Once we begin to take working images with their orderings and movements seriously, we will not only begin to appreciate their productive role as essential elements within a procedure, and become more sensitive to the number of different kinds of internal notebooks that may be employed. But we will also begin to appreciate the power attached to their mutability as observational tools in the service of exploration, control, and seeing; again, something that sets them fundamentally apart from the immutable mobiles, or the published images in wide circulation in the service of a collective empiricism. I am particularly at pains to show how the active manipulation and variability of the working images found within the observing books were managed, ordered and arranged so as to serve the individual scientific observer. As elements constantly unsettled and on the move through the procedures, working images contributed to the stabilization and immutability of what visually resulted. It is precisely these features of the working images as observational tools that have gone unnoticed when the focus is placed on them as individual sketches, standing alone, rather than as active participants of a larger, internal process.

A blank piece of paper when understood as being a part and parcel of a procedure of observation, was rarely ever treated by an observer as a mere tabula rasa. For one thing, all that had come before it in the procedures actively informed an apparently empty page; and a piece of paper was often prepared in order to receive and fix an appearance. Before one even sat down at the eyepiece, that is, a paper was prepared by such implements as grids, lines, dots, and triangles that went into controlling and sharpening the attention, the mind, the hand and the eye. These preparations were an explicit attempt to «fix» the phenomena. It is these sorts of preparations made on a piece of paper, whether lines and dots, boxes or circles, squares and triangles, that Bruno Latour’s otherwise helpful notion of «paperwork» does not capture. Paperwork, for him, has much more to do with the collective or socio-cultural processes set in motion with paper (particularly as it travels in the service of a collective empiricism) rather than with the individual processes that occur on paper. I turn instead to the multiple ways in which preliminary drawings and sketches made and ordered on paper acted to stabilize and enhance observations and the resulting phenomena. I look to processes on paper as tools in the service of research that not only directs sight but also internally coordinates the actions of an observer, and consolidates the hands of many.

<<  Ausgabe 03 | Seite 68  >>