Experiments in Perceptions of Scale

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Experiments in 3D live video.  Produced at Hellerau / Dresden as part of the Springhouse residency, 2017.

Distance between the cameras changes the perception of distance between the eyes, causing the viewer’s perception to grow or shrink. 

These are the first experiments that have evolved into a new work at Nocturne in Halifax, NS, October 2017.


Some brief thoughts on the idea of scale.

While flying, I often look down at the earth and find myself impressed by the immense (albeit relatively small) power of gravity, pulling the earth into a sphere smoother than a billiard ball.  From this height I get a sense of humanity’s insignificance, similar to the feeling one gets when looking at neighbouring planets and galaxies through a telescope.  The folly of short lived political and social movements fighting over invisible borders and imaginary friends seems equal to whatever battles might be raging among microbes on the surface of an apple, before I unthinkingly bring their world to an abrupt end.

By contrast, back on the ground, the immensity of humanity’s achievements and potential is eye-opening. Think of our explorations, ranging from the subatomic level to the the depths of the cosmos; from engineering the genetic code to engineering devices that allow us to communicate effortlessly over vast distances, to engineering space flight.  We have managed to understand and manipulate the living stuff we are made of well enough to more than double our lives.  That these remarkable accomplishments seem normal to us gives us some indication of how skewed our definition of normal is.  That creatures as small as us should understand as much as we have reveals our importance. My changing perception of the significance of humanity all seems to come down to a question of scale.