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.

You do not currently have access to this content.