Friday, September 10, 2010

[Theme] Of Perceptual Experience :

A significant number of works in The Post-Glass Video Festival use glass as a medium or tool - a lens, screen or mirror - to contemplate upon spaces and to alter our perception of them.

Like most non-glass makers, Ted Sonnenschein's relationship to glass as a material is defined by its presence in everyday objects, frequently mirrors and windows. A moving train, as Sonnenschein has discovered, indulges various optical activities simultaneously. It is a vantage point, a lens or conduit for light to pass through, a projection or reception screen. Keenly experiencing these aspects during his daily commutes, the commonplace yet unique perspective Sonnenschein adopts in this work presents the train as an object he is contained in as well as a device that captures moving image. In 6 Views of Berlin, he describes a "screen" as a hybrid between mirror and window.

Rui Sasaki's I eye I, in turn, focuses on the human eye, whose surface reflects the object it sees, but also absorbs the image. The mind in turn, becomes a sort of projection screen and its space, a camera obscura that receives an vision from outside its chamber. In this sense, our body's native video camera, the eye, brings the world that is external to our bodies, within it.

Heightened by Emer Lynch is a quiet and playful exploration of the similitude between water and glass, both clear and colorless. Floating glass objects on the surface of a water body act as lenses to pebbles that lie underneath while the water itself acts as a mirror, brining to earth the sky. Sometimes, this behavior is flipped around. At other times, interference patterns are generated between both materials. In such ways, the work explores perceptual experience through flirtations between illusion and substance.

Preview and Guide uses the Festival of Britain (FB) as an example of flowing visuality to present exactly the opposite nature of history and its consequent present. Matthew MacKisack uses the transparency of glass to present the opacity of history. In the layering of images, we see the marks of time, instead of its flow. Glass, here, has the illusory capacity to look back through time while video helps the artist do so fluidly, without friction, only to realize that a history, or the ideas it proposed, are not fluid.

Sarah Rose Allen's cup animates bubbles in the simple gesture of pouring. It attends to the movement of air during the creation of bubbles in a transparent medium, a moment that is lost when the phenomena is frozen into the glass object, and visits an overlooked gesture in the most transparent way possible : a clear medium in a clear object with neither in physical form.

The projection of one's self-image onto a copy of that image only to be confronted with a non-ideal, problematic or different one is a notion several post-glass video artists seem attracted to. This blog has already discussed the Lacanian perspective of the mirror, as well as the mirror presenting the Other. Breet Swenson does something different: he presents our understanding of the mirror as a lens that filters info and projects it, transmits it into space. In Dreamcast, the reflection of self-image (its mirror copy) is actually a clear, sculpted glass face superimposed with a digital video portrait of the same face. It is thus, subject to distortions due to transmission of light, causing the evolving image of a human is trapped and mutating within his static, ideal portrait.

As post-glass artists find ways to subvert conventional perceptions of mirror, lens, screen, video, glass..... we imagine these terms will be redefined using more complex vocabularies.

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