ISEA2013 – June 2013

I really looked forward to going to the 2013 ISEA edition.  My abstract was accepted, and this event in Sydney June 2013 would probably be another milestone in my current PhD trajectory.
Alas, I had to – last minute – cancel my trip and my participation in the conference.

ISEA2013 logo

Well, anyway the work and time invested in preparing my presentation is not lost and an important step in the evolution of my PhD.

My abstract, accepted for the topic or subtheme Histories and Futures of Electronic Art:

Anamorphosis. A mystery in two acts or a strategy for embodied perception?

Keywords: anamorphosis, embodied perception, phenomenology, media archaeology

In this paper I will discuss how anamorphosis can be deployed as a contemporary strategy for triggering embodied perception. I will illustrate this with examples from my own work. Anamorphosis  is intricately linked to linear perspective, the origins of which can be traced back to the Renaissance. Linear perspective is a construction following a set of rules. It implies a reduction of human vision in two aspects: that we see with a single eye, and that the eye is immobile (Panofsky, 1927) (Friedberg, 2006). Anamorphosis is a corruption of the rules of linear perspective and I will argue that in contrast to linear perspective, the act of viewing an anamorphosis implies a ‘lesser reduction’ of human vision, a ‘lesser reduction’ that is different for the two main categories of anamorphosis: perspectival anamorphosis – where the distorted image can be viewed correctly from a particular vantagepoint – and catoptrical anamorphosis – where the reconstituted image can be seen in the reflection from a suitable mirror. Jurgis Baltrušaitis describes perspectival anamorphosis as “a mystery in two acts” (Baltrušaitis, 1977) where the search for the correct vantagepoint re-inserts mobility into the process of perception. I will argue that cylindrical anamorphosis – as one possible form of catoptrical anamophosis – even goes one step further in restoring human vision to its full capacity, as also binocularity becomes a pre-requisite to fully and in an embodied way experience the three-dimensional illusion of cylindrical anamorphosis. Finally, I will use Mark Hansen’s  phenomenological lens of affective or bodily perception (Hansen, 2004) to analyse the effect of cylindrical anamorphosis’ inherent friction between the digital and the analogue, and how such an injection of the analogue into a contemporary electronic media setting can be a trigger for embodied perception.


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