IMAGE 3 (Ausgabe Januar 2006) 


  • Klaus Sachs-Hombach: Einleitung

  • Heiko Hecht: Film as dynamic event perception Technological development forces realism to retreat

  • Hermann Kalkofen: Inversion und Ambiguität. Ein Kapitel aus der psychologischen Optik

  • Kai Buchholz: Imitationen – mehr Schein als Sein?

  • Claudia Gliemann : Bilder in Bildern. Endogramme von Eggs & Bitschin

  • Christoph Asmuth: Die Als-Struktur des Bildes


Autor: Klaus Sachs-Hombach
[Thema des Artikels]

Film as dynamic event perception: Technological development forces realism to retreat
Autor: Heiko Hecht
I entertain the thesis that a human need holds the key to understanding event perception in film. Bazin entertained that photographs freed western painting from its obsession with realism. I extend this position by claiming that it is a basic human need to always have one medium that stands for the quintessential way to pictorially render reality. Only the medium that produces the currently most realistic renditions will have to be obsessed with realism. When motion pictures still replaced photography as the superior medium, photographs were - in turn - freed from the burden of realism. Movies will only be caught in this role until a superior medium – maybe virtual reality environments – becomes mainstream. This chapter assesses the remaining differences between natural viewing and motion pictures from the point of view of dynamic event perception. It takes a closer look at the perceptual regularities that constitute natural events, and the extent to which the same regularities can be captured in film. It then explores the violations of these regularities that occur in motion pictures. Some of these violations, such as the camera position at the time of recording differing from the spectator’s viewpoint, cannot be helped. Other violations, such as temporal cuts and jumps between scenes, could be avoided. This opens up the question why directors choose to violate some laws of natural viewing while they stay away from violating others. Among these self-imposed limitations that the director chooses for her or his work are spatiotemporal constraints and causality constraints. I argue that directors have violated almost every single spatio-temporal law that holds for natural events. The causality of natural events, on the other hand, is rarely touched in film: Objects do not spontaneously assemble out of dust, things fall down rather than up, etc. Thus, as progressively as directors play with place, time, and viewpoint, they are extremely conservative when it comes to the causality of events. Even cartoons and science fiction movies only scratch the surface and violate but a few minor causal laws. Does the psychology of dynamic event perception forbid serious violation of event causality in film? Or do directors merely follow self-imposed constraints because they are using the medium whose function it is to depict reality?

Inversion und Ambiguität. Ein Kapitel aus der psychologischen Optik
Autor: Hermann Kalkofen
Optical inversion and ambiguity are not all the same thing. Within the relevant literature inversion seems to appear first. In 1613, in the fourth of his Opticorum Libri sex
– illustrated by Rubens – Aguilonius mentions the nonveridical perception of concave hollows (for instance marks of cannon balls on a fortress’ walls) as convex bumps. If this view persists, as it is generally the case, inversion without ambiguity or forced inversion occurs. Inversion with ambiguity is, on the other hand, addressed by Robert Smith 1738, Porterfield 1759 or Sinsteden 1860, when they describe how the sails of a distant windmill allow an observer to recognize that their rotation-plane is tilted compared to the fronto-parallel one, but not their direction, so that it remains undecided, what is front, what is rear. Equivalence of front and back owing to parallel projection is equally the case in pictorial space; Necker 1832 observed »a sudden and involuntary change in the apparent position of a crystal or solid representend in an engraved figure« (Dember 1964: 78), and Schröder’s ›Stair-case‹ (1858) was always a plane reversal figure. Soon after the French Revolution, about 1793, a picture puzzle was originated which enclosed the profiles of the recently executed royal couple; Rubin’s ›Goblet‹ with its rivalling contours could well have been modelled on this. Another class of reversal figures contains Jastrow’s ›Duck-Rabbit‹ and the ›Wife/Mother-in-Law-figure. Inversion with ambiguity brings about »that alternative perceptions can arise from the same optic array« (Gibson 1966: 246). This alternation of aspects has been on the minds of theorists from Wundt till Wittgenstein and has been used for the elucidation of views.

Imitationen – mehr Schein als Sein?
Autor: Kai Buchholz
Being iconic signs, pictures usually stand in a particular relation of similarity to the objects they represent. Although similarity hence plays a major role within the discipline of image science, the peculiar properties of this similarity relation cannot be easily defined. The following philosophical investigation into the nature of a different form of similarity, namely imitation, will shed some new light on the concept of similarity within image science, thereby contributing to a better understanding of this difficult concept.

Bilder in Bildern. Endogramme von Eggs & Bitschin
Autor: Claudia Gliemann
The work of the Swiss artists Eggs & Bitschin concentrates on the ›inner recordings‹ of pictures. They look into the interior of pictures, descend into their depth, focus on details that can not be perceived when walking by. The zoom is their tool. Endograms are what they call the pictures developed from ›looking inside‹, which they do not treat as paintings but use as windows or place as sculptures. The article reflects upon the pictures from pictures by Eggs & Bitschin in relationship to Jan van Eycks Marriage of Giovanni Arnolfini, Michelangelo Antonioni’s film Blow Up, Dan Flavin’s works in fluorescent light as well as Georgia O’ Keeffes floral pictures.

Die Als-Struktur des Bildes
Autor: Christoph Asmuth
This paper aims to develop a conception of the pictorial function by reconstructing the structures inherent in the concept of the image itself. It will be shown that image and sign differ in their function while at the same time displaying a common basis: underlying both image and sign is an as-structure characterized by the difference of and within the image. This structure is the condition of the possibility of the occurrence of meaning within a context and at the same time the ground of the possibility of using images and signs in novel contexts. The concept of the image reveals itself to be a relational concept with at least two terms: the picture and the depicted. It is characteristic of this relationship that it is not the external relation of two objects in space; rather it can be termed an ›as-structure‹ essentially determined by negation. Here I distinguish between three argumentative moments marked by an increasing degree of complexity: the as-structure as, respectively, the function of depiction, reference, and contextualization.