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Igniting imagination through darkness: discovering fear and fantasy through shadows, silence and the invisible.Darkness invites imagination. On the one hand, it creates intimacy. It has been observed by many artforms that we feel the need to close off our vision during intense emotional experiences, during dreaming, listening to music, or caressing our loved ones. Shadows can be seen to do this for us, as they dim vision and entice unconscious peripheral vision and tactile fantasy. On the other hand, darkness entices fear. A person, who is afraid of the dark, writes Finnish architect Palasmaa, has no factual reason to fear darkness as such; he is afraid of his own imagination. Darkness, or the lack of light, is also often accompanied by silence and has the ominous ability to render the visible invisible. To probe the experience of darkness, this paper will refer to the philosophical position of phenomenology. In this regard, darkness is seen as a phenomenon that is experienced through our bodily senses. The phenomenology of darkness will be investigated be making reference to the way we project ourselves onto architectural spaces, also known as ‘mimesis of the body’. Furthermore, it will be investigated how our perceptions, memories and imaginings of past experiences influence such projections. This paper hopes to show how the relation between imagination, our mental faculty that forms images of external concepts not present to the senses, and darkness, can be understood by interpreting spatial narratives of architectural interiors. A selection of evocative interiors will be interpreted in terms of three factors that contribute to the phenomenology of darkness: shadows, silence, and the invisible. By doing so, this paper hopes to indicate how darkness has strong existential expressions that can be incorporated into spatial narratives in architectural interiors.
Seeing in: Two-fold, three-fold?Taking Richard Wollheim’s theory that seeing pictures is a two-fold experience of perception, (between the marked surface of the physical object and something depicted in its surface), this paper analyses my recent practice of creating artworks that place painted marks directly onto photographic prints of paint marks as a means of challenging the viewer as to what exactly is being seen in the picture. This conjoined photographic / painting practice also builds on Regina-Nino Kurg’s assertion that there is, in fact, a three-fold perceptual experience in seeing pictures. That is, seeing the physical object that is the picture - its configuration, whilst simultaneously seeing the object depicted in the picture - its representation, and the subject of the picture - its figuration. The research opens debates around the perceptual differences of seeing in the photographic image, which contains both representation and figuration; seeing in the painted image, which can contain either representation or representation and figuration; and seeing in the picture comprising of both the photographic and the painted. It is at the point of physical conjunction between photograph and paint that the question of multiple-‘foldness’ becomes particularly complex, and which this paper will begin to explicate. This particular research-based practice aims to illuminate an aspect of my overarching PhD research question, ‘To what degree can an art practice of painting onto digital photographic prints illuminate the ontological relationship between representational painting and photography in the digital age’?