ALEXANDER HAHN

electronic media artist

 

ON THE RATIONALIZATION OF SIGHT

(2017, 5 gif animations, infinite loops for large 4K flatscreen monitors or 4K projectors, dimensions and aspect ratio variable, stereo)

 

On the Rationalization of Sight - the title referring to the homonymous book by William M. Ivins, Jr. (1938). Speaking of three Renaissance texts, Alberti "Della pittura libri tre" (1435-36), Viator "De artificiali perspectiva" (1505), and Dürer "Unterweysung der Messung" (1525), the author proposes: "The most important thing that happened during the Renaissance was the emergence of the idea that led to the rationalization of sight.” This rationalization, the symbolic representation of sight evolved from static picture to motion picture, the 19th century phenakistiscope of Joseph Plateau one of the first animation devices. However, my main motivation wasn't a re-visit of this venerable technology: Endless Holidays (shown here), Star Magic, The Acrobat, Finding Debbie v.d.P. and The Contortionist are about portraiture. A temporal sequence of frames, when arranged along a spiral path and rotated as a continuously looping gif animation, re-creates, ad infinitum, the before and the after leading to the fuzzy instant of a perfect likeness - in this case the portraits of five juvenile Delhiite beggars.