Diverging Doubles: Between the Sensing Body and Its Projected Image

George Themistokleous

conference: DARE 2017: aberrant nuptials
date: November 21, 2017
venue: Orpheus Institute, Penthouse
format: in words
practice: image

abstract about the author(s)

abstract

With the proliferation of electronic media, Gilles Deleuze’s conception of time-image is extended to various media platforms that lie outside the cinematic discourse. By moving beyond the cinematic confinements that physically  distance  the  bodily  viewer  from  the image, digital media, including augmented reality technologies, have allowed for changing interactive relations in the perception of the moving-image, thus creating a shift in our thinking of time and space. The creative possibilities of these electronic media, including for example computer simulation and virtual reality, are reflected in an array of diverse practices. While new digital media are rapidly developing, the thinking that they generate is, as is often the case with the emergence of new media, in the process of becoming. Timothy Murray, in his essay “Time[AT]Cinema’s Future: New Media Art and the Thought of Temporality” (2010), will presciently note how the new media community, through art projects, engages with “Deleuze’s charge that it receive and respond to the virtual as an energetic field of what has [yet to be thought] or registered.” In this paper the changing status of the time-image after the advent of the digital will be explored. This line of enquiry will be further developed through the diplorasis, a media installation of my own making that incorporates digital image processing technologies.

The diplorasis is a multi-media installation/device. The viewer who enters the installation space will position his or her head inside the wall cavity, located at the far end of corridor. When looking through the peepholes, the viewer will encounter a stereoscopic projection of him- or herself from previous instances inside the corridor space of the installation. The stereoscopic images will then be replaced with another view of the participant, as the images change they become increasingly misaligned and manipulated. When viewing the projected images, the participant becomes aware that his or her image was captured in previous instances when walking along the corridor—that is, literally the space behind the viewer’s back. The photographic cameras within the device that are attached to sensors have been programmed to capture different views of  the moving participant, and then to digitally split (and in some cases manipulate) the images before sending them to the LCD screens that project the image back to the participant. The installation uses various software and hardware processes (digital cameras, controlled motors, LCD screens, Arduino and Raspberry Pi computer chips, motion sensors) in relation to the Wheatstone stereoscopic framework. The device deviates from the Wheatstone stereoscope because it attempts to incorporate live feed of the viewer’s own body from previous instances in the installation space. The uncanny closeness of a neutral image “out there” evoked by the original stereoscopes is now subverted as the digitalisation allows for the unexpected self-projection; the device becomes an auto-scopic machine.

The reduplicated and projected self in the diplorasis, three-dimensionally simulated, begins to trigger the questioning of the understanding of the self within visual media. Throughout the duration of the visual experience, one has a solipsistic perception of oneself. The participant views  him-  or  herself  from  without  while  becoming  aware  of the stereoscopic operation. Thus, the out-of-body experience of  observing  oneself from multiple points of view of another (the way you would always see someone else, but not oneself) is somehow paradoxically induced via the very embodied operation       of the binocular eyes. Within the diplorasis it becomes possible to juxtapose particular conceptual and practical understandings of the cinematic with digital media. The diplorasis tries to critically explore a paradoxical split relationship between a cognitive self and self as image.

In the Deleuzian articulation of  the cinema, the time-image is essentially a becoming   of a non-image, or it is an image in thought that nonetheless can only be conceived, retrospectively, through the image. What the time-image makes possible is a conception of what lies beyond thought, the unthought that potentially becomes actualised as thought. If the time-image is a necessary prompt that cinematic media made possible  for the uncovering of an image of time in thought, then what happens when the bodily schema attempts to more actively incorporate this image of time? Here the meta- cinematic perception of the world allows us to integrate the understanding of time that was achieved through Deleuze’s concept of the cinema, and was made possible by its distance from bodily perception, to return to the body.

This paper explores how Deleuzian cinema might be appropriated by other media forms (something that Deleuze already hinted at with his reference to a meta-cinema) through the making and thinking of a new assemblage of images in the electronic age. The relation between heterogeneous images from cinema and digital processes reproduces a dissonance between the divided experiences of these diverging media. The irrational rupture between the feeling of one’s bodily perception and the impossibility of controlling its projected image becomes the locus of exploration within the diplorasis.

Diplorasis becomes a site where the diverging embodied and informational zones interact in a non-deterministic way. The artistic research here incorporates diverging machinic and bodily visions. Through the praxis of the installation, a paradoxical image is induced, one that can only be articulated retrospectively after the event. The heterogeneous systems of embodiment and information re-produce “zones of indeterminacy.”

about the author(s)

George Themistokleous

George is an architect and a Lecturer in architectural design and history and theory at the Leeds School of Architecture, he has studied architecture and art history (University of Toronto, University of Brighton). His doctoral research considers the limitations of current architectural representational methods in relation to a rethinking of bodily and machinic vision, through custom made optical devices and multimedia installations. He is co-editor (with Teresa Stoppani and Giorgio Ponzo) of the book This Thing Called Theory (Routledge).

info & contact

affiliation

Leeds School of Architecture, UK

email

george-them [AT] hotmail.com