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Women in Art and Science
  • ISSN: 1477-965X
  • E-ISSN: 1758-9533

Abstract

This article looks at the positioning of the aesthetic in microscopy to understand how it can be both side-lined and deployed. It considers the boundary between the pictorial and the notational in current microscopy practice and speculates on a space of mutual relation. Microscopy’s dual threads of capture for data analysis and capture for publication reveal complicated relationships and conflicted stances, reflective of a broader iconoclastic tendency in microscopy where the image as enacted perception is erased while the notation generated and carried by these images is preserved. This article seeks to suggest a space in which phenomena are situated, materially embedded and emergent through imaging practices. I ground my position on experimental imaging of bacterial iridescence to consider the entanglement of microscopy’s living image with its processes of making-seen. Microscopy is instrumental in supporting descriptive-explanatory claims on biological life yet is also implicated in the generation of novel, hybrid phenomena and sensibilities. Exploring both tendencies exposes a microscopy of permeable membranes and suggests alternative orientations through microscopy practice and its images.

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2024-01-24
2024-06-14
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