Posts Tagged ‘colors’

Since there has been a lot of debate about the nature of science and the role of scientists, I thought that some of you might be interested in a discussion on “Visualizing Science”. This discussion is interesting not only for scientists. I think is is also relevant for historians. Participants in the discussion stress the importance of illustrating scientific knowledge through art, in order to inform the wider public on the challenges of the modern science.

Some would argue that science and art are incompatible. By their essence, science is about analyzing data and drawing conclusions, while art is about creation and improvisation. So, it is right to argue that to a certain extent, by trying to illustrate complex concepts, artists might distort their meaning. But, at the same time, in this way, they focus the attention of the wider public on these subjects. Thus, they facilitate the interaction of the public with scientific knowledge.

In addition, the fact that two scientists are trained to talk about certain things does not mean that, in their discussion, they just interchange their own brains. Certainly, they use language to express their thoughts and in this way they transform their scientific concepts from the world of ideas to sentences and words. So, one can say that they will never come to fully transmit their own ideas. In this way, images can add a new perspective on the scientific knowledge.

So far, I talked only about science, but at a closer look, the lines from above could easily apply to the realm of historical scholarship. After all, aren’t we not facing difficulties in expressing our ideas? Well, these difficulties are faced by every human being. Of course, but with us, the problem is much more visible because the language is in fact our main professional tool.

These thoughts came to my mind while I was engaged in colorizing the images for my final project. Surprisingly, I am not worried that I will get the colors wrong. Why? Well, because, as well as with words, images could not provide a full description of the past. Moreover, how can images and words provide a “true representation of the past” if they cannot do it even with the present.

Of course, this does not mean that I will use arbitrary colors for my images. All that I can do is to approximate the colors of the time to convey a glance into that historical period. In addition, I think the goal of this exercise is not only to approximate the reality, but also to engage the attention of the public to this intriguing aspect if studying history.


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