The science and art of trompe-l'oeil, optical illusions, and visual thinking as analogs.
Visualizing the unseen and less-than-obvious
trompe l'oeil, literally, in French: To fool the eye
Rene Descartes, 1644.
"Descartes was aware that demonstration by mechanical analogy could be taken too literally–that the contrivance itself could all too easily be seen as constituting proof of what is actually happening. This was a trap into which many predecessors and contemporaries had fallen.Even for a philosopher who thought to explain all aspects of the physical world in terms of the action of matter on matter, illustration by mechanical analogy was a limited device. Accordingly he scolded those who viewed his vivid aids to visualization in too obvious a way: 'I did not say that light was extended like a stick, but like the actions or movements transmitted by a stick.'
The blind man probing with sticks simply helps us to understand how vision might work in terms of underlying properties of things in action."
"A number of his visual conceptions, such as his analysis of binocular vision and the inverted image on the retina in terms of a blind man with a pair of sticks, became oft-repeated classics."
Kemp, Visualizations, pp. 38-39.
Illustration: "in a way that words cannot emulate."
trompe-l'oeil, optical illusions, & visual thinking as analogs.
Mirage – a capacity to see something that is actually not present.
"the ability to find meaning in imagery"
Some recognition that the apparatus of the eye performs certain tasks that one could call more than merely perceptual representations and attribute cognitive features to the the eye's capacity to interpret and translate order, size and distance relationships, and shading into meaningful signals that are then transmitted from the optical apparatus to the visual cortex.
Starting from the literal to the metaphorical level and leading to the aesthetic escape level.
"all perceiving is also thinking, all reasoning is also intuition, all observation is also invention" (1974).
Arnheim challenged the accepted wisdom that words, as opposed to images, are the basic aspects of thinking, to the extent that language precedes perception.
He suggested that perception is a form of cognition, that is to say mental action.
Arnheim argued, "the remarkable mechanisms by which the senses understand the environment are all but identical with the operations described by the psychology of thinking" (1969).
Much like rational or scientific discovery, he suggested that, artistic expression "is a form of reasoning, in which perceiving and thinking are indivisibly intertwined. A person who paints, writes, composes, dances, I felt compelled to say, thinks with his senses" (1969).
“Shape perception operates at a high cognitive level of concept formation” (29).
Arnheim took pains to describe the way that images are interpreted only in a context, “Things fit together by assimilation and contrast” (65).
“To lift something out of its context means to neglect an important aspect of its nature” (71).
Arnheim begins this work by placing his ideas within the structure of Western philosophy, that is, the dichotomy between rationalism (Plato) and empiricism (Aristotle). He comes down strongly on the side of the empiricist and writes:
In his essay Film as Art, Rudolf Arnheim sets out to refute the claim that
What are analogs?
ARNHEIM, Rudolph, Film as Art, (1957), p. 8.
ARNHEIM, R. Art and Visual Perception, ( Berkeley: University of California Press, 1954 ).
ARNHEIM, R. Visual Thinking, ( Berkeley: University of California Press, 1969 ). NYPL