Realism in the Age of the Simulated Image: Two Black Holes

Peter Nelson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


This paper examines the production and reception of two scientific images of black holes, the 2019 image of the M87 black hole and Gargantua from Christopher Nolan’s 2014 film Interstellar. The author argues that these two images of unobservable phenomena crystallize a definition of contemporary realism. In an information-rich society a simulated image achieves realism by compressing large amounts of data into an intelligible image using an algorithmic methodology that the viewer trusts as scientifically reliable and therefore realistic.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)489-492
Number of pages4
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Music
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Computer Science Applications


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