Jonathan Crary
The MIT Press, Cambridge. MA, 1992, 1990, English
Nonfiction, Art and Cultural History
ISBN: 9780262031691

From the Publisher. Techniques of the Observer provides a dramatically new perspective on the visual culture of the 19th century, reassessing problems of both visual modernism and social modernity. This analysis of the historical formation of the observer is a compelling account of the prehistory of the society of the spectacle.

On 1 book list
Véronique Vienne

[Crary's] first book, Techniques of the Observer, is considered a classic. Its cover features an anatomical drawing of a frightened patient whose eye is undergoing a surgical intervention, an image that dramatically illustrates Crary’s own probing into the various forms of inquiry that are at the origins of our visual culture. His account of how the concept of “paying attention” was manufactured in the nineteenth century challenges the assumption that being mentally focused is a natural state.

Also see my comments on Suspensions of Perception for an appreciation of Crary’s work.

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