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The Helmholtz CurvesTracing Lost Time$
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Henning Schmidgen

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780823261949

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823261949.001.0001

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Semiotic Things

Semiotic Things

(p.41) Two Semiotic Things
The Helmholtz Curves

Henning Schmidgen

Fordham University Press

Drawing on Bruno Latour’s notion of “circulating reference,” this chapter shows how the curves that Helmholtz recorded in the context of his time experiments were meant to be integrated into his publications. The first step was to produce imprints of these curves on a flat, transparent, cohesive substance called “ising glass” or “fish glue.” Based on these imprints, Helmholtz then devised schematic drawings of the curves recorded. The final step was to have the drawings transformed into etchings that could be printed along with his published articles.

Keywords:   Hermann von Helmholtz, Time Experiments, Graphic Method, Bruno Latour, Indexicality

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