Optical Unconscious

Optical Unconscious is an exploration of philosopher Walter Benjamin's term, optical unconscious. Benjamin was highly influenced by psychoanalysis and surrealism, both of which found their way into his work. Ideas of fluid imagery, the unthought known, and the divide between the virtual and reality were all present in his writings. Optical Unconscious plays with each of these concepts and attempts to address the way in which we produce and consume images, and our unconscious lack of awareness to the digestion of unexamined images.


Plate 1

Involuntary memory, how quickly time recedes beneath the hand of these common priming sources. A scent carried on a breeze or the taste of key lime pie realized in the cult images of a memory. They are filed away in dark veiled caverns, awaiting random reproduction. When made manifest, they seem to be constructed out of nothing, but in a photograph of a sunrise at dawn, space is deconstructed in slow motion. Microstructures dwell in the intervals. In the fluid imagery of light shifting across the landscape, memory is compounded into every sunrise you have and ever will see. The photograph takes it, encapsulates it, attributes time and location. It solidifies the image into its own little lie, cutting a frame out of the sky, seeing what might otherwise not be seen.

Plate 2

Against a starlit backdrop, the light extends in tiny droplets alleviating the prognostic value of stress and all things anticipated. These images are artifacts solidified, man-made with apprehension toward remembering the past at some unknown point of time in the future. The standard altogether warped, devoid of chemical analysis. The digital replication transformed… bit, by bit, by bit. This change in the condition of production has infiltrated more than just the image. It is realized in day-to-day interaction, in the way we supplement avoidance in place of communication. An invention that frees the mind and prompts the hand to action that eviscerates the emotion concerned with love and empathetic resonance. Disembodied, the image tells the tale of a fleeting moment not meant for keeps, but for display and congregation and for wrinkled warnings of relief.

Plate 3

Apart from subtle bleeding streaks, the only temporal behavior of an image on a screen is in flux and constantly moving. It is calling out for attention. A peculiar feature that baffles and then passes, there is something laden in the individual response to the recorded image that illuminates the mystery of various measurement errors… appearances which arrive and depart too quickly to be swallowed with care. Both wound and fruit on the edge of a precarious void in a state of delirium. There will always be an intrinsic layer of subjective distortion as components of reality are captured and conveyed. The personality of place is apt to overcome the things that come to mind in an instant observation. Time shows information when we reset focus on the direct hope that one-day an idea will transform from this material.

Plate 4

"The image is no substitute.
The image is an anecdote in the mouth of a stillborn."

- Ben Lerner

The reproducibility of a subtle moment and its passing degradation, like an appeal to indirect thought, will kill all command of intricacy and make interpretation problematic. Inadequate cogitation, no reservations to move along, equally bent overboard with rapid, fatal keystrokes. No doubt, no difficulty, more hands upon the metal plastique trigger. To believe in the image as if it is everything we could ever imagine. The verbal replaced by a visual stimulus and our eagerness to enter into the sentiment of one passing second. It’s in the detail of provoking smiles, completely top to bottom. Geometric construction of a frame around the edge, to isolate the picture from the surrounding environment, and to share the knowledge captured through a focal point. The recovery period shortened and the lifespan increased, but the time frame of wonder and visibility is affected inversely. Spoon-fed and ready-made, the correlations kept at bay to make way for an edifice of disposability.

Plate 5

The hands that swim through the air are blurred, and the use of interference makes interaction non-significant. Hallucinated content bends the image, a transformation of form and a bizarre personification of unknown elements. Modernism slowly suppressing altered-states of experience carrying us down into the depths of depersonalization and branding. Clouded by the expectation of proper response, the boredom of responsibility fashions a convoluted weight to the attraction of technique and life as art. Mistaken qualifications by the untrained eye spirals down into a chasm of collective forgetfulness. Indifferent to the archetypes splayed across film, an approach to intervene between viewer and the object of desire with the presentation, like a spotlight, on an unseen reality. The ruthless prestige of plot priding itself on a good, clean look. It cultivates a somber spirit of cultural duty and aesthetic approval, the delight in looking and knowing it is not looking back at you.

Plate 6

Within the realm of the unseen, a projection emerges, envisioned against the clear, cold plated tabletop. It’s in the imagination of each individual that the image manifests. Following the line of connection, the life we breathe into an angle, the possibilities and limitations of opening up the room to dialogue. The complexity of needing an observer to be present because without the mind’s eye the cycle spins continuously, unrepresented. It is the faculty for recognizing beauty, for finding light in murky dissonance, which unravels the string from the external object of affection and illuminates creativity’s resourcefulness. The wonderful quality of peeling back the eyelids to a world not present to the senses. There are hidden things that stir among us. Existence beats gracefully beneath the fold. Ideas and sensations wait patiently for a stimulus to bridge the gap between corporeal and incorporeal form. The proliferation of drive and the impulsive notion of control drags the figure from the darkness of innumerable invisible particles.

Plate 7

A panoramic sweep exposes the threshold of human intention in a revelation of foresight beyond our conscious comprehension. A spark of innovation, of technological ingenuity, carries the power of unplanned insistency. With focus on an illusion of depth and reconstruction, the tactful use of certain devices can tear a space between the lens and the object evoking a feeling and sensation that is known but not told. In the study of motion, with its knack for arresting the mind, the animation of visionary shapes is brought to life. The image traverses time like a newly sprung artifact. The differences appear to be lost in conflation, a built up transformation resulting in inconspicuous future nests of revelation. Subtle and lithe, a warm phase breathing, a collection of substantial memories and reactions form a model for approach and subjective framing malleable enough to allow the attachment of foreign connections.

Plate 8

Behind the curtain of authentication lies an optical field surging with budding purity. The potential release of a singular tone from a volume of subjective perspectives. Manipulated and accentuated to bring out the most striking elements. The discovery of things hidden in plain sight. The eyes know. Time, memory, and experience all descending at once to carry out a work of art. Despite the hegemony that clouds the clover field, navigated channels dissolve. New patterns are carved out of the mold from the deep pool of symbolism and marks made long before. Developed from the negatives, the cyclical subversion of timeworn techniques finds new life in an air of constantly changing machinery. It slips from the creases of unmentioned decision and fortifies itself as a form reimagined. Restless images periodically emerging in rising bubbles that have coalesced beneath the surface.

Plate 9

Ubiquity is argued, and there is truth in this assertion, but the restraints have been further loosened with the addition of ever-evolving technology. The speed at which new possibilities present themselves casts a downward glance at these troubled, whitewashed creations that attempt and fail at emulation. The man behind the camera deserves more credit than that which has been given. Experimentation is endless. The critical bray of condemnation will never cease. It is against this cacophony of discordant negation that the lens rebounds and unfastens the shield. It pierces through to the verity of an underlying current that evades our disheveled, ground level senses. Each advance finds company as they join together to elevate prospective glimpses of forthcoming images.