Mnetractoscope #1

A sculptural object sits atop a stand and slowly rotates in the middle of a room.  The sculpture is a replica of a familiar everyday object that has been distorted and twisted beyond recognition and into abstraction.  Near one wall of the room there is a camera on a stand centered on the spinning object, sending a live video feed of its view to a computer.  On the same wall just above the camera is what I like to call a “transformative mirror”; a projected screen that shows a processed view of the live camera feed. In this virtual reflection of the space, the public that is present and moving within the room are abstracted while the sculptural object is de-abstracted and revealed in its original and recognizable form.

Squint is the first in a series of installations in which new processes are invented to explore relationships between form, image, motion, time, perception, and memory. The series of invented process artworks is called Mnetractoscopes; an invented word formed from Latin and Greek roots that roughly translates to “viewer(s)” that “draw or pull” from “memory”. This naming serves as an homage to early animation devices such as the pre-historic Thaumotrope, Joseph Plateau’s Anorthoscope, or Eadweard Muybridge’s Zoopraxiscope. The development and dissemination of these types of devices through the end of the 19th Century brought about a significant change of self-awareness in human kind that led directly to the modernist revolutions in science, art, philosophy, and technology of the 20th Century.

The ideas and functionality of these devices led to the eventual development of motion picture cameras and projection. Ultimately, this ongoing technical process has allowed us to reflect upon our own visual perception by considering the motion picture camera as a functional metaphor for our own eyes. However, it’s only in the last thirty years that we’ve reached the most complete iteration of this simulation paradigm: visual perception via a combination of live video with real-time computer processing and re-projection.

This work investigates communication, perception, and translation. How can new perspectives expose hidden relationships? How might we problem solve around the limitations of available perspective? Discovering the limitations and functions of our visual processes allow us to communicate, collaborate and coexist in new and different ways. The potentialities are liberating.

Cinematography by Ian Cameron

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