Techniques of the Observer. On Vision and Modernity in the Nineteenth Century
2014, 256 pp.
Jonathan Crary is an art critic and historian and is Meyer Schapiro Professor of Modern Art and Theory at Columbia University in New York. He is also one of the founders and an editor of Zone Books — an independent publishing house focused on the books on history, history of art, political science, anthropology and philosophy.
In his book “Techniques of the Observer” Jonathan Crary examines the history of visual culture and social problems of modernity. In the beginning of the XIXth century the observer becomes the site of new discourses and practices that situate vision within the body as a physiological event. This new understanding substitutes classical model of vision and it’s unfailing symbol — Camera Obscura. By analyzing optical devices of the past and it’s phantasmagoric effects, Jonathan Crary reveals the consequences of this transformation of the nature of visuality.