Kubler's, The Shape of Time, discusses the limitations which come about when writing the biography of an artist. He finds controversy in the structure of a biography because it does not properly emphasize on the historical question in artists' lives. Kubler compares this analogy to a train; "railroads themselves are the elements of continuity and not the travelers or the functionaries thereon." I believe what he is saying is that we must focus in on the tracks of a railroads as an artist's life and disregard those that travel upon them. A railroad takes many twists and turns, and just as an artist's life does, it can travel in many directions.
Kubler also discusses "entrances" which I believe is the starting point for the artists recognition. People begin at both good and bad starting points which Kubler believes can be that of luck for the individual. There is a question of whether those that being at "bad" starting points are as likely to succeed as those beginning at good starting points with the same amount of talent. Would somebody with extraordinary talent but little wealth have the opportunity to succeed as much as those with great wealth and just as much if not less talent? Kubler identifies "genius" as the inheritable nature and inborn different of kind among men.
The shape of time comes from what anthropologists use to distinguish intangible items, ideas, apart from artifacts. What unites the two is the "history of things" under a visual form. This relates to the concept of visual data which we've been studying because as stated by Kubler, "in short all materials worked by human hands under the guidance of connected ideas developed in temporal sequence." In short, it is taking the concept of a thought or idea, and turning it into visual material. Whether we interpret it the same or not, it is the collective identity that then becomes art.