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Robert Pepperell

Sargy Mann (1937–2015) was a British figurative artist who was fascinated by visual perception and the way visual experience can be depicted. He suffered from poor eyesight throughout his life and lost his sight completely at the age of 68. Despite this, he developed ways of using tactile information and measurement to vividly depict the visual world in paint, and his late work is widely regarded as being among his best. This paper introduces some of Mann’s key ideas on art, visual perception, and his research into the way other artists depicted visual experience.

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Screen Consciousness

Cinema, Mind and World

This collection of essays is driven by the question of how we know what we know, and in particular how we can be certain about something even when we know it is an illusion. The contention of the book is that this age-old question has acquired a new urgency as certain trends in science, technology and ideas have taken the discussion of consciousness out of the philosophy department and deposited it in the world at large. As a consequence, a body of literature from many fields has produced its own sets of concerns and methods under the rubric of Consciousness Studies. Each contribution in this collection deals with issues and questions that lots of people have been thinking about for many years in many different contexts, things such as the nature of film, cinema, world, mind and so on. Those of us fascinated by these diverse yet related issues may have often felt we were working in a disciplinary no-man's-land. Now suddenly, it seems with Consciousness Studies we have a coherent intellectual home - albeit one that is self-consciously eclectic.
The essays included in Screen Consciousness: Cinema, Mind and World are from a range of disciplines — art, philosophy, film theory, anthropology and technology studies — each represented by significant international figures, and each concerned with how their field is being transformed by the new discipline of Consciousness Studies. Together they attempt to reconcile the oncoming rush of new data from science and technology about how we know what we know, with the insights gained from the long view of history, philosophy and art. Each of the contributions seeks to interpose Consciousness Studies between film and mind, where for cultural theorists psychoanalysis had traditionally stood. This is more than simply updating Film Studies or nodding in the direction of cognitive film theory. Film, with all its sentient, sensuous and social qualities, is a common reference point between all these forces, and Consciousness Studies provides the intellectual impetus for this book to revisit familiar problems with fresh insight.
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Robert Pepperell and Anja Ruschkowski

‘Double images’ are a little-noticed feature of human binocular vision caused by non-convergence of the eyes outside of the point of fixation. Double vision, or psychological diplopia, is closely linked to the perception of depth in natural vision as its perceived properties vary depending on proximity of the stimulus to the viewer. Very little attention, however, has been paid to double images in art or in scientific studies of pictorial depth. Double images have rarely been depicted and do not appear among the list of commonly cited monocular depth cues. In this study we discuss some attempts by artists to capture the doubled appearance of objects in pictures, and some of the relevant scientific work on double vision. We then present the results of a study designed to test whether the inclusion of double images in two-dimensional pictures can enhance the illusion of three-dimensional space. Our results suggest that double images can significantly enhance depth perception in pictures when combined with other depth cues such as blur. We conclude that double images could be added to the list of depth cues available to those wanting to create a greater sense of depth in pictures.

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Sargy Mann

There is my developing experience as a painter going blind which is unusual and interesting and as you know I am interested in that. But I am equally interested, possibly more interested in a conception of what figurative art can be as a way of mining new experience and in some sense or other recording it so it’s communicable. Now essentially all my drafts [of this paper] are trying to put those two together and it seems at first like a paradox, but it’s a paradox that I think I can perfectly resolve… and it’s what I want to do… the third element which is very hard to separate from the other two, is the perceptual learning applied to the perceptual systems, made possible through consciousness… That does require an analysis to do with things to do with the anatomy of the eye and the brain, which most people haven’t got a clue about but which is absolutely crucial.

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Baingio Pinna, Jan Koenderink, Robert Pepperell and Johan Wagemans

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Jan Koenderink, Andrea van Doorn, Baingio Pinna and Robert Pepperell

Are pictorial renderings that deviate from linear perspective necessarily ‘wrong’? Are those in perfect linear perspective necessarily ‘right’? Are wrong depictions in some sense ‘impossible’? Linear perspective is the art of the peep show, making sense only from one fixed position, whereas typical art works are constructed and used more like panel presentations, that leave the vantage point free. In the latter case the viewpoint is free; moreover, a change of viewpoint has only a minor effect on pictorial experience. This phenomenologically important difference can be made explicit and formal, by considering the effects of panning eye movements when perusing scenes, and of changes of viewpoint induced by translations with respect to pictorial surfaces. We present examples from formal geometry, photography, and the visual arts.

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Jan Koenderink, Andrea van Doorn, Baingio Pinna and Robert Pepperell

Do generic observers in their free-style viewing of postcard-size pictures have a preference for specific modes of perspective rendering? This most likely depends upon the phrasing of the question. Here we consider the feeling of ‘presence’: does the observer experience a sense of being ‘immersed in the scene’? We had 40 Italian naïve participants and 19 British art students rate three types of rendering of ten ‘typical holiday pictures’. All pictures represented 130° over the width of the picture. They were rendered in linear perspective, Hauck maps, and Postel maps. The results are clearcut. About a quarter of the participants prefer linear perspective, whereas the Hauck map is preferred by more than half of the participants. Naïve observers and art students agree. Architectural scenes are somewhat more likely to be preferred in perspective. Preferences are not randomly distributed, but participants have remarkable idiosyncratic affinities, a small group for perspective projection, a larger group for the Hauck map. Such facts might find application in the viewing of photographs on handheld electronic display devices.

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The main objective of Art & Perception is to provide a high-quality platform to publish new artwork and research in the multi-disciplinary emerging bridge between art and perception. As such it aims to become the top venue to explore the links between the science of perception and the arts, and to bring together artists, researchers, scholars and students in a unified community that can cooperate, discuss and develop new scientific perspectives in this complex and intriguing new field.

The purpose is not to minimize or erase the differences between the arts and sciences, which are grounded in venerable histories that are in many ways necessarily distinct. Rather, the ambition of the journal is to combine the differing methods and insights of artists and scientists in order to expand our knowledge of art and perceptual experience in a way that neither could do alone.

Art & Perception will serve those across several areas of science studying the way works of art and design affect us perceptually, cognitively, or physiologically. The editors are also keen to receive submissions from practicing artists, and those in related fields of history and theory, which offer an artistic perspective on perception.

Online submission: Articles for publication in Art & Perception can be submitted online through Editorial Manager, please click here.

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