To Begin... Quay

I have been thinking for quite some time about starting a blog that works kind of as a blackboard for ideas that are being shuffled in my mind at a given moment, ideas about photography and visual arts, about scientific theories, history of sciences, philosophical matters, music, literature, life... so here I start.

The short films of the Quay brothers are something that I often come back to; I find them mesmerizing in so many ways, touching ideas and visual forms that have been recurrent most my life. One of my favorites, a not-so-typical stop-motion Quay film, is the 1991 educational film "De Artificiali Perspectiva, or Anamorphosis.


Anamorphosis is the mischievous child born from classic theory of perspective brought to shine during the Renaissance. The application of Anamorphosis as an art technique was born from the understanding of Optics during the scientific revolution, after Kepler's undermined "Paralipomena to Witelo and the Optical Part of Astronomy", where he accepted that the image brought to the retina by light-rays reaches it upside down and inverted, the conclusion many previous thinkers (mainly in the Arab world) had reached as well, but considered to be nonsensical, as of course, we humans do see upside up. And after Descartes decided to take on from where Kepler left, and create his theory about how the mind turns the image around, the "soul" would be historically more correct.

Anyways, the formation of our understanding of optics in the Scientific Revolution was a crucial part of "explanation-making" about how people were to understand what are we seeing when we look through a pin hole camera obscura, a telescope, a microscope and through our own eyes. Artists created theories of perspective, The Theories of Perspective, used them and, in a nut shell, gave to the observers art that bewildered them (among other things) with its "natural depiction of space" relative to the subjects. And Anamorphosis rose as a master twist of perspective: a way to hide an image, a subject, instead of making it clear, by means of manipulating the ways we see space and form. An older sister of Natural Perspective, that has given us tools to create spaces and subjects by our own point of view, that set the table for the rules of composition, not from the objects to be depicted, but from the point of view and sight process of the observer.

I felt this week that it was time to watch yet again the Quay Brother's film. A hint of anamorphosis has always called my eye when I look at all that known world of my daily life, and it always feels good to point my eye to it.


That is all for today. Salú!