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kaleidoscope + phosphenes

I learned a new word today, and that’s “phosphenes”. Here’s the definition: 

phosphene |ˈfäsfēn| noun

 a ring or spot of light produced by pressure on the eyeball or direct stimulation of the visual systemother than by light.

Basically it just means the colors and stars we see when we rub our eyes. This concept really interests me, just with the oddness of the fact that when we rub our eyes, they’re closed (or not?), so why is it that we can still see those so-called “stars and colors”? Well evidently it all has to do with the science of light, so now I think I’m pretty certain I want to explore with the broad theme of science AND art, but not science VERSUS art. 

Another thing about this “phosphenes” thing that popped into my mind was the conceptual possibilities it came with. (This project seems to be converging closer and closer with my drawing project on skin, I feel. Concept-wise, at least :p) Is it more of concealing or revealing? At this point I definitely see the concept overpowering the way I’m deciding to convey the concept, which would be representing this whole idea with a kaleidoscope. Or rather, visuals and stills of a kaleidoscope. The kaleidoscopic side of my idea contributes a lot to the theme of “beyond spectatorship”, of course. My understanding of the two words “beyond spectatorship” mostly stems out with a plan to evoke the audience, preferably in quite an abrupt way. 

I really like the fact that the two main words of my project (i.e. ‘kaleidoscope’ and ‘phosphenes’) are pretty long and complicated-sounding themselves, just because that adds to the concept of “conceal vs reveal” I mentioned earlier. This is just a supporting random thing I noticed/picked out though. 

All in all, what I’m aiming to achieve for this project (as well as getting my concept across hopefully as accurately as possible) would be to: 

  • capture how kaleidoscopes look like as accurately as how we ourselves would see them 
  • present how kaleidoscopes work by experimenting with different effects, cameras and camera techniques 
  • use the above ways to represent phosphenes
  • use the above ways to hopefully evoke the audience in as many ways as possible

Found a super tiny kaleidoscope my cousin got from a toy capsule vending machine a looong time ago! I tried taking a picture with Photobooth, just to see if what I see (as in, with my eyes) could be captured accurately with a camera. Obviously Photobooth’s not good enough to do that, but I think I’m kiiiind of certain that I’ll be involving kaleidoscopic-related… uh, stuff, for this project :)

beyond spectatorship

What does it take for a video or film to shake up and disturb the distance between the moving image on screen and the people watching it? How does a video or film spur individual viewers to cross a threshold - to place themselves in situations riddled with tension, confront deeply charged emotional contents on-screen, and grapple with feelings of apprehension; challenging them to “step outside” of a place of comfort both physically and emotionally? 

Which other kinds of moving images can you conjure up besides the ones emulating what you have been watching in the mainstream and conventional film/video distribution channels? Are the barriers and protocols of filmmaking or video-making to be broken? To free the imagination from the confines of straightforward narratives , the ‘pre-determined’ logic of editing and camera movements, and the economics of the box office? 

Open theme, open-genre, cross-media. Explore “unseen”, overlooked, or neglected subject matters. Just push the envelope. Or at least your own envelope. 

{kaleidoscopic}

The first bit of the video (the abrupt cuts between each visual and all that) kinda reminds me of the thaumatrope project we did in Term 1! The repetitive and jerky cuts make the different footages seem like they’re actually one visual on its own - like they’re coexistent? So perhaps I could explore that as well, together with an idea related to a kaleidoscope or something (just because I like kaleidoscopes, hehe).

Hm kaleidoscopes really intrigue me! I would say it’s science and art at the same time, and that alone is pretty cool :p That aside, I think this video could be what I think is “beyond spectatorship” - mentally straining but very compelling at the same time, to me at least. 

I remember this! 

Sound isn’t really prominent at the start of the video, but I think it slowly gets more and more involved with the visual towards the middle and end of the video. Like how it goes with the movement of the hair, and how both the sound and movement are kind of stagnant. 

Might decide to play around with speed! Slow-motion, fast-motion, whether the speed of something affects rate of the viewers’ thoughts, or could something be so fast that the viewers are barely able to catch up with their own thoughts? (did all of that even make sense? … didn’t think so, hahaha.)