The interface of reality

I watched this video and I was fascinated by the idea that our experience of reality is actually mediated by an interface that helps us to deal with it without having to deal with more complex elements of it, similar to what computer interfaces allow us to do when interacting with the machine.

My reflection:

I think that this video supports and validates my quest for a visual representation that escapes the restraints of de frame and perspective systems. I think that in the future I might use this analogy of an interface as a way to address the function of the work of art. An interface that represents my experiences on reality.

Big mind – small body

Today I was watching a video of David Hockney talking about his exploration on space, I thought that his questions are pretty interesting but I also think that his approach to a solution is quite “flat” and at some point I wanted to interrupt him to point out a different approach to the problem.

His work really inspires me, and I want to go beyond what he has accomplished. At one particular point (5:50 min), he pointed out that the format made the painting easy to transport, this triggered a connection inside my head, it seems that depicting reality over flat surfaces has a pretty straight connection with what is functional on a physical level, so I started thinking about my research paper and again I found traces of this idea where the physical aspect of reality and therefore our physical body tends to mediate what our mind is able to express.

In another part of the Video (8:07), Hockney says that “two dimensions don’t exist in nature” and then hi tries to explain that it is a problem of scale because if a canvas were huge then it would feel like a mountain, a bit further he refers about how we feel space and says that while standing in front of the Grand Canyon, he felt it like a 3D space but sometimes he could feel it as a flat image.

In another interesting part (13:20), he says that “we see space through time”, I really like this Idea because it makes a lot of sense, how ever, I still thinking about the problem of the flat image.

At the end he talks about how he experienced 3D cinema and how disappointing it was, he also makes a vague reference to Virtual Reality.

My reflection

Although artistic expression might be triggered inside the mind, it has to mediate and cope with the demands of the physical world in order to become physical expression (I am trying to  leave digital art out of this discussion). After doing a research on this matter, I  have got the idea that through the history of painting, physical world has had always the last word on how things are created.and that one of the biggest consequences of this is that painters from the 21th century, are still trying to depict the experience of reality over flat surfaces.

For me this is a mayor concern as I think that it is possible to evolve this way of depicting reality even for static images like paintings.

Mind and body: The problem with perspective systems

The physicality of perspective systems

Just now I was reading a paper about the perspective systems in Ancient Chinese painting. At some point I thought that maybe this obsession we have towards creating a sophisticated system that could act as an objective recipient for the depiction of reality has a lot to do with how we interact with the physical world. I mean, both Euclidean and not Euclidean geometry have proven to be useful for the making of blueprints and even build or change the physical world, so why not try to keep using them in order to depict our experience of reality?

This is an Idea that has been around for thousands of years but history has shown that Artists, specially painters have always challenged it’s rules, and I think this has to do with the fact that in order to depict reality, we have to experience it and we do this with both our physical body and our minds. So, a system that favours our physical body over our minds is not efficient.

The convenience of the Flat canvas

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From the readings I made for my research paper, I now know that linear perspective was born as an objective system to depict reality on flat surfaces, according to history this started with mirrors and was reinforced by architecture and it is obvious that flat paintings fit easily on flat walls, of course there are examples of images that do not follow this rule, in some cases, architecture is setting the path and in others, images follow the functional or symbolic uses of the object.

When you think about canvases, sketchbooks, prints and photographs it is easy to think about the convenience of the flat image, it makes easy to present it, to store it and reproduce it, so it seems that this feature of the image prevails over the content of it. It is a condition that seems almost fundamental about image creation… but is it? or better yet, should it be?

What about painting? From my experience, is really confortable to paint over a flat canvas instead of doing it over a non-flat one, but the same true for medium size canvases if compared to big or really small ones, and that is not enough reason to prefer medium size canvases. Further more, although physical comfort might be a desirable thing to have when painting, it is not always the same for mental comfort.

Convenient entrapment

So apparently, the use of both perspective systems (specially linear) and flat surfaces is convenient for practical reasons, but it does come with a price, we are trying to depict reality using tools that privilege the physical side over the mental one.

 

 

Reality as a Streamline – A trip through the Neurohighways

While working on my first VR project I could not help to think that for most of the time, we humans (I guess animals too) end up living our lives inside of fixed paths. I started to imagine that they are like tunnels that cut through reality offering us with a secure yet very narrow view over the physical existence.

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From my research on neuroscience,I know that this phenomenon has a biological explanation and a big impact on the way we experience life.

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This is a pretty interesting fact that I will explore by creating more VR experiences.

A single man with a lot say

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A week ago I saw the movie “A single man” by Tom Ford, it a was really interesting movie and I ended up thinking about three different scenes and one of them in particular has inspired me to do an experiment, that is why I’m going to publish this post in both my Influences and work sections.

The scenes:

The first and maybe the most relevant scene for me was the one in which George (Colin Firth) visits his friend Charlie (Juliane Moore), right when they meet on the front door, another scene fades in, it is a fragment from a previous scene where Charlie found out about the death of his lover. This this momentary overlapping made me thing about time compression not only in movies but also on images.

The second scene that captivated me was the one where George and his young student Kenny (Nicholas Hoult)  where talking inside a bar, at one moment,  the young guy replied: “we are born alone, we die alone, and while we are here we are absolutely, completely sealed in our own bodies”… “We can only experience the outside world through our own slanted perception of it. Who knows what youʼre really like. I just see what I think youʼre like.”

Finally, the third part of the movie that captured my attention was just before the end, when George experiences an epiphany and says: “A few times in my life I’ve had moments of absolute clarity when, for a few brief seconds, the silence drowns out the noise and I can feel rather than think and things seem so sharp and the world seems so fresh, it’s as though it had all just come into existence.  I can never make these moments last. I cling to them, but like everything, they fade. I have lived my life on these moments.  They pull me back to the present, and I realize that everything is exactly the way it was meant to be”.

When I saw this I felt something clicked in my head, I guess that we humans try to hold on to our most memorable moments just like a drunk guy clings to the railing while he awkwardly descends the staircase. They are like keyframes on a time line and on some rare moments, our immediate experience pulls them into the stage creating an ambiguous moment where past and present collide on to each other.

The experiment:

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From the Mind to the tip of the brush

In recent times,  I’ve been exploring the 3 dimensional representation of thoughts, I’m exploring the use of 3D objects as canvases, this has led me create a three stage process:

Stage 1

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After defining an specific concept for the piece, I start by creating a narrative oriented shape. As I create this shape I try to focus on the different possibilities of the overall shape avoiding going into to much detail, in this stage I also avoid thinking about specific images I want to use.

Stage 2

I use this object´s faces to place images and color in order to compose a “three dimensional image”. Although I keep thinking on the concept I try to let it evolve by not focusing on an specific narrative but only on the formal value of the piece until I reach a point where I feel it is completed. So far, I always print the piece before starting this stage.

Stage 3

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When I’m satisfied with the sketch I start to paint on the object, so far I’m trying to paint an accurate copy of the images I used for the sketch.

Reflection about Stage 1

Creating 3D shapes as a way to represent concepts is an exciting challenge for me, I can’t explain it but it just feels right, is like giving voice to a part of my brain that is able to do this without giving me a conscious and structured feedback. I’m definitely want to explore this further more.

Reflection about Stage 2

I think that in this stage is like a game in witch I present images to my mind in order for it to arrange them while mixing conscious and less conscious decisions, although I know I’m thinking, I’m not able to fix an specific outcome. Working with both Illustrator and Blender has created an unsuspected additional challenge for the visual composition; on one hand, working with the vector UV map forces me to arrange elements in an order that is dependent on the 3D model, so I have to change into blender in order to see the end result, this is not a direct process and this separation forces me also to work from memory. On the other hand, because of the properties of the 3D environment, my end result is an ever changing 3D image, so maybe my mind switching on and off from consciousness has to do with the fact that my brain recognizes the impossibility to find a fixed narrative, so then I have the opportunity to see the piece as an abstract representation.

Reflection about Stage 3

At the moment I’m trying to control the outcome by doing a faithful painted copy of the digital sketch, I guess this is my way to avoid getting lost or even destroying what I have accomplished in the other stages, and even though this seems logical, I have a feeling I can enrich the final outcome by letting physical expression take its part, for this I want to create bigger canvases to see if I am able to use paint strokes to blend the apparent edges between abstraction and representation.

eXistenZ

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My interest:

This is a very weird movie, it involves the concept of virtual reality gaming, at the end you find that there are more layers in to the drama. At some point I suspected that the bad acting was actually due to the bad acting inside video games (am not sure). At some points the fantasy was broken due to lacks in the “realism” but at the same time, this fractures on credibility opened the path for surprise.

Ideas to explore:

  • Some lacks in “realism” can lead to new dimensions.
  • Breaking the credibility can set the mind of the spectator onto a different and exploitable mood.

 

Don’t you worry

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Reflection:

I’ve just seen a video with a scene containing lots of text. I was unable to read it because it went away really fast. I reflected about this and I understood out that this could trigger a really complex reaction towards story telling in video (if you do the same over an over again). the Viewer’s brain will collapse on frustration, but at the same time, this could be the beginning of a meaningful engagement with the audience.

As humans, we have a strong reaction to text, maybe is because we have a mindset that recognises text as a primary source for meaning while images tend to be classified as ambiguous sources.

Inside the blender

Reality is…
Not a succession of moments attached to one another like the wagons of a train, it is more like a blender in which thoughts and experiences, feelings and memories are thrown in. Some of them stick to the bottom, lots of them get mixed and transformed while a lot of stuff is thrown out just to make enough room for new things arriving.

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