A Way of Looking
X-ray vision at first was the revival of the phantasmagoria and ground-penetrating sight of earlier centuries attached to the new technology of X-rays in the early twentieth century. The image-idea of the existence of rays that allow prepared eyes to see into clothing, through walls and into the earth, not feasible in fact, generated fictions and surrogates of how living beings would experience such an ability, what they would do with it and what it would do to them. Expressing both a need and a desire, X-ray vision underwent its own development gathering elements of play, inquiry and assault independent of X-ray technology but converging with microscopy, telescopy, television and surveillance.
About the Author
Retired from a position as an investigator with the Medical Unit of the California State Division of Workers Compensation, Richard Swiderski teaches physical and medical anthropology courses at the community college level.