M87*: Visualizing the End of Visibility

The book ends with a kind of paradox, one which clearly outlines the contours of one possible iconology of abstraction. In a coda, Yanai Toister argues that the way the images of the Messier 87 Galaxy were created—that is, using computer-generated visualizations of the black hole fifty-five million light-years from Earth—clearly demonstrates our urge to abstraction. Just like Wilhelm Worringer stated more than a hundred years ago, this author also thinks that when people are interested in picturing that which they do not see, but which is present nevertheless, and when they strive to represent the invisible nature of the human race or the universe, there are always smaller or bigger parts of the unknown that need to be imagined, and therefore constructed based on calculation, approximation and abstraction. (Krešimir Purgar).

(Please email for paper, full book available from Routledge)