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lecture_3 - Lecture 3: Alberti and the (untrustworthy)...

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Lecture 3: Alberti and the (untrustworthy) power of man-made images. Transcribed by B. Alex Miller. When you need something done accurately – Please remove humans. The machine and the media of reproduction – the attempted removal of the human from the process of reproduction. Within the discussions surrounding Alberti’s production of his treatise and his creation of a machine for reproducing the plan of the city of Rome in the middle 15th century, one consistent derivative theme that underlies portions of both developments is the desire for removal of subjective human intervention on the modes of reproduction. In Alberti’s documented insistence on the removal of actual illustrations for his architectural treatise, the attempt was to summarily remove the subjective results of human intervention from the reproduction of this work. Because of written text’s signifying status, the lack of fidelity inherent in physical human intervention has little effect on the true result of the text’s meaning. This is why Alberti’s request for the ablation of illustration is significant: it is the only input that would be completely dependent on physical input from a human. With its removal, Alberti was trying to assure a certain level of fidelity that simply could not be maintained through physical human input. Alberti also transposed the physical presence of text to allow for the visualization of graphic form, thus eschewing its typical condition within the signifying structures of actual words and phrases: Although this method of transposition of illustration was actually relying on the physical production of the text, there was an already a culturally established graphic notion that allowed the adequate reproduction of its graphic presence. In other words, Alberti was willing to depend on established social and cultural norms to
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lecture_3 - Lecture 3: Alberti and the (untrustworthy)...

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