Project (2012)

Communicating Subjective Vision

Carmine Grimaldi's research focused on the physiology of vision in the early nineteenth century, and in particular the investigation of subjective visual phenomena. Among those who studied vision in the early nineteenth century, there emerged a growing consensus that the strange slips of the eye offered a uniquely fruitful topic. But it was not immediately clear how these subjective results could be communicated to the community at large. How does one turn subjective phenomena into an object of broad scientific discussion?
Carmine Grimaldi's project examined the way that subjective visual experiences and the norms of communication influenced each other. Once one discovered a notable optical phenomenon, what were the most compelling means to convey it? And for those receiving these reports, what was considered an adequate representation? And what were the criteria for verification? Her broad interest was in historically situating perception, exploring how vision can shape representation, and as to how representation might affect visual experiences.
This research primarily focused on Britain, but extended into the context of Central Europe (especially the works of Jan Evangelista Purkinje and Johannes Müller). While at the MPIWG, she continued this research towards better understanding the ways in which physiologists of vision communicated with each other throughout Central Europe.