The Scientific Instruments in Holbein’s Ambassadors: A Re-Examination via Vanessa Place

The Scientific Instruments in Holbein’s Ambassadors: A Re-Examination
Vision is ordered according to a mode that may generally be called the function of images. Anamorphosis is a distorted projection or perspective requiring the viewer to use special devices or occupy a specific vantage point to reconstitute the image. “Ana – morphosis” comes from the Greek words meaning “formed again. A supranuclear gaze palsy is an inability to look in a particular direction as a result of cerebral impairment. There is a loss of the voluntary aspect of eye movements, but, as the brainstem is still intact, all the reflex conjugate eye movements are normal. The general assumption has been that these discrepancies are intentional, lending support to an interpretation of the painting as an allegorical commentary on the religious and political events in Europe in the 1530s. Unfortunately most descriptions of the scientific instruments have been flawed because they rely too heavily on inadequate secondary literature. This picture is simply what any picture is, a trap for the gaze.
-Vanessa Place, Los Angeles


Vanessa Place killed poetry. – anon. via Twitter
Vanessa Place writes poetry, prose and art criticism; she is also a criminal lawyer and co-director of Les Figues Press.
Her most recent work is available in French as Exposé des Faits, and in English as Statement of Facts.
Of Vanessa Place and Robert Fitterman’s Notes on Conceptualisms, Mary Kelly said, “I learned more about the impact of conceptualism on artists and writers than I had from reading so-called canonical works on the subject.”
Kenneth Goldsmith has called Vanessa Place’s work “arguably the most challenging, complex and controversial literature being written today.”
 Vanessa Place n’est pas une femme banale. Avocate à Los Angeles, critique d’art, écrivain…les photographies la montrent les bras tatoués, toute de noir vêtue comme une rockeuse. Son premier opus traduit en français (et son sixième ouvrage) : Exposé des faits ressemble à son auteur : il est étrange et fort. Parfois la littérature expérimentale est purifiante. – Stephanie Hochet
Vanessa Place’s performances, whose rigour, control and deep invention showed her near perfect mastery of / slavery to deliberate and conscious poetic performance/utterance, a frighteningly terminal position. – Peter Philpott
Vanessa Place is writing terminal poetry. – Rae Armantrout

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