Becoming the third person perspective.

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It would normally be considered that ‘virtual reality’ is an oxymoron. If however we look at this from a completely different angle, we could consider that they, the virtual and the real, are different aspects of the one thing, that one cannot exist
  1 The Tautology of Virtual Reality - Becoming the third person perspective Myvanwy Gibson. (   ) Department of Visual Arts, Brera Academy of Fine Arts. Via Brera 28 Milan 20121 Italy Abstract It would normally be considered that ‘virtual reality’ is an oxymoron. If however we look at this from a completely different angle, we could consider that they, the virtual and the real, are different aspects of the one thing, that one cannot exist without the other, and that they are complementary, rather than opposing concepts. Therefore ‘virtual reality’ could be described as a tautology, a grammatical figure often used to reinforce the noun described by the adjective - and so it is here  because as completely opposing concepts, they create each other by being. These artworks propose that it is the synthesis of diametrically opposed views that enables an evolutionary  perspective, and paradoxically, that it takes this perspective to synthesize these views. Keywords: virtuality; reality; consciousness; perception; intuition; psychology of art General Introduction Through my practice as an artist I am exploring a universal  principal that explains transformation - the unity of opposites. My foundational practice with the medium of video and  projections created an interest in the phenomenology of light, (particularly the visible spectrum) and in different states of consciousness. My focus is now concentrated on the medium of painting, and it is through this medium that I have been able to explore these areas with a greater level of depth. Via a combination of practical and analytical research into the concepts of dualism and polarity and exploring the  physics of mirroring, I have created the basis of a visual language of which the most fundamental element is the use of a transparent support. This material not only enables me to come closer to materially realizing my sensory perceptions,  but to also visually articulate the thoughts and concepts I have on consciousness and reality.   Art Practice It was via the practical aspect of my work that I was led to discover, what I was later to understand as the concept of the unity of opposites. This concept states that both sides are really different aspects of the one thing, one cannot exist without the other, and so in fact they are complementary rather than opposing forces. It is the ability to understand and utilize both perspectives, the reflection and the reflected, that gives the evolutionary perspective. Conceptual art is generally considered to be art in which the concept or idea involved takes precedence over aesthetic concerns – “the idea becomes a machine that makes the art”.  1  My methodology is the inverse practice of this, using the intuitive rather than the intellectual as the initial driver, so that in the practice the ‘aesthetic’ of the work takes  precedence over ideas. Paradoxically in surrendering to this ‘intuition’, it seems the intellectual mind is permitted to work at a deeper and more authentic level. The intuitive practice leads in the conceptualization of the work, however an analysis of that ‘intuition’ follows - and so on in a circular motion. So, for me ‘the art becomes the machine that makes the idea’. Initially all my experiments were in two-dimensional thinking in the sense that in 2D there is a line of symmetry and in 3D a plane of symmetry, (see examples of experiments in 2 dimensional thinking: Fig. 1, Fig. 2 and Fig. 3 ) until I could ‘see’ that it was simply my use of a transparent support that denotes that there are two sides. The transparency enables the viewer to see the painting as you would in a mirror - a front-back reversal, along the depth axis. (I always  present the work to the viewer on the opposite side to that which I have painted on). It was this realization that made me see that the concept of dualism, the concept that indicates that there are two forces, could be understood as the concept of  polarity, one force with two poles. Two sides of a painting = duality, however, there is only one painting = polarity.   One views the presented side of the work as the ‘right’ side, or the only side, because this how we know how to ‘see’ a painting - it is a conditioned way of ‘seeing’. Interestingly, my choice initially to use a transparent support was, consciously at least, driven only by intuition and aesthetic concerns, and so I too was not conscious of my own conditioning - it took the analysis and synthesis of the  practical exploration to realize the ‘solution’ I was seeking, was in a way, also seeking my self. Artworks Title: The tautology of virtual reality If we know it be true that the ‘real’ world is ‘outside’ of what we see ‘inside’ the mirror (in a sense that one knows that ‘the world’ inside the mirror is not ‘real’), it follows then 1   Sol LeWitt "Paragraphs on Conceptual Art", Artforum, June 1967.    2 that when one paints, we could say one is doing so in the 'real' world. If one then paints on one side of a transparent plane of symmetry, one - anyone, is then able to look at the ‘other’ side of that plane and see the painting back to front. Therefore, in a conceptual sense, is one not inside the mirror when looking at this painting to the contrary of how it was created? The work puts the spectator inside the mirror, a position in which one is able to consider that there is a world 'unreal', or at least to consider that there are two sides of the world one considers to be ‘real’. Of course, the spectator will only be able to perceive the work as they now how, however, it is the transparency ‘between’ the two sides that permits the opening to the possibility that the side one considers to be ‘real’, is not necessarily so. Each ‘position’ has its ‘mirror’, and it is the ability to understand and utilize both  perspectives, the reflection and the reflected, that one can attain an evolutionary perspective. (Fig. 4)   Title: Becoming The Third Person Perspective The ‘higher’ perspective enabled by the synthesis of opposites I refer to as the ‘the third person perspective’. This work - ‘Becoming the third person perspective’ is a visual articulation of this ‘viewpoint’, and it was the becoming (or coming to) this perspective via the practice, that resulted in the work itself. The process of creation enabled the final result, which seems obvious when one is referring to the object, however maybe less so when one is referring to the artist that created it. It was the process that enabled not only the understanding of the concept, but also the access to the different perspective.   In grammatical terms, the first person and third person refer to different perspectives or ‘points of view’ of the subject. The subject is always, independent of which language is being spoken, the person, place, thing, or idea that is doing or being something. The subject performs the verb, whereas the object is defined as the entity that is acted upon by the subject, or indirectly affected by the action of the subject. Of course an object can and does have different  perspectives too, but by having this perspective it is being, so it then of course is not the object anymore, but the subject. The first person perspective refers to the self - ‘I am’. It is the perspective of the person, place, thing, or idea being or doing something. There is also of course the case of reflexivity in the grammatical sense, where one is the subject and the object, for example “I see myself” (“I” and “myself” denoting the same person). The third person perspective however refers to what is other than the self - ‘he/ she/ it is’. It is the perspective of the  person, place, thing or idea outside of, and ‘therefore’ not applicable to the self. As one can see, the subject always has the first person  perspective, even in reflexivity. ‘I am’ myself. The self is only ever able to be self referential or self reflexive in the first person. The self being reflexive in the first person, is still subjective. The self acting on the self with an objective or higher perspective is a different matter – and to arrive here one must find the self as the subject, but in the third person. This perspective is one that interestingly does not have a grammatically correct counterpart, but it is I believe an ability the self can develop, the ability to take the third  person perspective - the ‘I is’. The final visual articulation of this work presented itself when the three pieces it is made of came together, creating one integrated piece. It is via the support being transparent that the integration happens and the work ‘merges’ into one  piece. I could then ‘see’ the trinitarian aspect of consciousness, creating, but also coming from, a completely different perspective. This visual articulation then ‘shows’ the synthesis of opposing states enabling a higher or evolutionary perspective, and paradoxically, that it takes this higher perspective to synthesize these seemingly opposing view. The key, or ‘way in’ to this higher perspective was also ‘shown’. The three planes of symmetry integrated so that I  perceived the piece as a four-planed grid, with a horizontal and vertical axis, crossing at the central point. For me this sign has always been a visual metaphor of consciousness aligned in the moment - the ‘being axis’ crossing the ‘time axis’ - it is via this precise point of complete awareness that one is able to ‘move up’ and access the third person  perspective - the ‘I is’. (Fig. 5)    3 Figures Figure 1: one from two. Figure 2: two on one. Figure 3: 3D from the two on ones. Figure 4: The tautology of virtual reality, 2013 Figure 5: Becoming the third person perspective, 2013 Plasticizer, pigments on Polymethylmethacrylate Plasticizer, alkyd enamel, pigments on Polymethylmethacrylate 1 panel. 50cmx100cm   3 panels. 100cmx100cm   Acknowledgments Special acknowledgements to my Supervisor and Professor of Psychology of Art, Roberto Galeotti and to my Professor of Painting, Italo Bressan.
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