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The Glass Veil: Seven Adventures in Wonderland

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Suzanne Anker and Sabine Flach

In this collaborative work between artist and theorist Suzanne Anker and art historian Sabine Flach, the study of image production unveils the reality of pictures beyond their function as mere representations of the world. The visuals range from firsthand accounts of specimen collections in historical medical museums, to scientific research laboratories, to studies of plant propagation, among other themes concerning life forms and Bio Art. Focusing on systems of artistic knowledge, the authors demonstrate how context, scale and framing devices alter meaning in pictorial systems. Somatic responses, classification networks and image banks are explored as they relate to intersections in visual art and the biological sciences.

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Introduction

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The Glass Veil: Seven Adventures in Wonderland traces the coordinates, influences and investigations of Suzanne Anker’s body of work from 2002 through 2014. The volume is not intended to be a comprehensive survey, but instead a dialogue between Suzanne Anker and Sabine Flach, an artist and art historian, respective- ly. Garnering a friendship that was sparked at an international conference of the Society for Literature, Science and the Arts (SLSA) in Amsterdam in 2006, we have continued to work together on various projects, of which this is one. Our evolving friendship has brought forth this book series Art / Knowledge / Theory that contains this volume. Other books in our series to date include Embodied Fantasies: From Awe to Artifice and Mika Elo and Miika Luoto’s Senses of Em- bodiment: Art, Technics, Media. Future publications will include: Frank Gillette: Axis of Observation. In this volume, we investigate the nature of perception and phenomenology as it applies to image-making processes inherent in the current intersections be- tween the visual arts and biological sciences. As an interdisciplinary project, our own methodologies form a nexus underscored by those of art history, art theory, and philosophy. Connecting theory and practice, as we have learned from Gustave Flaubert’s insightful short story Bouvard et Pécuchet, does not always line up congruently. In this fanciful story, the two protagonists retire from their positions as copy-clerks and move to the country to engage their passion – the pursuit of obtaining knowledge. No matter what they learn,...

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