Working in the early 1930s, the biologist Jakob von Uexküll and his illustrator Georg Kriszat create a series of improvised pictures that speculate how different eyes see – a village street scene, the scene re-photographed through a screen, and then painted for the eye of a fly and a mollusc. The series is reproduced in their 1934 book Streifzüge durch die Umwelten von Tieren und Menschen: Ein Bilderbuch unsichtbarer Welten, first translated into English by Claire Schiller under the title A Stroll through the Worlds of Animals and Men: A Picture Book of Invisible Worlds. While the conventional science of the day took animals as objects understandable according to physical measures and laws, Uexküll argues they are embodied subjects with distinct viewpoints of their own. His name for this is Umwelt – a world as it unfolds for “animals themselves” (Uexküll and Kriszat 1957, p. 5). We cannot fully know or experience the Umwelt of another animal but might “gain an intuition” – to this end the collaborators combine a knowledge of comparative physiology with experimental photography and watercolour painting (Uexküll 2010, p. 63).
|Title of host publication||Distributed Perception|
|Subtitle of host publication||Resonances and Axiologies|
|Editors||Natasha Lushetich, Iain Campbell|
|Place of Publication||London|
|Number of pages||12|
|Publication status||Published - 30 Dec 2021|