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Listening to the Body Electric.
Electrophysiology and the Telephone
in the Late 19th Century.


Axel Volmar (Siegen University, Germany and Bern University of the Arts, Switzerland)

Images and visualization technologies are important factors in producing and circulating scientific knowledge. Numerous studies in historical epistemology, visual studies, and art history have been devoted to this subject. However, scientists also employed non-visual techniques in order to broaden their knowledge about specific epistemic objects. To emphasize this point, this essay presents and discusses some methods and instruments of auditory knowledge production that were used in the experimental life sciences of the 19th century.

early telephone
Early telephone. Taken from: Peyer et Favarger. 1897. Prix-Courant de la Fabrique de Télégraphes & Appareils électriques.

Reference: Axel Volmar. 2010. Listening to the Body Electric. Electrophysiology and the Telephone in the Late 19th century. The Virtual Laboratory (ISSN 1866-4784), http://vlp.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/references?id=art76