Representation (playback)

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Under representation (semantic root DAR "passed public", compare performance, loans , proffer) refers to the translation of facts , events or abstract concepts by means of signs , performative actions or models . Historically, the representation ranges from oral transmission to drama to computer graphics and includes numerous methods of conveying text , images and artistic performance .

The philosopher Charles S. Peirce proposed the term icon for signs that have a recognizable resemblance to what is designated .


Representation presupposes the will to mediate in that something is clarified, recorded or transported. It deviates from the ideal of an unintentionally "expressed" reality , even as a "true" image . Such deviations can be due to technical reasons as traces of their medium, or they are deliberate changes, for example with the aim of interpretation or emphasis. The relationship between a work of art and its possible originals is complex, as the implementation is determined by the intentions of the artist and the respective art style . The representation is still shaped by the selected medium, rhetorical means or artistic techniques and conventions. There are also representations without an objective model, such as in abstract art or music .

Representation as measurement instead of juggling: woodcut by Albrecht Dürer , 1525

Representation concepts have always been in conflict between supporters and opponents of mimesis in the course of European history . The Platonic distrust of the representation as mere appearance, which entered the Christian worldview, has been tempered in modern times by the scientific-technical insight that in many cases one can reliably infer effects from causes ( causality ): the tinted or with water Filled glass does not deceive by kinking a stick or displaying it in the wrong color, but changes the light according to reliable principles. The supposed deception (Plato made the sense of sight responsible for it in his theory of ideas ) is disempowered by knowledge of its manufacturing process.

A central projection as in the modern panel painting can be done mechanically by measurements, in contrast to the symbolism of the medieval arrangement. Perspective differences in size are no longer juggled because they can be measured, as Plato claimed in Politeia . The creative will of an artist, who increasingly makes use of them, can be distinguished from these principles.

In the case of scientific or technical models, specific aspects can be highlighted in order to visually identify connections or details. A clear distinction between emphasis and forgery is sought. For example, there may be changes in color or scale , which are often subject to certain conventions. Examples of this are cartography and architectural representations . As a visualization , a representation can also visually illustrate abstract facts such as data collections or processes by converting them as graphic elements and symbols. The highlighting of relevant details can, however, also be a falsifying representation.

Concrete meanings

  • In many humanities , the text of a scientific paper is referred to as a representation, as a distinction to the previous research activity on the one hand and the scientific apparatus ( notes ) such as footnotes, references, etc. on the other. Ä.
  • In historical studies , "representation" refers to the modern, non-contemporary investigation of an (original) source : primary source in contrast to "secondary literature" (= "representation"), corresponding to the contrast between information and commentary in the news media.
  • In the context of history and archeology , the representation of past life worlds with the help of reconstructed clothing and objects is called living history . If it concerns concrete historical events, the representation is called reenactment .

Web links

Wiktionary: representation  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations