The following is an exploration of subjectivity through a study of the dreams and their different phases, how they affect our awoken time and the possibility of the visual image to represent ungraspable states of consciousness.
produced by: Maite de Orbe Anton Pacheco
In response to the lack of sound states by the project brief, it has been my intention to explore the possibilities of immersive environments that are mute. Investigating examples of this, I encountered dreams as the perfect symbol of an inner space where sound is relegated to a second position after visual images. As a photographer myself I am interested in the possibilities of expanded image, where objectivity is challenged and the medium is demystified. I have found this assignment the perfect context to develop my thoughts and practice on this. Three scenes represent different dream states, the first ones being Non-REM phases and the third one embodying the REM phase. Each scene adapts to the physical and psychological states that characterize that specific phase, as well as trying to bring to the awoken realm these experiences - for instance, the REM phase is characterized by a rapid eye movement which can be mimicked when following the yellow ball crossing the canvas from left to right.
Concept and background research
During all the christmas period I have undertaken a personal research of my own dreams and the significance of the same, paying attention to the ways in which these could affect my daily life. As a reference to this I would like to mention some 60s female identifying performance artists such as Martha Rosler and Esther Ferrer as they both experimented with their own bodies to explore the desired topic, as well as their later use of visual image to channel these investigations. In terms of aesthetics, Jeremy Shaws’ “Phase Shifting Index” piece and all the work of Max Cooper have been quite interesting when thinking about the use of color and the sensation of immersiveness. On the same line, Bill Viola’s use of the human body to explore the human condition has always profoundly impressed me and it has been a motivation to use specific parts of the body such as the eye. Filmmakers such as Bernard Mandico have also been crucial to the use of color and transparency. On a theory level, John Berger’s ‘Ways of seeing’ is a recursive reference when aiming to deconstruct the visual image as well as essays such as Brian O’Doherty’s ‘Inside the white cube’ which has made me apply a consent questioning of boundaries in my practice. Machines such as the Dreamachine created by Brion Gysin inspired some effects such as yellow ball from scene three mimicking the rapid eye movement.
This project has been created in OpenFrameworks using C++. It has used video, color, and transparency as key factors to explore the desired theme. Before the development of the code and the design and display, I have followed a personal research of dreams from both theoretical and practical perspectives. The next step has been the gathering of visual references that have resonated with my previous research. Multiple short videos and images have been filmed as the code was being written to see what would work best. It has been a constant back and forth process of investigation, improvisation and revision. The last step has been the design of the surfaces, for which I have aimed to be as creative as possible using not only complete surfaces, but curating the videos within the surface, something for which my photographic practice has been really helpful (and following the lines of installation of contemporary photographers such as Wolfgang Tillmans).
I would like to continue to explore the possible symbols of dreams to include them in the scenes. I think effects such as the one that mimics the rapid eye movement with the yellow ball can be interesting to stimulate on the viewer. Also, I would like to develop further my knowledge of video and image alteration, glitch effects and use of shaders to create more interesting scenes that can captive and hypnotize the viewer.
I believe that I have successfully implanted my knowledge in making something that I would be interested in seeing myself. During the term I have struggled to find ways in which I could combine my previous practice with the one that I am learning and I am content with the result of this merging in this project. I think the scenes are interesting and have information to be read in different ways, open to interpretation and conceptually loaded. In terms of improvements, being new in coding there are many things I would like to improve. The project and video alteration have been quite limited in terms of creativity because there are many things I do not know how to make yet and the process of writing the code has been quite slow and demanding.
PLEASE NOTE THAT I WAS UNAWARE OF THE NEED TO REFERENCE CODE IN THE CODE ITSELF - THE FOLLOWING LINKS REFER TO THE CODE THAT I HAVE BEEN INSPIRED BY, USED AS A BASE AND ALTERED:
LEWIS LEPTON 'CIRCLE LOOP' : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBpBR2gRPEE&ab_channel=LewisLepton
MASTERING OPEN FRAMEWORKS BOOK (http://b.parsons.edu/~traviss/booKs/oF/Mastering%20openFrameworks%20-%20Yanc,%20Chris_compressed.pdf) : IMAGE SPIRAL (PAGE 88)
OTHER REFERENCES MENTIONED ABOVE:
JOHN BERGER WAYS OF SEEING: https://monoskop.org/images/9/9e/Berger_John_Ways_of_Seeing.pdf
ESTHER FERRER: https://estherferrer.fr/es/obras/fotos/libros-de-las-cabezas
BRION GYSIN 'DREAM MACHINE' : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOZh7oSUY30&ab_channel=WNYC