I feel that I should provide some background as to how I came to this present work. In a previous project I examined the nature of visual exploration in Art using the traced eye scan movements of several subjects. The subjects were asked to view a silk-screened image of a moderately well known nineteenth century Russian oil painting which was rendered in several stages of image degradation. Eye movements were tracked using a video camera. The taped image of one of the subjects' pupils was played back at a reduced speed on a monitor with a simple grid rendered on its screen. During the video taping the subjects were asked, over precise intervals of time, seven questions concerning their perceptions of what they had seen. The questions ranged from simple identification of picture elements to deliberately confused or loaded questions of an ambiguous nature.
Does formal training in art change the nature of the visual exploration of Art? Although I require to do more work on this project initial results suggests that it does, and to an observable degree. When considering a psychological reason for this difference or even perhaps the idea of a pre-disposition, it engages interesting theories concerning the universal attributes of the mind as it interacts with the physical world. The intriguing questions raised by this experiment led me to my current work concerning sensory deprivation and visual phenomena. Can we retrieve universal inner attributes of mind which have been buried by the workings of the contemporary brain or are those 'universialities' culturally conditioned and educated into us, and if so when we scratch the surface of that conditioning are we at the mercy of our individual psyches, adrift in aesthetic isolation? If we find novel or re-configured ways of seeing do we abandon the comfort of a familiar world and feel ourselves constantly at the cusp of an aesthetic adventure or do we constantly re- invent our surroundings to accommodate our needs and desires? These are some of the questions I am seeking to engage.
Outside Art, Inside the Black Room
2. The Installation
4. The Eye Scan Project
5. Art and Environment
6. The S.D. Tank Vs. the 'Motor/Stimulus Deprivation' Chamber
7. The Tank as a Tool for Aesthetic Awareness
Copyright © 1996 Peter Mackay