How have we come to accept and circulate as everyday snapshots the obscure output of ultrasound, M.R.I. and CT-scan technology? On a primitive level, crude renderings of the inside of our bodies simply look spooky. On a more sophisticated level, these magnetic-resonance images apparently show traces of our hydrogen atoms magnetized, spun by radio waves and amplified to make soft tissue visible. That's no less spooky.
Today's new methods of making and sharing digital images have not allowed us to see things more clearly, in other words. Rather, they've introduced new kinds of visual and auditory static. The Internet's greatest production might in fact be just this beguiling static, unpredictable bytes of sound and light that fly around in cyberspace until someone interprets them.
(Via The Anomalist.)
Sunday, December 16, 2007