Directions…

Sifting through old work, I found some statements of intent and some essays. I thought it would be quite fitting to post them up on here…

What brought me to associate myself with animation was the desire to hone

my skills in cinematography within a discipline that would allow a great degree

of experimentation. I have always had a strong interest in self-discovery; a lot

of my work follows quite a scientific approach and I tend to see art purely as a

device to be used for presenting my findings. I enjoy using art to learn and

explore but I particularly enjoy how it enables me to do this in a poetic manner.

Animation to me seemed like a very appropriate tool for this line of work; to

dissect the anatomy of the world around me and splice it back together so as

to shed a different light on it and possibly reveal things that are often overlooked.

I have always loved observing details and noticing nuances and as such, I felt
the use of this tool could help to highlight such interests.

The amalgamation of media appeals to me greatly, especially that of visuals

and sound but recently I have started to consider the use of other media that

would make for a richer experience. It was this that caused me to question

my enthusiasm for the direction I had chosen, or rather the extent to

which I wanted to involve animation in my creative work.

I am eager to discover what is required of a body of art to convey subjective

experiences with little shortfall. This search has driven me consistently to look

at aspects of both psychoanalysis and optics in order to understand the

processes behind interpretation and reasoning. In order to successfully

communicate a subjective experience, the audience’s bias on reality must be

taken into consideration. In this way, it would seem imperative to use a universally

understood language, that of symbols. But of course, even the meanings behind

symbols vary greatly between the world’s regions. It is even more important

to consider the differences in perspectives not just between groups of people but also between
individuals in particular. Our experiences leave us with psychological residues
that accumulate over time. How the experience impacts on the individual depends on the associations that are made
between the many elements within that environment at that time. This is what
makes the experience so subjective and personal to the individual.

The desire to understand the mechanics behind interpretation calls for the study of cognitive science. It is a topic
of research I have only recently become affiliated with and due to its vastness
I am only at the tip of the iceberg.

So to continue, my search for a medium art of this kind brought me to the topic of immersion (virtual reality).

I have learned that the concept behind this tool has come from the Platonic
Allegory of the cave – we are capable of entering or existing in different
worlds and the mind governs the way in which one perceives their environment.
The way in which the mind is influenced to perceive its environment dictates
the nature of the world around the individual. This is a reality specific to
the individual.

By allowing audiences to receive an array of different sensual stimuli (not only audiovisual) within a synthetic
environment, the effects of the environment on one’s senses would come together
to successfully analogise the intended idea or feeling.

I seem to gravitate to methods that encourage a destruction of perceptual boundaries between media or art
disciplines. For instance, sound and image have a very close connection, much
dictated by their similar nature as waves of energy. There was one particular
analysis regarding this topic of cross-discipline parallels that seemed to
consolidate a lot of transient ideas I had been toying with for a number of
years. In John Lancaster’s ‘Introducing Op Art’, a statement was made that a
parallel between music and Op art exists largely due to a shared use of
organised dynamic tensions, vibrations and patterns. It was also outlined that
this parallel between Op art and music could be explained by the lack of ‘suggestion
of the material image’ that is used in most traditional forms of art
(Lancaster, 1973, p.10). In contrast to traditional art, it is abstract in
nature; its simplified elements can be thought to reflect the building blocks
that comprise music. This is one of several reasons why Optical artists can be
mistaken for mathematicians or scientists. They experiment with the juxtaposing
of formal elements using a systematic or methodical approach to produce
varieties of effects on the viewer.

Op art offers a degree of interactivity to its viewers. It systematically places particular hues and
contrasting tones in ways that encourage the brain to either pick out or group
together these elements, therefore ‘[allowing] the viewer to participate in
composing the final image’ (Lancaster, 1973, p.12).

As mentioned previously, I am intrigued by art that offers multiple dimensions but in particular, other
dimensions that are implied and not shown literally. For me, the mechanics
behind Op art demonstrate this sense of poetry, as it were, very well. It
flirts with the idea of motion, which requires passing of time. Yet, the piece
remains a two-dimensional image. It also fools our perception with a strong
suggestion of physical depth, emerging out of the two-dimensional space.
Optical images give hypnotic effects. They ‘reflect dynamic sensations evoked
by the flickering imagery of cinema and television screens, whose moving forms
can be bemusing or even hypnotic to the viewer’ (Lancaster, 1973, p.9).

An installation piece constructed by the American ophthalmologist Adelbert Ames, Jr. named the Ames Room deals with forced perspective. I first noticed this piece at the Eyes, Lies and Illusions exhibition at the Hayward Gallery in
2005. It is what initially encouraged me to investigate optical illusion and
its place in art. It deals with forced perspective; the organised arrangement
of a room’s surfaces that appear to be consistent or equilateral but are in
fact varied in length. The size of an object placed at different points within
the room also appears to change although the object retains its original
height. I found myself immediately enthralled by the implementation of forced
perspective, a very convincing illusion indeed.

My wish is to communicate ideas that are able to ceaselessly engage an audience. In light of this, I feel that the
coupling of these ideas of interactivity and ambiguous dimensionality would be
an intrinsic factor within my work. It was even alleged by Guy St John Scott in
his Preface to Introducing Op Art
that the genre ‘can be easily understood by children’
(Lancaster, 1973, p.7). Its impact on the viewer is instantaneous and therefore
a very appropriate genre of art for me to include in my work.

A recent body of work by the artist Oswan Gwon caught my eye as a very interesting take on the functionality of the
photographic medium. He transforms it from being a two-dimensional recorded
image to one of many building blocks that come together to represent the
surface image of a three dimensional object, and so becoming the subject matter
it depicts. Again, it is the notion of transformation that appeals to me,
taking something that exists in a particular dimension and offering it another
factor, another use metaphorically that would otherwise be unrealistic.

In light of the points raised prior, I am leaning toward the use of an array of media to help in my quest to truly
engage an audience. I find myself questioning what it is that I like about this
process of presenting different media simultaneously. It could be the act of
exploration alone. Change delights. Why? Another topic I feel I need to delve
into.

However, the search to understand the self and to find the right tool with which to pass on a subjective experience
with the utmost accuracy will be endless as I feel that the beauty will be lost
in the finding. Once the puzzle is pieced together, there will be no more
mystery and therefore, no more drive. Faith is essentially a driving force. I fear
that finding the answers to my questions would bring me to a halt and leave me
with nothing to chew on; I don’t wish to know the concrete truth. I love the
act of exploration.

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