Translating the invisible
: metaphors in art and science

  • Jan Świerkowski (Student)

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This study engages in the debate found within the genre of artsci, the intersection between art and science, and more specifically with Visualizing the Invisible, the creative conjuncture of art with physics and its subsequent subfields. Following Arthur I. Miller on both accounts, it was undertaken in order to present a systematic approach to support artistic intervention(s) in the Invisible World that can transgress the cultural dichotomy between art and science and contribute to further development of artsci. The critical achievement of this dissertation is the description and analysis of a postulated practical modus operandi that combines the processes of artistic creation with theoretical concepts of Cognitive Culture Studies, applied to the field of Visualizing the Invisible. This could allow curators and artists to look critically at the cognitive aspects of their work, elucidate the processes of negotiation of their meaning, and adjust the processes of creation accordingly. The modus operandi has been identified on the basis of a multi-level analysis of the work by a collective of artists and scientists curated by me - Instytut B61, specifically, the immersive multimodal performance Ewolucja Gwiazd (eng. Evolution of Stars) presented in Poland and India. The first two chapters of the study can also be read as an independent contribution to the development of the academic field of artsci due to the theoretical attempt to define the cognitive boundaries of Visualizing the Invisible. The novelty and perspicacity of Arthur I. Miller’s writings on visual imagery and ideas that highlight how the human mind copes with scientific abstraction through visualization or visualizability, are of great importance for this part of the study. In my analysis of Visualizing the Invisible I apply methodologies of cognitive studies, translation studies, and semiotics, including different theories regarding cognitive metaphors and conceptual blends. Special attention is given to the cultural dynamics of such processes in addressing their mental, material, and social conditions. The result is a comprehensive study, that not only focuses on the case studies but also provides a relevant cultural, philosophical, and historical context for considerations about the possible influence of artsci on contemporary culture.
Date of Award29 Jun 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorPeter Hanenberg (Supervisor)


  • Art
  • Science
  • Visualization
  • Visualizability
  • Metaphors
  • Conceptual blends
  • Particle physics


  • Doutoramento em Estudos de Cultura

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