The Making Visible project warmly invites you to a film screening and academic discussion of In Waking Hours. The film will be introduced by the filmmakers, Sarah and Katrien Vanagt, and the discussion will be moderated by Simon Schaffer.
In this 18 minute film, filmmaker Sarah Vanagt and historian Katrien Vanagt recreate the optical experiment of the 17th-century Dutch physician Vopiscus Plempius. He described how to take the eye of a cow, remove its layers at the back, and use its lense as a camera obscura to recreate the outside world as a perfect painting. The film begins in a darkened room in Brussels – it could as well be in the seventeenth century – where the experiment is taking place, and we find as viewers the combination of the curiosity to discover, the carefulness of a researcher, and a child’s excitement of something new and strange. The film explores notions of vision and viewing, ultimately giving the audience a chance to, literally, see the world through the eyes of another. Combining historical research with modern-day filmmaking, In Waking Hours is both an experimental art film and a treatise on early modern experiments and vision.