturing The Body In The Laboratory [conference] // Berlin, 6-7 Nov 2015

Genesis and topicality of evidence-oriented imaging in institutions of the long 19th century and today

6-7 November 2015
Humboldt University, Berlin
Image Knowledge Gestaltung, Interdisciplinary Laboratory,
Sophienstr. 22a

“Our aim is to investigate the particular role of the image in evidence production around 1900 in order to sharpen our understanding of the ground laying concepts for today’s epistemic role, limitations as well as of the convenience of laboratory work. Specifically we want to know: what is it exactly that makes the image so attractive around 1900? What can the image do that the word cannot? And does this also apply to the images described that cannot lay claim to any kind of material evidence in the form of a trace? Is there a particular obstinacy in these evidence-oriented images in terms of the Bildakt? Are these images »actors« in a way that is specific to this kind of image (Mitchell 2006)?

One of our particular focuses of interest is the role played by the technical means of producing the traces or images. What are the implications of the technology that developed at this time for evidence orientation? Do we find similar – or which other – principles at work in laboratory evidence technologies in the 21st century? What higher-order similarities does a transdisciplinary examination of different media reveal?”

…find out more


 

CONFERENCE PROGRAMME

Cultural history of science on traces of the body in the lab around 1900

10.00 Registration, Welcome address & Coffee

10.30 Keynote Barbara Orland (University of Basel)
Seeing the Building Blocks of the Human Body. The Biopolitics of Microphotography 1840–1870

11.30 Short Coffee Break

Panel 1

moderator: Ann-Cathrin Drews (HU Berlin/Image Knowledge Gestaltung)

11.40 Bettina Bock von Wülfingen (HU Berlin/Image Knowledge Gestaltung)
The New Cell Staining Techniques since the 1870s and their Role in Conceiving Sex/Gender in the Cell

12.20 Marietta Kesting (HU Berlin/Image Knowledge Gestaltung)
Creating Photographic Identification

13.00       Lunch

14.00 RESUMÉ 1

Panel 2

moderator: Mark-Oliver Casper (HU Berlin/Image Knowledge Gestaltung)

14.30 Sophia Kunze (HU Berlin/Image Knowledge Gestaltung)
Necessary Reduction of Complexity or Dubious Essentialisation? Reception of Natural Scientific Knowledge in the History of Arts

15.10 Wolfgang Schäffner (HU Berlin/Image Knowledge Gestaltung)
Schreber’s Evidence

15.50 Bettina Uppenkamp (Dresden University/Image Knowledge Gestaltung)
Evidence and Identification. On the History of the Fingerprint

16.30RESUMÉ 2

17.00 Finish
Organisational remarks. Snacks and nibbles and move to
> Lecture Hall 2094, Main Building, Unter den Linden 6

19.00 Keynote Peter Galison (Harvard University)
The Conviction of Scientific Images

Natural Sciences and Laboratory Traces Today

> Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Main Building, Seminar Room 2093,  Unter den Linden 6

9.30    Welcome Coffee

10.00Keynote Soraya de Chadarevian (UCLA)
»It is not enough, in order to understand the Book of Nature, to turn over the pages looking at the pictures. Painful though it may be, it will be necessary to learn to read the text.«
Visual Evidence in the Life Sciences, c.1960

Panel 3

moderator: Kathrin Friedrich (HU Berlin/Image Knowledge Gestaltung)

11.00 John Nyakatura (HU Berlin/Image Knowledge Gestaltung)
Trace, Experiment, Inference: Images and the Generation of Knowledge in Paleobiology

11.40 Anelis Kaiser (University of Bern)
Sex/Gender in the Brain: From Voxels to Knowledge

12.20 Thomas Stach (HU Berlin/Image Knowledge Gestaltung)
Traces, Data, Facts: How Morphology Generates Evidence

13.00 Lunch

14.00 RESUMÉ 3

Panel 4

moderator: Markus Rautzenberg (FU Berlin, mecs Lüneburg)

14.30 Dieter Weiss (University of Rostock)
Superresolution Microscopy and the Discovery of Nano-Machines in Living Cells

15.10 Anne Dippel (HU Berlin/Image Knowledge Gestaltung, FSU Jena, Leuphana Lüneburg),
Lukas Mairhofer
(University of Vienna)
Believing the Pattern. A conversation on Traces in Physics

16.30 RESUMÉ 4
Coffee and Goodbye
(brief organisational authors meeting)

[download programme]

 

Ludwig Boltzmann: on nature

We are please to share here this post in regard to a book on Boltzmann’s philosophical writings, gifted to us not so long ago, curated by the great intellectual Prof. F. Ordoñez (UAM). The following quote, repeated quite often by Boltzmann in his conferences, touched us profoundly:

“Señoras y señores, es mi tarea en el presente curso de conferencias ofrecerles a ustedes muchas cosas; intricados teoremas, conceptos ultrarefinados y complicadas pruebas. Perdónenme si hasta ahora no les he ofrecido algo de esto. Todavía no he definido, como habría sido conveniente, el concepto de mi ciencia, esto es, la física teórica, ni he desarrollado el plan según el cual intento tratar esta materia en estas conferencias. Hoy no quise presentar todo esto a ustedes; creo que más tarde, en el transcurso de nuestro trabajo, podremos aclarar mejor estas cosas. Hoy simplemente quise presentar algo más sencillo, aunque para mí esto resulta ser todo lo que tengo, es decir, yo mismo y toda mi forma de pensar y sentir.

Del mismo modo, durante estas conferencias tendré que pedirles muchas cosas: atención concentrada, incesante diligencia y trabajo incansable. Perdónenme, por lo tanto, si antes de embarcarme en uno de estos temas les pido a cambio algo que es lo más importante para mí, es decir, su confianza, afecto y amor; en una palabra, lo más precioso que pueden dar, es decir, ustedes mismos.”

Ludwig Boltzmann, "Una conferencia inaugural de la naturaleza", 1903. 
In: Boltzmann, L., Escritos de mecánica y termodinámica, Alianza Editorial, 
traducción e introducción por Francisco J. Odón Ordoñez.

[bio]

To understand who was Ludwig Boltzmann, it is useful to note two descriptions reported at the beginning of Broda’s famous book, Ludwig Boltzmann: Man, Physicist, Philosopher. (i) In J. Bronowski’s electric view of human thought The Ascent of Man, Ludwig Boltzmann is praised in the following words: “And yet one man, at the critical turn of the century, stood up for the reality of atoms on fundamental grounds of theory. He was Ludwig Boltzmann, at whose memorial I pay homage. Boltzmann was irascible, extraordinary, difficult man, an early follower of Darwin, quarrelsome and delightful, and everything that a human being should be.” (ii) Paul Feyerabend notes in the Encyclopedia of Philosophy: “In his realization of the hypothetical character of all our knowledge, Boltzmann was far ahead of his time and perhaps even our time.

Born in Vienna on February 20, 1844. Earned his physics PhD degree in 1866 at the University of Vienna.

more

Known as both a physicist and philosopher, Ludwig Boltzmann is best known for his contributions to atomistic theories and the development of statistical mechanics. Although he did not consider himself a philosopher and was critical of philosophy as a science, late in his career he did contribute to the realm of philosophy within natural science and even lectured in some philosophy classes at the University of Vienna. He received his doctorate in 1866 and in 1869 was appointed to the chair of theoretical physics at the University of Graz. His restlessness and impassioned temperament led him to move many times throughout his career. He went to the University of Vienna in 1873 as the chair of mathematics, but would return to Graz in 1876 to marry Henriette von Aigentler, a woman he had met during his first service in 1869. His position in Graz came only after a highly controversial contest between himself and Ernst Mach. After successfully gaining the position he stayed a number of years before taking the position of Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Munich in 1890. After only four years though, he returned to Vienna as chair of theoretical physics. It was here that his relationship with Ernst Mach became further strained, as the men had both personal and professional differences that Boltzmann could not handle. He left for Leipzig in 1900, but once again professional rivals would bring him back to Vienna.

As an avid atomist, Boltzmann’s fervent belief in his work led him into many heated debates with his colleagues. In Leipzig, Boltzmann had many passionate arguments with fellow professor Wilhelm Ostweld, an energist. Although Boltzmann was able to successfully defend his atomistic position, the strain of this rivalry led to his attempted suicide. Therefore, when Mach left his post at Vienna in 1901, Boltzmann was able to return to Vienna with hopes of a less strained tenure. It was at this time that his interest in philosophy began to take form. Boltzmann’s philosophy is difficult to pinpoint or define, due in part to his reluctance to accept philosophy as a legitimate part of his research. While he condemned the works of Hegel and Schopenhauer along with metaphysical ideas, he believed that a dialogue between philosophy and natural science could produce interesting and important achievements. He was particularly interested in the theoretical ideas of both fields. For Boltzmann, theories were a way to simplify and understand basic physical concepts; in this realm one could consider him an objectivist and perhaps also a relativist in his philosophical ideas. Boltzmann’s refutation of universals and belief in particulars is perhaps one reason why it is difficult to reduce his ideas down to one defining point.

Although his interests in philosophy were far reaching, even delving into the function of language; ultimately he was a theoretician and physicist. It was in this aspect of his life that he so vehemently worked. Tragically, though, his failure for immediate success and acceptance by the scientific community took their toll on Boltzmann. His frustrations with his work along with poor health led to his suicide in 1906 while on vacation near Trieste. Unfortunately, this happened before new discoveries were made which would prove his atomistic theories correct. Ludwig Boltzmann remains an important physicist and as more about his philosophical ideas surface, we will be able to better understand his impact on philosophical thought.

– extracted from Christina Weber

Ludwig Boltzmann was greatly demoralized due to the harsh criticism of his work. He committed suicide on September 5, 1906 at Duino, Italy by hanging himself. He was 62 years old.


[selected philosophical oeuvres]

  • Populäre Schriften. Leipzig, J.A. Barth, 1905. (reprinted in 1919 and 1925)
  • Wissenschaftliche Abhandlungen. 3 vols. Ed. Fritz Hasenöhrl. Leipzig, J.A. Barth,
    1909. (Collection of Boltzmann’s scientific articles in scientific journals.)
  • Theoretical Physics and Philosophical Problems. Ed. Brian McGuinness. Trans. Paul
    Foulkes. Dordrecht, Reidel Publishing Co., 1974.
AFM nanoscratching on silica substrate.

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Header image: Xavier González d'Ègara, detail of 'La obra inacabada' (2012)