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Camera Obscura

Understanding the light

Instrument- Metaphor-Paradigm

“In a very dark Chamber, at a round hole, about one third Part of an Inch, broad, made in the shut of a window, I placed a glass prism, whereby the Beam of the Sun's Light, which came in at that Hole, might be refracted upwards toward the opposite wall of the chamber, and there form a coloured image of the Sun.” Newton's Opticks

Site from which vision can be conceived or represented.

Between these two locations (a point and a plane) is an indeterminate extensive space in which an observer is ambiguously situated.

During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the camera obscure was without question the most widely used model for explaining human vision, and for representing the relation of a perceiver and the position of a knowing subject to an external world

The structural and optical principles of the camera obscura coalesced into a dominant paradigm through which was described the status and possibilities of an observer.

For over two hundred years it subsisted as a philosophical metaphor, a model in the science of physical optics, and was also a technical apparatus used in a large range of cultural activities, an instrument of popular entertainment, of scientific inquiry, and of artistic practice.

Camera obscura defines the position of an interiorised observer to an exterior world, not just to a two dimensional representation, as is the case with perspective. The camera obscura single out as its most impressive feature its representation of movement.

What is crucial about the camera obscura is its relation of the observer to the undemarcated, undifferentiated expanse of the world outside, without sacrificing the vitality of its being

But the movement and temporality so evident in the camera obscura were always prior to the act of representation; movement and time could be seen and experienced, but never represented.

It necessarily defines an observer as isolated, enclosed, or autonomous within its dark confines. It impels a kind of askesis, or withdrawal from the world, in order to regulate and purify one's relation to the manifold contents of the now “exterior” world.

Newton's Opticks (1704) and Locke's Essay on Human Understanding (1690). What they jointly demonstrate is how the camera obscura was a model simultaneously for the observation of empirical phenomena and for reflective introspection and self-observation.

On one hand the observer is disjunct from the pure operation of the device and is there as a disembodied witness to a mechanical and transcendental re-presentation of the objectivity of the world. On the other hand, however, his or her presence in the camera implies a spatial and temporal simultaneity of human subjectivity and objective apparatus.

Thus the spectator is a more free-floating inhabitant of the darkness, a marginal supplementary presence independent of the machinery of representations

The camera obscura a priori prevents the observer from seeing his or her position as part of the representation. The body then is a problem the camera could never solve except by marginalizing it into a phantom in order to establish a space of reason.

“External and internal sensations are the only passages that I can find of knowledge to the understanding. These alone, as far as I can discover, are the windows by which light is let into this dark room. For, methinks, the understanding is not much unlike a closet wholly shut from light, with only some little opening left . . . to let in external visible resemblances, or some idea of things without; would the pictures coming into such a dark room but stay there and lie so orderly as to be found upon occasion it would very much resemble the understanding of a man. ”[ Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690) Locke writes that sensations are conveyed “from without to their audience in the brain, the mind's presence room, as I may so call it.

“the conception of the human mind as an inner space in which both pains and clear and distinct ideas passed in review before an Inner Eye…. The novelty was the notion of a single inner space in which bodily and perceptual sensations …were objects of quasi-observation.” Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding

The camera, or room, is the site within which an orderly projection of the world, of extended substance, is made available for inspection by the mind

Fragments from The Camera Obscura and Its Subject by Jonathan Crary Source http://www.finearts.uvic.ca/fa245/readings/observer.html

Related links http://photography.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http://brightbytes.com/cosite/cohome.html

Light —- Movement of electrons (photons?)

Movement —- Light —- Colours

“Colour is the place where our brain and universe converge” Cezanne

colour as a dimention, as a space that emerge with the experience of seen it

The bolt of lightning is a traditional symbol of sudden illumination and the destruction of ignorance; it also represents a punishment of humans by the gods from the skies, most commonly attributed to Zeus, king of the gods. In dreams, the lightning bolt is an image of sudden and terrible events and a symbol of intuition. Although it can carry negative connotation, lightning is also a form of divine message, honoring those chosen. Its shape allows phallic relations, and Jung sees lightning as liberating the soul.

light1

/lat/ noun 1 electromagnetic radiation that stimulates sight and makes things visible. 2 medium in which this is present, mental or spiritual

illumination, bring or come to light reveal or be revealed

Light

Energy Movement

Light as atrigger

Life

Light —> Movement —> Life

Life Breath

Breath as a generator of movement

Movement as a generator of Space

Ligh Movement Space

Breath Movement Space

Light as a posibility of a Dimention

Colour

Light Movement Space Dimention Colour

camila_valenzuela.txt · Last modified: 2007/06/08 18:50 (external edit)