Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Seeing Life with Digital Eyes: Vertov's Kino-Eye Revisited

Nayeli Garci-Crespo.

In July of 2003, conjoined twins Ladan and Laleh Bijani died during an attempted surgical separation. An article in October’s Wired magazine stated that one of the causes of the surgery’s failure was an over-reliance on “a new generation of virtual reality anatomical models.” Despite this loss, there is a generally optimistic attitude toward digital imaging in medicine, where it is relied upon as once the microscope and X-rays were for greater and more accurate knowledge and the preservation of life. Remarkably, the language used to convey the possibilities of medical imaging technologies to a popular audience— part adaptations of older, more familiar medical imaging technology terms, part references to science fiction--is very similar to Soviet filmmaker Dziga Vertov’s writing about the camera as instrument of vision and its use in the pursuit of “truth.” However, modern science’s narrowed definition of life contrasts deeply with Vertov’s concept of life. What can we learn about the place of imagining technology in our search for knowledge about ourselves by comparing these two moments in its history?


Nayeli Garci-Crespo  (United States)
Graduate Student
Film/Video/Digital Program
Duke University

Nayeli Garci-Crespo is a Ph.D. student in the Duke University Program in Literature and Film/Video/Digital Program from Mexico City. Her dissertation, “Becoming Digital,” explores the cultural reaction to the emerging technologies of digital imaging in film, video, and scientific applications and compares this to issues introduced by the beginnings of photography and cinema.

  • Digital Imaging
  • Medical Imaging
  • Biological Definition of Life
  • Kino-Eye
  • Image-Guided Surgery
  • Search for Truth
  • Knowledge Through Vision
  • Documentary
  • Vision
  • Positivism
  • Inscription
  • Model
  • Film Editing
  • Camera as Scientific Instrument
  • Visual Knowledge
  • Living Subject
  • Image Manipulation
  • Representation
  • Index
  • Icon
Person as Subject
  • Vertov, Dziga

(30 min. presentation, English)