Revisiting Marey’s Applications of Scientific Moving Image Technologies in the Context of Bergson’s Philosophy: Audio-Visual Mediation and the Experience of Time
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This paper revisits some early applications of audio-visual imaging technologies used in physiology in a dialogue with reflections on Henri Bergson’s philosophy. It focuses on the aspects of time and memory in relation to spatial representations of movement measurements and critically discusses them from the perspective of the observing participant and the public exhibitions of scientific films. Departing from an audio-visual example, this paper is informed by a thick description of the philosophical implications and contemporary discourses surrounding the scientific inventions, technologies and theories of moving image technologies, representations of time, and the measurement of bodies in motion such as those by the French physiologist Étienne-Jules Marey. The application of Bergson’s thinking will show how the scientific graphing and representations of the body through technologies inevitably stand in tension with the limits and potentials of the ‘human apparatus’ and its abilities, filters and internalised processes of perception, memory and consciousness. It proposes an ontological approach to scientific imaging technologies and a critical engagement with the ‘realism’ debate in the discourse of audio-visual media.