PRINT April 1988



HOMO SAPIENS’ CURIOUS ABILITY to make pictures of the world may be observed in images on cave walls that coincide with the earliest days of human consciousness. Lately, however, a new capacity is emerging—we can now make pictures of calculations, and these may be observed in images on computer screens. Both these capacities manifest themselves in the shape of pictures, but they should be distinguished from each other. If they are not, we risk missing the point of the cultural revolution of our time.

To make a picture of something in the world, one must step back from it. The question is, Where to? It’s easy to answer, From one place to another. If one wants to make a picture of a pony, for instance, as the cave artists did in the Dordogne, one must watch it from a certain distance and vantage. But we know from experience that this is not the whole answer. When making a picture, we not only

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