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The Glass Veil: Seven Adventures in Wonderland


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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Through the Looking Glass: Encounters with Suzanne Anker’s Wonderlands: Sabine Flach



The people nowadays believe that the scientists are there to teach them, and the poets, musicians and artists, etc. to please them. That the latter might have something to teach is not something they consider.1

This remark is found in one of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s notebooks. If, according to Wittgenstein, the arts teach us something, then they must manifest a form of knowledge. It is this knowledge, the knowledge that we find in art, which is the subject matter of what follows. I suggest here, first, that art possesses a specific, irreducible and characteristic domain of knowledge; hence my reflections focus on the particular and productive qualities of art itself. The second train of thought is the assumption that as soon as the knowledge of art is examined, the traditional distinction between theory and practice becomes redundant. As I argue, the two modalities of knowledge production are interlaced in the artwork as artwork – it is characteristic of art to govern production and result in the work itself.

With regard to the dialogic relation between art and science, I suggest a sharpening of focus regarding the distinctions, as opposed to problematic positions demanding the de-differentiation of the two fields. It is, however, not my aim to construct impenetrable boundaries, but rather to make productive use of the differences. And to do so with the aim of a collaborative relation of the fields in terms of complimentary questions and solutions. For there is little sense...

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