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Techniques of the Observer: On Vision and Modernity in the 19th Century (October Books) Paperback – February 25, 1992

ISBN-13: 978-0262531078 ISBN-10: 0262531070

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Techniques of the Observer: On Vision and Modernity in the 19th Century (October Books) + Suspensions of Perception: Attention, Spectacle, and Modern Culture (October Books) + 24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep
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Product Details

  • Series: October Books
  • Paperback: 183 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (February 25, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262531070
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262531078
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.9 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #103,050 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Nimbly interweaving the histories of science, technology, philosophy, popular culture, and the visual arts, Jonathan Crary provides a stunning challenge to conventional wisdom about the epochal transformation of visual culture in the nineteenth century. Techniques of the Observer will be a vital resource for anyone concerned with the complex interaction of technological modernization and aesthetic modernism." Martin Jay , University of California at Berkeley

About the Author

Jonathan Crary is Meyer Schapiro Professor of Modern Art and Theory at Columbia University. A founding editor of Zone Books, he is the author of Techniques of the Observer (MIT Press, 1990) and coeditor of Incorporations (Zone Books, 1992). He has been the recipient of Guggenheim, Getty, Mellon, and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships and was a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Audrey Kuenstler on March 30, 2005
Format: Paperback
HUGE thumbs up. Crary historicizes technological vision and illuminates an underrepresented point: things we're taught to think of as objective, such as cameras and vision, are in fact quite subjective and historical. They're ideas first, which means social/cultural ideas, from design to usage. Gradually these cultural ideas plus economic and technological possibility fuse into 'things'. The social aspects get invisibly embedded into these 'things' through myths of objectivity and modern people's desire to be taken care of by machines. When cultural values become things we are conditioned not to see the subjective part. Why? Our primary way of thinking is still the way of the Enlightenment -- from the 18th century -- which loves measuring and equating and separates 'myth' from 'science'. [Which is which? as Roger Waters asks, Do you think you can tell?] Western high culture privileges thinking and seeing over affect and body, imagining they are separate and valuing one over the other. Really it's just an excuse for laziness and cultural arrogance.

Read this book along with Eric Michaels' _Bad Aboriginal Art_ and Adorno and Horkheimer's _Dialectic of Enlightenment_ to begin to see glimpses of Western cultural values and narratives embedded in today's supposedly 'objective' media such as photography, video, TV, vision, etc. Do the work and eventually technology will be a mirror of your own social/historical context.
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19 of 42 people found the following review helpful By HeyMardie on September 1, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Crary presents some interesting views on the perception of art. I found that it took a while for his ideas to formulate - the writing tends to be a bit wordy. I would recommend the book with reservations - really only for the serious academic reader. Not a casual bedside book.
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3 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Chen Yi Chun on February 12, 2009
Format: Paperback
lt tall me how to see,who to READ the wold.I get many important concept.
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