VISION MACHINES

Region/Concept: Western Europe, Movement (Vision)
Sub-concepts: Optics, Devices
Description: Swiss artist Alfons Schilling creates machines that dislocate human perception and thereby create unforeseen visions.

Are these strange contraptions put on one’s head someone else’s eyes? One of them, turning the human head into an engine, touches the core of perception’s physiology: “Light-Pump or Phantom Brain”. These vision machines prove one thing: that human eyes, the organs of perception, are not competent enough. We never fully trust them even though they are the primary tools of so-called objectivity. The machine-maker builds his devices clunky and awkward on purpose. They are not just extensions, they are burdens, proper crutches of the eye (sometimes on wheels). They do not “enhance” the performance of sight; on the contrary, they “refute” it. And after refutation, a dreamlike state comes into view, unpredictably. The world as we once saw it changes. Is there a more significant revolution? “What is left is right, what is behind is brought forward, what is in the vicinity recedes into distance; the drops of water fall upward, the pit becomes a hill, the blades of grass grow downward, the birds dive into the grass…” All in order to transform reality, to make the delusion apparent, and to create another one. Out of failure, a revelation. Only then come veritable visions: appearances not seen by the naked eye.

http://www.alfonsschilling.net/werke/sehmaschinen/

Dejan Lukic