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Seminari "La ciència i els seus públics"
Techniques of Visibility: Seeing the Unseeable on Film and in the Hive. Tania Munz del Max-Planck

Divendres, 11 de juny de 2010 de 11:00-13:00 hrs. (CEHIC-UAB, Sala de reunió)
CEHIC 27/05/2010

Karl von Frisch was an early and enthusiastic producer and user of scientific film. He was the first scientist to show a film to the German Society of Naturalists and Physicians in 1924 and generally accompanied his lectures to scientific, student, and lay audiences with footage of animals. But many of the phenomena he sought to convey lay beyond the direct explanatory reach of the medium  - he used black-and-white, silent film to demonstrate aspects of the bees’ sensory world (such as sound, taste, color, and odor). In this talk, I show how von Frisch trained audiences to read the invisible in the language of black-and-white film. I also discuss how more low-tech techniques of visibility (such as numbering individual bees) had important ontological consequences for what could be seen and known about the hive. This talk situates these cases of low- and high-tech observation in the larger history of scientific observation.

Tania Munz is a research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin. She holds a PhD in the History of Science from Princeton University and works on the history of animal behavior studies. She is working on a book on the physiologist and Nobel Laureate Karl von Frisch, who is most famous for having elucidated the honeybee dance language. Her publications have been on the history of biology and animal behavior studies as well as on the uses of film in science.