Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Hockney's Point of View

In his latest exhibition 'The Bigger Picture' David Hockney further explores the relationship between the observer and the world. In one experiment, he constructed a rig of 9 video cameras arranged in a grid to capture 9 pictures simultaneously. The theory of perspective which has dominated our world view since the Renaissance is based on projecting the real (3D) world onto the (1D) viewpoint of an observer.
Hockney changes this by replacing this single viewpoint with multiple points of view.
Picasso pioneered the representation of multiple points of view in one plane when he invented Cubism. Hockney has taken this a step further in his more scientific approach. Of course, the resulting picture is fragmented into a number of frames depending on the number of cameras used and Hockney clearly enjoys this fragmentation of the picture surface which he also explores in his multiple canvasses. The camera has reinforced our prejudice that a single point of view represents reality.
The seamless projection of the 'real world' onto a plane would require a scanner rather than a camera.
The scanner captures a more accurate reproduction of a flat document than a camera, and scanning is closer to the mechanism by which our eyes and brains construct our internal model of the world.

So Hockney shifts the perspective from the subjective single viewpoint of the observer to an objective view-plane. 

Some observations ...
  • How does this change our understanding of Einstein's 'observer' fundamental to relativity theory?
  • We use the metaphor 'point of view' to represent a personal perspective. Could we usefully expand it to 'plane of view'?
  • The 'plane-of-view' is simply a way to project the 'real' 3D world onto a 2D plane, it is a better approximation than a point-of-view projection but a truer representation would require holographic 3D and the introduction of the time dimension - in other words an exact simulation of 'reality'. 

Friday, 24 February 2012

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Rewards for success. Punishment for failure.

In banking, rewards are awarded for successful risk-taking. The very nature of risk is that the outcome is open to chance. If we reward success, we are rewarding good luck, not good judgement.
Every day, careless drivers avoid accidents by a stroke of luck. Other drivers (perhaps less careless, but unlucky) cause somebody's death and face imprisonment.
Is this fair?

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

What is the universe made of? (Part 2)

Perhaps we should put this question differently:
What are the components of the narrative that we call 'reality'?
1) energy/matter
2) space/time
3) a community of observers
4) language/mathematics

If any of these are missing, it won't work.