Double Vision” explores relationships between fragmented images using liquid crystal technologies. From obscuring and revealing windows to layered “holographic style” video panels, discrete pieces engage the conflict between vision and sight. Methodologies of art and physics continue in “Frequency and Amplitude” and “Proportion”, where measurement and observation are integral to an interpretation of the natural world. “Blink” presents a disconnect between expectation and observation.
The windows at the rear of the gallery hold 378 “pixels” made of PDLC* film. This material reveals and obscures the pastoral setting surrounding the gallery. It changes from chaotic obfuscation to a clear braille phrase at the stimulus of physical movement. Neither tactile nor a universally understood language, the interpretive difficulties illuminate problems of comprehension, especially with regard to what we see outside when the pixels are clear. Audio elements in the corners of the gallery are also activated by movement, amplifying the interpretive options of the piece.
The layered “holographic style” LCD pieces also challenge clarity (sight) and communication. Degrees of focus, contrast and movement alternate and change with the viewer’s position. This experiment in depth-perception is yet another in a long history of filmmakers seeking a three-dimensional experience. From early stereography to laser holography, representing physical space has been elusive. The imperfections of these experiments have a charming visual vocabulary of their own. Rather than fully expecting realism, we found that it is far more interesting to embrace the visual oddities of these translucent images rubbing against each other and to embrace the resultant imagery as a sort of “magic realism”.
The single and multi-channel pieces on the sidewalls in the front of the gallery are scenes from “La Medida” (the measurement), an overarching project that explores the activities of artist/scientist. “Frequency and Amplitude” is a six-channel piece from this project that uses a graph created through Tom Giblin’s research on the gravitational history of the universe. The character who draws the graph is repeated in the single channel “Proportion” where he is more literal and playful.
Finally and yet first, “Blink” is encased in a wooden pyramid with its eye-sized hole facing the entry of the gallery. Staring into the enclosed space, the natural impulse to blink is countered by the disconcerting action of the figure inside.
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Collaborator Tom Giblin is the Harvey F. Lodish Development Professor of Natural Science and Assistant Professor of Physics at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. His research in theoretical and computational particle physics and cosmology is funded by the National Science Foundation.
Thanks to Erika Farfan, Jack Esslinger, Charlie Otting, Ryan Darragh, Tim Scully, Dave Martin, Paula Turner and the staff of the Pearl Conard Gallery for their assistance with this project.
*PDLC (polymer-dispersed liquid crystal) film turns clear when an AC voltage is applied across the two layers of the film. This is the same technology that is used in “smart glass” and is related to the liquid crystals in LCD displays. These “pixels” are individually wired and addressed by Arduino microcontrollers and networked using a Raspberry Pi microcomputer.
Funding from the Ohio Arts Council, GLCA New Directions Grant,
Kenyon College Faculty Development Grant