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See detailLa stratification temporelle dans l'image scientifique
Dondero, Maria Giulia ULg

in Protée. Revue internationale de théories et de pratiques sémiotiques (2009), 37(3), 33-44

Our article develops an analysis of methods and strategies of visual representation of temporal layers in two disciplines, which aim at the dating of phenomena and objects: astrophysics and archaeology ... [more ▼]

Our article develops an analysis of methods and strategies of visual representation of temporal layers in two disciplines, which aim at the dating of phenomena and objects: astrophysics and archaeology. This analysis aims to establish an inventory of the different status of images brought into play by these two disciplines, in the common objective of representing temporal stratification. It involves showing how this same objective can involve very different techniques and iconographic results in the two cases, and to see how these different solutions can be comparable. More specifically, semiotic analysis is about the comparison between images produced in astrophysics by spectral analysis, and the images produced in the domain of archaeology, that is to say the images of soil stratifications and buried installations obtained by non-invasive methods such as aerial prospecting and geophysical prospecting. We begin with the hypothesis that the methods of image fabrication of these two disciplines are comparable, because both come from visualisations which reconstruct data in the laboratory (imaging), but the different levels of «allographing» (Nelson Goodman) of this data required by the two disciplines (very high in the case of astrophysics, less so in the case of archaeology), are studied by hypothesising that these levels of allographing are linked, and justified by sub-objectives concerning the representation of temporal succession: indeed, the images in archaeology aim to show the different temporal layers of the past that are hidden from our direct perception, while the images in astrophysics aim to construct a temporal cartography of the past, present and future of stars. The principal aim of the analysis of corpora involves finally understanding how images are the incarnation of the different sub-objectives of the two disciplines: compacting what is in the universe in one case, exfoliating what is stratified underground in the other. [less ▲]

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