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Desktop ○ Dominic Neuwirth


Fig. 1 Dominic Neuwirth, Initital Image for Social Media Protocoll Nr.1., Collage, Zürich 2019.


Fig. 2 Dominic Neuwirth, Details (rasterization) of initial image.


Fig. 3 Dominic Neuwirth, Details (rasterization) of initial image.


Fig. 4 Dominic Neuwirth, Export of individual squares from previous screening process.


Fig. 5 Giorgio de Chirico, Guillaume Apollinaire, 1914, oil on canvas, 81.5 x 65 cm, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. In: Gérard Legrand, Giorgio de Chirico (Berlin: Rembrandt, 1976).


Fig. 6 Anonymus, around 1150, Boethius reviewing his Consolation, Oxford, Bodleian Lib., Auct. F. 6.5. fol VII v (Courcelle 1967 planche 8).


Fig. 7 Social media presence of the project Iconography of Philosophy on Instagram.


Fig. 8 Social media presence of the project Iconography of Philosophy on Instagram.


Fig. 9 Social media presence of the project Iconography of Philosophy on Instagram.


Fig. 10 Dominic Neuwirth, Target image for Social Media Protocol No. 1, appearance on Instagram (as of 29.01.2019), Zürich, 2019.

The point of departure for this contribution are the image protocols developed during the project Iconography of Philosophy. In response to those I created “social media protocols” with the goal of finding ways for transferring the information from the image protocols to platforms such as Instagram and Twitter, and thus to establish whether such popular channels are suitable for presenting materials developed in academic research.
These considerations were motivated by five illustrations found in a manuscript of Boethius’ Consolatio Philosophiae (Ms. lat. fol. 25) accessed in the Staatsbibliothek Berlin. All of these illustrations show a round table at the centre of a room that serves as a backdrop for writing tools and notes – a desk. The desk as an object represents a form of collected knowledge that manifests itself not only in writing, but also in the various objects situated on the table. The desk is a place of upheaval, it stands for processes of searching rather than discrete events of knowing. If we read the surface of the table as an infinitely large stage, it becomes evident that it must be a place of immense potential.
Today, we are increasingly moving towards digital desktops. The table once busy with writing objects degenerates more and more to become a mere pedestal for a parallel universe in the form of an abstract computing system. Although the spectrum of possibilities has broadened and become denser as a result of this digital desktop, the activities are reminiscent of those on the table painted in 1485.
This line of thought was the starting point for my creative considerations. I digitally created a white surface as representation of an empty desktop. The white surface was then covered with visual data generated during the research on the iconography of the Consolation (scans, image protocols, galleries, text excerpts etc.). The result is a collage of images that represents different access points to the subject of my investigation – the Boethius manuscript.  
To fit into the Instagram format, the collage was rasterized and divided into plots of equal size. The resulting squares were exported individually, splitting the original image into puzzle-like pieces. Each exported section works as an autonomous image, yet the combination of the different sections reveals that they are parts of a whole, i.e., they relate to each other. The resulting fragments are supplemented by selected images from the image database Prometheus visualising and reflecting the process of a concurrent research project.

Dominic Neuwirth is a Swiss artist (installation, concept art, text). After completing his BA in Fine Arts with a focus on Media Art at Zürich University for the Arts, he subsequently obtained his M.A. in Fine Arts from the same institution in 2018.

Dominic worked as a research assistant for the project Iconography of Philosophy.

illustration; philosophy; Boethius; dialogic communication; social media

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