Often contemporary artistic practice uses visual documents from technical and scientific fields, because of their expressive and fascinating forms, transcending and ignoring original uses and functions.
Phonology uses Palatography to detect anatomical mechanisms in producing human speech. In this book, its concrete form is photographic imagery; in particular, photographs of the roof of the mouth touched by the tongue in articulating specific sounds. Pneumatica conducted an interview with Professor Keith Johnson, a prominent scientist in the linguistic field and director of the PhonLab of Berkeley University, about these documents and what they mean. Fascinating on other registers, the subject, form, and use of these documents is restricted to a specialized field of science. The original function and use of visual documents from a specific field changes our perception of them, passing from immediate and natural response, emotionally and semiotically hybrid, to an informed one–material, literal, rational.
This book exposes critical issues related to documental images. Are they free of subjective interpretation? Should we always look for their original use and function? Is our immediate and natural response to them sufficient? Or should we always doubt our spontaneous responses to them?