What’s resonated… optical illusions

24 Mar

Maybe the most interesting concept for me covered in lecture is the disconnect between images and the way we see reality. I was surprised to learn that Roger Bacon was persecuted by the Church for trying to explain the workings of the human eye. It seemed kind of obvious that people at the time would realize that we see the world differently from the way was crudely represented in two dimensions. But I didn’t think out that for people who had never seen a photograph, the idea of capturing an image as an exact replication of reality would be quite revolutionary. Optical technology, like the camera obscura, were actually quite powerful in changing the way people represented what they saw.  For an artist to better capture and share with other people his own vision is a way of spreading information, in the same way that the printing press allowed for more people to spread their ideas through the written word.

It made me think a lot about how we assume that optic technology is always moving towards some final truth, the best representation of reality possible. The more an image is like what we see with our eyes, we believe it is somehow more accurate. But we forget that images are always a deception, and in lecture Professor Ewen had to remind the class that when looking at a book on the projector, we are really looking at a projection of a digital image transferred from a negative that was taken of a book. Images are always the product of an author, and as Hines wrote about, their seeming reality can be used to serve particular objectives and interests.

 

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