Image Studies

Image Studies

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KEYWORDS: Hermeneutics / Hubble Space Telescope / Hypericon

HERMENEUTICS is a theory of interpretation that has its roots in the philosophy of ancient Greece. It emerged in the Middle Ages as a study of Biblical texts and then came to include the study of ancient and classic cultures. The terms ‘hermeneutics’ and ‘exegesis’ are sometimes used interchangeably, but exegesis focuses primarily upon texts, whereas modern hermeneutics includes both verbal and nonverbal communication as well as semiotics. Hermeneutics also has many social applications, from the interpretation of materials in archaeology to the interpretation of law, for example.

HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE is one of NASA‘s most successful and long-lasting science missions. It has beamed hundreds of thousands of images back to Earth, shedding light on many of the great mysteries of astronomy. Its gaze has helped determine the age of the universe, the identity of quasars, and the existence of dark energy, making it one of NASA’s most successful and long-running science missions. More than 10,000 scientific articles have been published based on Hubble data; the sheer amount of data based on Hubble observations has  helped make it one of history’s most important observatories.

HYPERICON is a term used by W.J.T. Mitchell to mean a metapicture (a picture about a picture) that encapsulates a whole system of knowledge. For example, in Picture Theory: Essays on Verbal and Visual Representation he cites the famous metapicture of the Duck-Rabbit as the ideal hypericon for Wittgenstein because of its multistability; it is ‘an emblem of resistance to stable interpretation, to being taken in at a glance.’ (Mitchell: 1995, p.50).

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