Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Sagittal Dimension as a Short-Circuit

Geometral views of visual representation typically portray the sagittal dimension (the line connecting the viewer with the viewed) as a "straight line" relating the object as an index, in Peircean terms, of the point of view. The "clipping" of the shadow from the subject, therefore, appears to be an illicit act. Creation of an icon and then a symbol from an original index has the flavor of the uncanny; the shadow "escapes" its master, the fictional character "escapes" the novelist; the defective narrator is enclosed by a larger mystery.

What is behind this account of the sagittal? Is not the automatic attribution of projection overlooking something? Gombrich's famous re-telling of Hans Richter's "experiment," where artist-friends attempted to draw the same scene from the same POV but "failed" because of their inherently subjective perception, reinstalls the Positivist template-plus-subjective-variation rule. Rather, it is the screen that "always-already" is there from the beginning, not added through the subjective presence or mechanical apparatus.

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