Eye in Time Notes on the perception and representation of change over time

Eye in Time

July 19, 2006



Art+Com's Timescope project:

The basic idea of the "timescope" is a virtual journey in time via telescope. The device contains additional controls that enable viewers to view a place in the past or future time through its eyepiece. The "timescope" can be used for a wide range of purposes: it can be set up for use with tourist sites such as the Reichstag, the Brandenburg Gate or the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church for example, giving visitors the chance to get a closer view of how these locations looked in the past. The "timescope" can also be used for large-scale building projects. In such cases it can be used not only to show how a building project has progressed, but also to show how a building will look in the future. Additionally, it can be used at geological interesting sites, enabling viewers to perceive natural history visually.

Posted by Scott Fisher at 5:03 AM | Comments (0)

July 19, 2006

Vertigo Then & Now

vertigo then and now.jpg

Before and After images of various San Francisco locations used in Alfred Hitchcock's 1958 masterpiece, Vertigo.

Posted by Scott Fisher at 4:53 AM | Comments (0)

July 14, 2003

"What goes up, must come down"

"What goes up, must come down" - by Botond Bognar in the Harvard Design Magazine
An excellent article about cultural attitudes toward architectural change in Japan where for example in Tokyo, "they demolish 12,339 square meters (132,644 square feet) of buildings, and newly construct 62,861 square meters (675,755 square feet) daily".

Perhaps due to its ideas about the subtle and not-so-subtle workings of nature, Japanese culture has evolved around the notion of impermanence. Regarding change and renewal, and specifically demolition and rebuilding, one must remember that, according to religious ritual, Shinto shrines were rebuilt at regular intervals; today this unique custom, called shikinen sengu, continues at Ise Jingu, which is torn down and rebuilt every twenty years, most recently in 1993. Also according to ancient beliefs and rituals, upon the enthronement of a new Emperor, the entire capital of the country was dismantled, moved, and rebuilt at a different location (Naniwa, Asuka, Omi, Fujiwara, Kuni, Nagaoka, etc.), before first Nara (710-784) and then Kyoto (794-1868) became permanent capitals. In medieval castle towns, various districts of trade and many temple compounds were routinely relocated by landlords for various reasons, including the defense of the castle compound.(18)
Buddhist teachings ' for instance, that there is "no permanence" and that "all things must pass' have, in equally profound ways, conditioned the Japanese mentality toward the phenomena of change and the transitory nature of existence. Buddhism emphasizes the evanescence and insubstantiality of things. Universal and immutable laws do not appeal to the Japanese.

Posted by Scott Fisher at 8:40 PM | Comments (0)

July 14, 2003

Rephotography: Grand Canyon

Review of a recent rephotographic project:
Robert H. Webb's Grand Canyon, a Century of Change features pairs of matched photos, old and new. The author, a hydrologist involved with Glen Canyon Environmental Studies, spent seven months replicating hundreds of photographic views from the Stanton expedition of 1889-90.
Grand Canyon, a Century of Change: Rephotography of the 1889-1890 Stanton Expedition. University of Arizona Press, 1230 North Park Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85719. 290 pages, 1996. $26.95, paper; $60, cloth.

Posted by Scott Fisher at 6:04 AM | Comments (0)

July 14, 2003

The Eye in Time

"The Eye in Time" is a title I have been using for many years for an ongoing set of works about the relationship between time and space and specifically comparing the concept of "depth" in time and in space. This is covered in depth in an article (in Japanese): Fisher, Scott. "The Eye in Time: Looking Back", in ICC InterCommunication, No. 4, Spring, 1993.

In general, I have been interested in how we perceive the relationship of objects in space and if we can develop an awareness of depth in time as we perceive and understand depth in space. Stereoscopic imagery is one way to represent depth although what it captures is often not really like our everyday experiences of the spaces around us. In the evolution of the human brain and visual system, the development of using two eyes in stereovision was important to separate objects from a background (this was originally important in finding food and identifying enemies - later it had a lot to do with our ability to name and catalog objects around us). I like the idea that the viewer of stereo images has to interact more with the image. Their eyes (and brain) have to work together to explore the space of the images and in effect, interact with the image - more so than in a traditional, flat 2D image. These images are often much 'deeper' and objects appear more 'solid' in these images than they do in 'real life'. I think it has something to do with how often we switch our attention from the world around us to our inner thoughts and activities. Some days we pay more attention to the 'outside' world and see things in greater depth. Some days we are more immersed in our own thoughts. A related issue is the idea of 'solidity' and how things change over time. Most 'objects' have a limited period of solidity before their components become reconfigured.

This image of my installation for an Art show in New York was a comment on seeing in depth. The two images attached to the guy's eyes are the left and right images from a stereo pair taken of a shiny pocket watch hanging over a mirror. If you look at the image in a stereo viewer, the depth of the mirror is very strong and the depth of the reflections in the watch appears to be some kind of an illusion rather than a solid object.


In a sense, the whole image is about this idea of depth in time (and also kind of a self-portrait).

This image of a box of photos is a set of stereo images that I made in and around an abandoned factory building in New York State. One set of images documented mirrors that I installed in various indoor spaces in such a way that they reflected ambiguous spatial relationships or made virtual holes through solid walls. Another set showed similar reflected spaces in an outdoor environment - in some cases the mirrors created deep holes of light in the ground. The third set was taken through the broken windows of the old factory, which appeared like huge frames around open sky or sometimes a single tree. To me these spaces seemed very similar in feeling to the mirror reflections in the other two sets. My main question in making this work was thinking about what happens at the intersection of different kinds of spaces (both virtual and actual) and how to represent this 'interface' of spaces - it was titled 'interface as reflection'.


Posted by Scott Fisher at 4:47 AM | Comments (0)